Thursday, November 11, 2010

Different Hot Stove for Mets

For most of the past few years, the Mets' offseason has focused on which big-name player they can acquire via free agency or trade. This year, though, is going to be different. The Mets have already made most of their big-name acquisitions - in the front office.

Squawker Lisa compared the front office big three of Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi to the Miami Heat's dream team, lamenting that there was no ESPN special in which they would announce that they were taking their talents to Flushing.

But Alderson did appear on SNY's "Mets Hot Stove Report" tonight, and I liked what I heard, except for the part about him planning to meet with Luis Castillo. It's one thing to talk to Carlos Beltran about waiving his no-trade clause and his willingness to play right field. But what is there to talk to Castillo about, other than telling him goodbye?

All the sabermetrics in the world can't make 23 equal 25. And keeping Castillo and Oliver Perez on the roster means the Mets are playing with a 23-man roster. It makes sense to see if Perez can somehow regain some value, though he's already off to a bad start in Mexico. Perez had great potential at one point and he is still a lefty under 30. If the Mets cut him loose, someone will take a chance on him for the minimum salary. But who's going to pick up Castillo?

But while the Castillo and Perez situations are still unchanged from the last regime, it was refreshing to hear Alderson say that the Mets need to find more starting pitchers for the rotation. The same was true last year, and everyone knew it except for Omar Minaya, who went into the regular season with John Maine and Perez holding down two rotation spots.

I especially liked Alderson saying it was important to have lots of good players in the farm system to create depth for the major-league club. Seems obvious, but not to the previous regime, particularly in 2009 when triple-A Buffalo seemed to consists mostly of retreads in their mid-thirties. Things did improve last year, but there is still a long way to go.

I also like that Alderson is interviewing plenty of candidates to be manager. There doesn't seem to be the same urgency of a few weeks ago to find a big name and/or someone with personality. The Mets already have that in Alderson.

So far, this different sort of offseason is off to a good start.

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