By all reported accounts, the Mets don’t expect to be big players in the off-season FA market. Read that as follows: No John Lackey, no big name power bat, no dramatic improvement.
The Mets front office will continue to say things like “we’ll look for the best fit,” and “if it makes sense, we’ll do something,” but essentially, not much will change from this year’s team and the one the team will throw out there next year.
So, here’s the strategy the best I can see:
Catcher: A Josh Thole and Omir Santos platoon.
First base: Daniel Murphy with Carlos Delgado not returning.
Second base: Luis Castillo because the team won’t be able to unload his contract.
Shortstop: Hoping for a healthy return by Jose Reyes.
Third base: Hoping for David Wright to rediscover his power stroke.
Left field: Here’s where they might attempt to sign a middle-tier player, but don’t be surprised if Angel Pagan is out there.
Center field: Hoping for a full and healthy season from Carlos Beltran.
Right field: Jeff Francoeur could amount to their biggest signing.
No. 1 starter: The return of a healthy Johan Santana.
No. 2 starter: Hoping Mike Pelfrey rebounds.
No. 3 starter: Hoping for a healthy return of Oliver Perez.
No. 4 starter: Hoping for a healthy return of John Maine.
No. 5 starter: Wide open. Bobby Parnell could get another chance. Don’t be surprised if they go for a middle-of-the-road starter and slot him in at No. 3 and move everybody back.
Set-up reliever: I was probably wrong about Putz. With his option they won’t bite on him. Could go with Parnell if he doesn’t start.
Other relievers: Will bring back Pedro Feliciano. I can see them bringing back Sean Green.
Bench: Should re-sign Alex Cora and will likely bring back Fernando Tatis.
So, essentially, the Mets will take the approach injuries were the primary cause for this season’s blowout and they’ll hope for the best in everybody coming back healthy. Pitching is a concern, so that’s where they’ll spend their attention in the FA market. However, they aren’t likely to splurge.