Jan 26

Jan. 26.10: Sheets seems headed to Oakland; the rest of the market.

Ben Sheets appears to be headed to Oakland, yup, as far away from Citi Field as possible. That’s Oakland, a team, that does things on the cheap.

I can’t say how serious the Mets were, but they couldn’t have been that intent on getting.

Who’s left?

Jon Garland, John Smoltz, Jarrod Washburn and Chien-Ming Wang. Garland and Washburn are starters, and could pass as No. 5s, but didn’t we open the offseason thinking the Mets needed a No. 2?

Wang won’t be available until May and Smoltz would go to the pen.

The Mets are also looking at bringing back Fernando Tatis to platoon with Daniel Murphy at first base.

Jan 13

Jan. 13.10: What’s left isn’t good, but ….

Who’s remaining in the free-agent pitching market isn’t good, and it seems as if the Mets are thinking who they currently have is better.

The Cubs want Ben Sheets and appear willing to spend the $12 million or so it would take to get him. He’s good when he’s healthy, worth the coin, but there’s no guarantees he’ll hold up. Ditto with Mark Mulder, who’s talking with Milwaukee.

The Mets waited for the market to come back to them on Joel Pineiro and the pricing might well have. So has the competition to get him: Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington are linked to him as well as the Mets. Washington also has interest in Doug Davis. Can’t imagine the Nationals getting both, but what if?

That leaves us Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, John Smoltz, Mike Hampton (been there done that), and Chien-Ming Wang.

There are flaws with all of them, just there are flaws with the Mets rotation, which now has four arms, three of them coming off surgery (Santana, Perez, Maine). They’ll liable to get Garland as their No. 5 and call it an offseason.

Dec 21

Dec. 21.09: Playing the waiting game ….

We are in the staring phase of the negotiations with Jason Bay and Bengie Molina. The Mets don’t want to go to five years with Bay or three with Molina; the players believe there aren’t many options other than them.

Who blinks first?

If it doesn’t get done this week, don’t expect anything to happen until after the holidays. The Christmas-New Years weeks is traditionally quiet.

The Mets have proven in the past a willingness to wait it out and it might serve them well this time, also. Maybe so, but things have changed over the past few winters. For one, the Mets can no longer reasonably call themselves contenders after last year’s finish. There’s more a sense of desperation.
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Sep 15

Pitching issues should determine Delgado’s fate with Mets.

Carlos Delgado had arguably of the best offensive seasons in Met history last year, with much of the production coming in the second half. It is tempting to look at the numbers and hope he can do it again.

I wouldn’t underestimate Delgado, and wouldn’t be shocked, but I would have to be conservative on this one. At his age, his injury history, and this year, if pushed I would bet against such a comeback.

The Mets can bring Delgado back at any time because the rosters have expanded, but they haven’t. Not even for a token PH appearance. I don’t see it happening based by the playing time Daniel Murphy is getting.

The Mets are hoping with maturity and increased knowledge of National League pitchers, Murphy will be able to increase his home run and RBI numbers, which would preclude the need for Delgado. Considering Murphy’s improvement after a slow start, it is not an unreasonable assumption.

Clearly, a healthy Delgado would be a better choice for a team with pennant aspirations, but considering their myriad of issues and needs, the Mets have to realistically evaluate whether they can even be a contender next season. And if not, what’s the point of having him around, even for $10 million?

They definitely can’t think of themselves as a contender, even with a healthy Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes with the current state of their pitching. OK, Johan Santana is likely to be fine, maybe so will Oliver Perez. However, Perez, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine are all serious questions. Given that, the Mets need to add two, maybe three quality starters.

Should they even be so bold to go after the Cubs Carlos Zambrano, who reportedly will be shopped this winter, that might not be enough. Zambrano comes with his own baggage, including a $50 million contract and two trips to the disabled list this summer. He’s no given, either.

The best FA pitcher is John Lackey, but he also has an injury history. The rest of the FA list includes Rich Harden, Randy Wolf, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro. You can also add Pedro Martinez, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets.

The Mets had their chances at Harden, Wolf, Marquis and Pineiro, but either weren’t willing to pay enough in talent or dollars. Will they go down that path again?

The passed on re-signing Martinez. Smoltz, Bedard and Sheets have their own injury histories. Penny might be intriguing, but the Mets also passed on him.

And, let’s face it, the Mets don’t have enough resources to trade for Roy Halladay.

When look at those factors, can you really see the Mets dramatically improving over the winter?

Probably not, so why invest in Delgado? Murphy will do for another year until Ike Davis is ready.

It is better to get younger, save a little money, and yes, maybe even improve the clubhouse chemistry.