While the Mets have not named a new general manager yet-and subsequently a manager-but whoever the Wilpon’s decide on, the person tabbed to be GM will have some shrewd decisions to make.

One of the major challenges facing the team is how they should approach free-agency in 2011 and go about readjusting their roster.

How’s this for a suggestion? How about not spending anything, and keeping the roster mostly intact?

Let me clarify. While the Mets will surely not bring everybody back, with some trades and signings likely to happen, they should not invest much money into the 2011 roster.

There are two reasons why I think the Mets should stand pat.

For one, the team will more than likely struggle anyway while trying to keep up with the Phillies and the Braves in the NL East.

For the last couple of years, the Mets have tried throwing money around trying to fix the problem. It hasn’t worked. It’s time to instill a new culture around Flushing, and hope a new coach, maybe a Wally Backman, can make an imprint on the team.

Besides, if all goes right and all players return and stay relatively healthy, this is still a team with some talent. While the Mets have underachieved, they still could put together a solid lineup, and perhaps a new manger can get more out of the team. Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay and Ike Davis is a decent core unit to work with. If all play up to their capability and stay off the DL, this is a team that could surprise some folks.

I would like to see this group get one more chance to prove themselves under a new manager.

Sure, the Mets could upgrade at catcher and second base, but the options on the market are less than tantalizing.

The second reason why the Mets should spend modestly in the off-season is the Mets have too many bad contracts tied to them that are due to come off the books after the 2011 season. There is no reason to overspend this year when the chance to really open up their wallet will be in 2012 when the contracts of Beltran, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez come off the books.

By 2012, the Mets, with a year under a new GM and manager, will get an idea of the direction their franchise is heading. By then the Mets will have a concrete idea of where they should allocate their money.

For now, let’s ignore the idea of adding a guy like Carl Crawford to the mix. And forget about Cliff Lee. Lee has basically gift-wrapped and put himself under the Yankee’s Christmas tree already.

So, the way I see it, the Mets should have their everyday line up set for next year.

SS-Reyes
CF/RF-Pagan
3B-Wright
RF/CF-Beltran
LF-Bay
1B-Davis
C-Josh Thole
2B-Ruben Tejada

The staff could use a tweak or two, but you still have to consider the return of Santana early in the season. It’s almost a given they will re-sign R.A. Dickey, thus giving them four pitchers locks to be in the rotation in Santana, Dickey, Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese.

Maybe you can add another arm, but I would spend frugally. Internally, the Mets have three decent starters to vie for the fifth spot in Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Pat Misch.

The big wildcard, when it comes to off-season spending, is what they should do with Hisanori Takahashi. Takahashi has stated that he wants to start. If he is hellbent on starting, the Mets should probably just let him walk. But if he can come back as a reliever, heck, maybe even return as the closer than I say roll the dice with Takahashi.

The closer position will be a sticky situation for the Mets. Will the Mets ultimately be freed of paying K-Rod’s contract (grievance hearing just got underway)? I really hope K-Rod does not come back. I’d rather take my chances with either Takahashi or giving the role to Bobby Parnell.

The way I see it, the only money the Mets should spend is on the bullpen (where Pedro Feliciano may have to be replaced as well) and depth. Take a few fliers and try to get younger in the process.

Next year should be a season of transition and rebirth; one of trial and error. Let’s see what happens on the field this year and then get ready to open the checkbook in 2012.

22 comments on “Mets would be wise by not spending at all

  • Brian Joura

    Assuming Takahashi does not want to break the bank, would you really prefer Misch as a SP to him?

  • George Fisher

    A fifth starter could come cheap…and let’s not forget the BENCH….how about a ‘LEADER’ type for the bench? A lefty in the bullpen?

    Also, they could probably trade some prospects for a pitcher, too!

  • Uncle Cliff

    with uncertainty on Johan’s season next year, I think an innings-eating starter is kind of a must. I’d love to buy low on Javy Vasquez maybe a 1 year plus option type if we can get him for it…

    otherwise, I’d on board.

