Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mets Hot Stove 2009: Many holes to fill

I did a piece for in advance of next week's Winter Meetings on what the Mets need to address during the offseason. You can check out the piece here.

The Mets have two big needs - power-hitting left fielder and no. 2 starter - and many people put those needs in that order. But I rank no. 2 starter first. The Met lineup is in better shape than their starting rotation.

In 2010, the Mets project to have a healthy Jose Reyes, a full season of Carlos Beltran and a full season of Jeff Francoeur. The Mets appear committed to getting more offense from their catchers as well. Even if David Wright does not regain his power stroke, the Mets should have a more productive lineup than in 2009.

That is not to say the Mets should stand pat with their lineup - Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo may well have overachieved in 2009 and Daniel Murphy could continue to underachieve.

If the Mets end up in a position to sign Matt Holliday, that would be great. Especially if they are not in a position to sign John Lackey. Because while they could really use both players, they need Lackey more.

The rotation after Johan Santana last year was a shambles. Mike Pelfrey regressed, John Maine was hurt again and Oliver Perez, well, what can you say. If all three of these hurlers pitch up to their potential next season, the Mets will have a strong rotation. But that is a huge "if." I would be happy if two of them were reliable.

Even if all four did manage to do well, that still leaves the fifth rotation spot and depth for inevitable injuries. So the Mets really need two additional starters.

I suppose a case could be made for signing, say, Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis as opposed to John Lackey, if it comes down to that. But I am leery of the mid-rotation starters who only have value because of position scarcity. Pineiro may well be a creation of Cardinals' pitching coach Dave Duncan. Marquis lost his spot in the Rockies' rotation by the end of the season.

If the Mets end up with any two of Pineiro, Marquis, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Rich Harden and Ben Sheets, odds are that at least one of the signings will not work out. Especially if it is Harden or Sheets. So the Mets could end up spending as much or more than they would spend on Lackey and end up with one lesser pitcher.

But neither Lackey nor Holliday is the sort of can't-miss superstar that is worth landing at any cost. Holliday is no Mark Teixeira, whatever Scott Boras says. So if the Mets end up with neither, it will not necessarily be a bad thing. But it won't be good, either.

Omar Minaya has a lot of work ahead of him. Starting next week, we will get a better idea as to whether he can do more than sign aging backup catchers.

What is the Mets' biggest need this offseason? Tell us what you think.


Jonmouk71 said...

Garland is the best bet - the guy is an innings eater over multi-seasons while Piniero did his 200+ innings only last year.

Rob A from BBD said...

Are you really expecting more out of Murphy or did I read that wrong?

Jonmouk71 said...

The trouble with not re-signing Delgado is that he goes somewhere else, hits .320 with 85-90 RBIs and Murphy bats his usual stats(but with more HRs than Wright). Then the Mets look real bad.

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