December has arrived, and you know what that means. Bring on the Winter Meetings! With the New York Mets front office and managerial position filled, we finally get to discuss how to transform this subpar group of individuals into a playoff caliber team. This year, the Baseball Winter Meetings will take place in Disney World from December 6-9, where we can expect a lot of major trade talks to develop. What tricks might new GM Sandy Alderson have up his sleeve in the coming weeks?
As the non-tender deadline approaches tonight, it is looking more and more likely that the Mets will lose some more players from last season’s roster. Eligible players include Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, John Maine, Angel Pagan, and Sean Green.
I believe all except Maine and Green will be tendered. Given that expectation, the Mets are on target to lose Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Feliciano, and Sean Green in free-agency. I’m not too concerned with the possibility of losing John Maine, since he has not proved himself for a number of years now.
With the number of empty slots in the Mets starting rotation and bullpen, there is no doubt Alderson will try to fill these vacancies. With the injury to Johan Santana, the most logical Mets rotation looks something like Pelfrey, Dickey, and Niese (completely neglecting Oliver Perez). That being said, there are two holes after the three hurlers, as well as room for a complete bullpen makeover. What are their options?
Given that the New York Mets front office has a very limited offseason budget (roughly $5 million, I believe), they are more likely to acquire pitching through either a trade or a low-risk, incentive-laden deal on the free-agent market. Some pitchers available in free agency (within financial reason) are starters Chris Young, Brian Bannister, and Brad Penny and relievers Tyler Walker, Hideki Okajima, and Will Ohman to name a few.
In terms of the Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson has expressed that any player is available in a trade, as long as it makes sense. Acknowledging that the Mets have a lot of depth in position players, a trade involving one of the core players is a very possible scenario.
I believe that Alderson would prefer to trade either Carlos Beltran or Jason Bay, if he felt the return would overall help the structure of the team. There are many young (some say, major league ready) outfield prospects within the organization that could fill a void. I also feel that many teams are interested in Jose Reyes, given the high demand for shortstops across the league. The Mets front office will heavily base their decisions using sabermetrics, and might decide to build their offense around the shortstop position.
To conclude, my main points are as follows:
- The major voids to fill are the starting rotation and bullpen.
- No player, according to Alderson, is untouchable.
- Don’t expect any major free-agent signings.
- One of the core players (Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay) is likely to be traded before the season starts.
- Enjoy the next few weeks because things should get interesting!
Do you think Sandy Alderson is looking to shake up the core? Who would you deal in the right package?