    • Chris

      I think that’s a dynamite idea. Vazquez will be dirt cheap, and we already know how successful he can be in the NL East. the profit we could get from him is almost too good to pass up.

  • azulnaranja

    You can’t count on Santana being back at all next season, let alone early.

  • JJtino

    You can’t count on Johan next year or maybe ever. Shoulders are tricky. Look at Brandon Webb in Arizona topping out at 82. There is a chance Johan may be done. I hope it’s not the truth as he’s a competitor and a hard worker so I think he has a better chance than most to recover but definitely not next year. So that being said, we have a legit 3 (maybe 2) in Pelf, a kid who had a solid rookie year with slightly above average stuff in Neise that will project to a 4 at best on a good team and a man I love personally but may have been lightning in a bottle in Dickey. That leaves 2 vacant spots and a big hole at the top. To not consider Cliff Lee would be totally absurd. I pay over$30,000 for season tickets on the second level of CitiFied. To see them not try and get the best when available and at a position where we are glaringly thin would really piss these season ticket holder off. I’m tired of spending a fortune to watch bad baseball.

  • Chris

    I agree 100% with everything you say in this article. but I would do one thing. I would go out and spend on one or two solid bullpen arms. the list of free agent relievers is a mile long this year. I would go out and get Jon Rauch if the years and dollars were right. he’s got successful closing experience, if k-rod isn’t back. or can be the set-up man. then you have Tak (if he’s back) and Parnell for the 7th. that’s pretty solid if you ask me.

    and P.S., don’t forget Murph at 2B over tejada, which makes that lineup even more potent.

  • kris

    Interesting, I’ve been thinking about this too. The funny thing is that for a .500 team, the Mets have few areas in the lineup where an upgrade is even possible (2nd base, C, that’s it). Unless the unload a few contracts, the only major improvement can come through pitching. Strange stuff….

  • LordCharles

    I agree with you that the Mets shouldn’t go on yet another Free Agent shopping spree this off-season.

    But regarding your argument that “if everyone stays healthy, we could surprise people”…This was the exact same line we heard this past off-season.

    I don’t think we will compete in 2011. I’d rather rebuild and try to set us up for the future.

  • thomas

    i see misch as the new lefty specialist when pedro walks cuz he is not gonna get the money he wants.if tak can be talked into being a reliever i would out him as the 8th inning man< parnell should be closer if krod doesnt come back. bench should consist of carter(1b,OF), duda(OF),murphy(2b/1b), evans (OF) and a 1!!! backup catcher n not blanco. rotation without santana and we dont get lee looks like this: pelf, niese, dickey, gee. If ollie is on this team next year he will take up another spot on roster unless he spends the year in florida which is unlikely. i do like the lineup even though we dont have thatmuch pop besides wright bay pagan n a healthy beltran. this team needs to be built around speed and defense. citi is a major advantage for them if they get the correct team to play in it for 81 games.

    • Chris

      Misch has worse career numbers against lefties than he does against righties, so the idea of him taking over as the new lefty specialist if Pedro walks is out the window.

  • Zack Arenstein

    I think 1 place where the Mets will be able to improve is in the rotation. We have no idea whether or not Johan is going to be able to pitch next year, so adding someone in the rotation is very important in my opinion. Look at a guy like Matt Garza of the Rays, who’s going to hit arbitration and the Rays are going to look to deal as they try to significantly reduce their payroll. He could be had, and he’d be a solid addition to the rotation.

  • bob burket

    Couldn’t agree more with the above story. I would however cut Perez and Castillo. No way do you let them take roster space. Either way, you have to pay them.

  • Rich

    One other reason not to spend is because there are too many question marks to know where the money would be most useful.

    Here are the questions in the Mets lineup:
    Bay – will he do anything?
    Beltran – how healthy is he?
    Pagan – Will his numbers slide a bit after a good season, or will he be even better?
    Davis/Thole – How good can they be?

