Sandy Alderson’s first off-season for the Mets was an exercise in stagnation — he did virtually nothing, hamstrung by a bloated payroll with no flexibility. This time is different; with just six players signed for 2012 at less than $70 million, Alderson has plenty of room to make changes, even if the payroll will land somewhere between $100 million and $110 million as expected. Let’s check the Mets off-season to-do list:
The $64,000 question, or more accurately, the $100 million question. The entire off-season hinges on whether Reyes re-signs. If he does, there will be much less money to spend on other areas of need. But resigning Reyes is the primary need — it must be done.
The rotation was awful — four of the five starters had ERAs over 4.00. That is unacceptable. Alderson has strongly hinted that the rotation will look very similar to 2011, that Mike Pelfrey will be tendered and an effort will be made to resign Chris Capuano. Big mistakes. I would cut both of them loose and go out and get a solid number two.
The bullpen was a mess. Alderson has said he will likely go out of the organization to find a closer. That’s probably a good idea considering Parnell has shown he is not ready, and may never be ready, to close. The Mets will not spend the big money on someone like Jonathan Papelbon. Instead, I can see them taking a low-cost flyer on guys like Jonathan Broxton and/or Brad Lidge; players coming off injuries. Lidge is less likely because he proved he is healthy over the second half of the season and would cost more. If Broxton is healthy, he is a lights-out closer. The Mets will also search the bargain bin for middle relievers, which is always a gamble.
Angel Pagan is a non-tender candidate, a move which I have long supported. They could use a significant upgrade in the outfield, either a new center fielder or a new left fielder with Bay sliding to center. It’s a risky move but it could work. Fortunately Lucas Duda played well enough to claim the right field job or the Mets would be looking for two outfielders.
This is the last need. There is not much out there, so the Mets will likely stand pat. But it would be nice to have a solid defensive catcher who can actually throw baserunners out on a regular basis. When was the last time the Mets had one of those?