Nov 08

On the Table: Room for just one more.

I was thinking about this at breakfast: If the Mets were to sign just one free agent, who would it be? Immediately, I discarded CC Sabathia, K-Rod and Manny Ramirez, because I don’t see them paying that much.

They need bullpen help, and you could look at it a couple of ways. One, is to get reliable starters to shave the BP innings, and if Maine comes back healthy, they’ll have three. Should they sign Lowe, theoretically that’s four reliable starters, which cuts the BP innings, but still leaves you vulnerable on a fifth day and in the ninth inning throughout.

So, if I’m forced to pick one, I’m going with the closer. I know it’s tempting to think K-Rod, but my confidence level in him is he’ll break down. The next best closer on the market is Brian Fuentes. No Mariano Rivera, but who is?

My choice, if to sign just one free agent, is to go with Fuentes to plug the leak in the ninth inning. Seven games got away. If all else remains equal and Fuentes cuts that in half, that should put them ahead of the Phillies.

Remember, this exercise is about adding just one player. If you have somebody different, let’s hear it.

Nov 07

On The Table: Ollie vs. Fuentes?

Let’s just say for the sake of the argument the Mets sign Derek Lowe. We know they aren’t going to break the bank in Yankee proportions, and it comes down to bringing back Oliver Perez at the reported number of $75 million or Brian Fuentes at $44 million and a handful of relievers.

What’s your choice?

I would take Fuentes and the relievers because it would solve the team’s greatest problem, and for the final starter I’d give Jon Niese a chance, or at worst, bring back Pedro Martinez as the fifth starter.

You know what you’re going to get from Perez, and the Mets could probably get the same from Niese and Martinez and whatever emergency starter they throw out there. That includes the angst of uncertainty.

Nov 05

Catching up ….

Sorry for the brief hiatus, but when Mother Migraine decides she wants to put you on your butt you have no choice but to go down. Slept most of yesterday and awoke to the news we have a new president and the Mets probably won’t make much of a splash in the FA market.

Been trying to catch up on the Hot Stove News and there’s really not much that’s surprising. We know the Yankees are offering money to just about everybody while the Mets figure not to stray far from their $143 million payroll from last year.

Most of the news seems to substantiate what we’ve been talking about here, that the Mets will go after pitching, pitching and somebody to throw the ball to the catcher. They’d like to keep Oliver Perez and sign Derek Lowe, and they’ve targeted Brian Fuentes as their closer.

Nothing shocking there.

The Mets don’t figure to go after a big bat because they don’t believe that’s why they lost. Their problems hitting with runners in scoring position were brought into greater focus because of the 29 blown saves. Cut that in half, they figure, and the NL East would have been theirs for the taking.

Actually, that was their same philosophy each of the last two winters. After 2006, there was the belief of entitlement, that after coming so close they would naturally take the next step. After 2007, there was a feeling the collapse was an aberration and they were still the team to beat.

Not so then, and maybe not so now.

Oct 30

Welcome to the 2009 Hot Stove season ….

As the Phillies were rolling around on the infield last night much to the dismay of most Mets fans, take solace in that 2008 is officially over. The last out of the World Series officially brings with it the start of the 2009 season, although the Mets have been thinking for the past month about what went wrong and what to do about it.

It’s time to build GM Omar Minaya’s shopping list for the Hot Stove Season.

Here’s my list:

1. Starter #1: Fixing the bullpen begins first with fixing the rotation. They need to add a starter to begin shaving innings from the bullpen total. They will attempt to re-sign Oliver Perez and add a solid, but not spectacular starter such as Derek Lowe.

2. Closer: The Phillies proved a dominant closer is better than a closer-by-committee format. Brian Fuentes appears first on their list. The money is too steep for Francisco Rodriguez.

3. Starter #2: The Mets need fifth starter. They could go in the market, they could gamble with Jon Niese or they could bring back Pedro Martinez.

4. Adding bullpen depth: The Mets’ bullpen blew 29 saves, but Billy Wagner only coughed it up seven times. There were a lot of collapses in the seventh and eighth innings. Help is needed.

5. Bench (right-handed hitting outfielder): Fernando Tatis should be re-signed, I could go with the platoon of he and Daniel Murphy. Adding a proven bat would be beneficial, but not at the expense of adding pitching.

6. Re-signing Carlos Delgado: It’s doubtful Delgado will duplicate last season’s second half, but there shouldn’t be that big a dropoff. I don’t understand the eagerness of some to trade him. Afterall, for a team with holes, trading him adds another. Delgado does have a no-trade clause so it will cost something to get him to waive it.