Nov 17

What’s going to happen with Castillo?

I know you guys don’t want to hear this, but it’s looking more like Luis Castillo will be at second base for the Mets next season.

STOP! Give me a minute to duck while you throw your laptop.

I believe he’ll return for the following reasons: 1) the Mets don’t want to eat his $18 million contract by cutting him, or most of it in a trade; and 2) they believe his value to them is in the hope he’ll bounce back, especially since they don’t think they have a viable second baseman to step in.

Daniel Murphy was a good idea, but for now they like him in left, probably in a platoon with Fernando Tatis, because that answers one question immediately. Or so they hope.

Castillo played well for them in spurts in 2007 and they are banking on him returning to that form.

I’m not saying it’s etched in stone, and I know they’d love to trade him, but the other teams see what’s happened to Castillo, too, and recognize a bad contract when they see one.

Oct 31

Mets bring back Delgado, Tatis; Perez files.

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

Delgado: Mets pick up option; he's not going anywhere. (Photo: Mets)

The Mets picked up the $12 million option on first baseman Carlos Delgado, signed outfielder Fernando Tatis for $1.7 million, and learned Oliver Perez filed for free-agency where he stands to make much more.

By acting quickly, the Mets are addressing their offensive obligations before concentrating on pitching.

Bringing back Delgado should stifle most of the trade rumors and signing Tatis should lessen the need to go after an outfielder this winter (toward that end, Pat Burrell rejected a two-year, $22-million package from the Phillies).

Delgado, who made $16 million last year, turned around his season, and that of the Mets, with a hot second half, and over the final 85 games hit 27 homers with 80 RBI to merit MVP consideration. Tatis, who hit .297 with 11 homers and 47
RBI, is expected to share left field with Daniel Murphy.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the FA filing period, Perez, Damion Easley and reliever Matt Wise all filed.

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.

Oct 18

On the table: What about Peavy?

Peavy: Would cost more than a few legs to get that arm.

Peavy: Would cost more than a few legs to get that arm.

I know, I know. Jake Peavy is available. But, the Padres don’t have to trade him. That means he’ll cost a whole lot more. Daniel Murphy, as much as I like him, would probably be included.

Murphy, F-Mart and Jon Niese, and throw in Aaron Heilman, might get it done. That’s a lot, but I’d have to do that deal.

Oct 14

Commentary: Trading Murphy.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

Murphy: Maybe his greatest value is as trade bait.

There’s a lot to like about Daniel Murphy.

He plays the game hard and smart; he’s the grit the team has been accused of lacking. A third baseman by trade who will not get the opportunity because of David Wright, he was moved to left field, and now in the Arizona Fall League is playing second and first.

Versatile defensively, and patient offensively, Murphy is on the inside track of being a star. All this, and he’s not making any money.

Yes, there’s a lot to like about Murphy, and no doubt, other teams have noticed. He could very well be the Mets most tradeable commodity on the major league level. That’s why the Mets should think about dealing him now when his value is high.

Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t going to deal Wright or Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran’s contract makes him difficult to deal. As far as Carlos Delgado, his age, contract, and the question if his second half was a fluke makes him hard to trade.

Who else on the major league level can be used to acquire the pitching that’s needed. Trust me, I like Murphy. I think he can be a star. But, the Mets’ have pressing needs that maybe he, in the right package, can can solve.

Given that, dealing him might be the way to go.