    In the rotation:
    Santana – obvious
    Dickey – one-year wonder or legit middle of the rotation guy?
    Pelffrey – #2 starter or #4 starter?
    Niese – is he as good as he was in June/July or as bad as he was in September?
    Mejia/Gee – are either ready to be in the back of a major league rotation

    There is no real way to know the answers to these questions. They can’t really go out and spend on an outfield bat with Bay/Beltran/Pagan.

    Maybe you can feel comfortable bringing in a starter and a second baseman, but for the most part, the Mets are in a situation where they have to go with mostly the same team next year.
    Maybe they can add one starter, but

  • Don White

    I wouldn’t give Mets ownership any ideas. Citi Field will turn into a ghost town without some injected excitement. Sure, a new manager and GM is obviously in store but is it going to put fannies in the seats? I like Ike as much as the next guy and he’ll come come around soon but first base has to be reserved for a bopper. 5 out of the 7 OPS+ guys in all of baseball were 1st basemen ranging from 152 to 179. Good Ol’ Ike had a respectable 115 but 1st base needs more power! Free agents are out there. I don’t expect to see Pujols but who says we can’t try for Adam Dunn (again). The same thing could go for 2nd base where we obviously have had below average production. We’ll cut Tejada some slack and beat up on Castillo but a guy like Juan Uribe could give us some dependability.

  • Dan Stack

    Whoa, it seems I created quite a stir.
    While I am no shill for the Wilpon’s, I still stand by my post. You guys make good points about adding an arm. With Santana’s shoulder injuries being an issue, I can see trying to add an arm. I just wouldn’t break the bank. I may look into signing a Ted Lilly, if his demands are reasonable.
    Zack brings up a good idea in Garza. That sounds appealing.
    Again I am NOT against spending, I just think this is not the year to do so. Lets see what happens in 2011 with a new manager. Heck, if the Mets are in it by the trade deadline next season, maybe you go for the gusto then.
    For now, at least when it comes to the everyday lineup, leave it alone. Lets roll the dice and see what happens.

    • Dwight

      I agree with you guys for the most part. I think we should bring in Lilly or Vazquez. An innings eating veteran. Also I would have Ruben Tejada play SS in AAA all year. He is our best SS prospect, who knows what will happen to Reyes aand I think with some added muscle he can be a solid mlb hitter. Lets hope Murphy can play an adequate 2nd base. If not let Turner play 2nd for now. Let Duda play in AAA instead of on our bench. The kid can hit. If we trade Beltran he should be the frontrunner for a starting OF spot. Let Luis Hernandez be our utility IF as he can play both 2nd and short.

  • Mike Koehler

    I wouldn’t be so worried about the Braves, or especially the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. mortgaged a lot of his team’s future for the present. Lets hope the Mets FO can figure out how to right their own ship and focus on everything the Mets can do.

    That said, I’ve heard frequently that the Wilpon’s don’t have more money to spend this off-season and there are very few players I’d offer serious money even if the Mets had it. One of the few I’d look at is Carl Crawford. Maybe it’s a video game-only move, but I would seriously investigate Jason Bay to determine if he’s going through a Beltran-first year slump or if he can’t hack it in Queens. If it’s the latter, maybe we can get a fair trade for him and sign Crawford as a replacement.

    Otherwise, I’d worry about making the right, smart moves over making a big splash. A few arms in the bullpen could go a long way.

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  • BaysideBillyD

    Great article…

    I couldn’t agree more on avoiding the “band-aid” approach that the Mets have implemented since… well… forever!
    This year, under a new GM who knows how to build an organization from the ground up, we have a chance to build a long-term winner. The upcoming season is not solely about winning games, or playing “meaningful games in September”… it is about changing the entire philosophy of the organization.
    What we don’t need is a puppet GM. We need a GM that is strong, and we need ownership to trust the vision of the GM.
    I think it’s a given that the team is not going to draw well at the gate next season. This is a sacrifice that ownership is going to have to deal with. The long term rewards of building a consistent winner would greatly outweigh a year or two of rebuilding… LEGITIMATE REBUILDING. Hopefully, the Wilpon’s can grasp this concept quickly. If not, we’re dead in the water.

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