It’s only been a week since the Mets’ 2012 season ended and Mets’ fans are already thinking of ways to upgrade the team for next season. For a team that stormed out of the gate this season but crashed and burned in the summer yet again, Mets’ fans want to correct a few wrongs and better prepare for next season.
So, as we get set to see other teams participate in the playoffs (sans the Mets for the sixth straight year), let me roll off eight ideas that the Mets should entertain in an effort to be playing at this time next year.
1. Re-sign David Wright
There is a faction of Mets’ fans who want to trade Wright while his value is high so that he can land us a prospect overhaul. While that’s nice in theory, who’s to say that it will ultimately work out.
David Wright is the face of the franchise, probably more so than any other position player in Mets’ history. While he declined in the second half, Wright has value to this team that goes beyond what he does on the diamond. By not resigning him or subsequently trading him, you will divide the fanbase and alienate more ticket buyers.
There is no need to ruffle any more feathers in Queens and if a reasonable deal can be made-and both sides think a deal can get done-you make the deal.
2. Sign R.A. Dickey to a new contract
Don’t worry about his age; Dickey is a knuckleball pitcher who should have a long shelf life in the majors.
While he may not approach the astonishing numbers he had this year-but then again maybe he can because Dickey is not your typical knuckleball pitcher. But even if he doesn’t approach the numbers he had this year, do remember Dickey was no slouch in his first two seasons as a Met, as he has been an above average pitcher in his tenure with the club.
Dickey’s tale is a tremendous story and the next few chapters deserve to be written in Queens.
3. Upgrade at catcher
Somehow, someway the Mets can’t go into the 2013 season with both Josh Thole and Kelly Shoppach as the only two catchers. You can stick with one to be the backup, but it would behoove the Mets to find a competent starter.
4. Get some outfield help
This notion of getting some outfield help has been harped on for years and sooner or later the Mets have to follow through on this premise.
Scott Hairston and Andres Torres are most likely not coming back; Lucas Duda should move to first (if Davis is traded) or he should be traded himself; Jordany Valdespin may be moved to become a utility infielder; Mike Baxter is nothing more than a reserve; Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a lot of room for improvement. And we’ll get to that other certain left fielder in a moment. Plus, the Mets don’t have many other great options in the minors.
So, whether it be bucking the trend and signing a guy like Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino or B.J Upton or trading for B.J’s brother, Justin Upton, something has to go down this winter to get a competent-hitting (preferably one with some power) and slick-fielding outfielder. And only acquiring one won’t do. At this juncture the Mets have to look into reeling in at least two quality starting outfielders.
If this means trading perhaps the likes of Ike Davis and a Jonathon Niese, then so be it. Pitching depth is one of the Mets’ most reliable assets. So, in order to get something you’ll always have to give up something.
5. Cut Jason Bay
As has been mentioned here before, Bay is a sunken cost and it’s only best for both parties to part ways with the Mets finally eating Bay’s contract.
The Mets-while trying to change the culture of losing and the doling out of bloated contracts-can’t keep Bay around any longer, as it would be a detriment to the growth of this team.
Enough is enough. There is no need for Jason Bay to be even on the bench, let alone start.
6. Get a legitimate lead-off hitter
This suggestion goes hand in hand with getting outfield help. Ideally, the Mets could kill two birds with one stone by signing Bourn, but that seems highly unlikely.
So, perhaps the Mets can make a trade to address this need. As good as Ruben Tejada is, he is not a leadoff hitter and no one on the current roster comes close to resembling a quality leadoff hitter.
7. Trade either Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or Daniel Murphy
Simply put: all of the above cannot play together on the same team next year. All three are best suited to play first base. Sure, Murphy is not that bad at second base, but the Mets have to decide who they want at first since shoehorning Duda in right field won’t cut it anymore. If you think you have more trade value with Davis, then trade him for a better package and put Duda at first.
8. Get more bullpen help
In the middle of the season this was assumed to be the most pressing need, but the Mets got solid contributions from the likes of Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch, Robert Carson and Josh Edgin at the end of the season that pushed this need to the backburner.
Still, the Mets need all the help it can get in the bullpen, as this is an erratic group who will likely always struggle with consistency. And Frank Francisco is no sure thing to be closing games next year.
It would be wise if the Mets added more fresh pieces to stir the pot.
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