With the season pretty much officially over(just waiting on mathematical elimination from post season play), the Mets have some some very important decisions going into the offseason. These decisions I believe will dictate how this decade will play out for the Mets. On average, the Mets make the playoffs at least once every decade. While this is an encouraging stat, I feel what the Mets do THIS offseason will make the difference on how soon we get there.
While there is no surprise who the fall guy will be(Jerry Manuel), im sure most Met fans would agree the Mets need to dig much deeper. Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen also need to see the door. I have always felt "Hojo" has more than outlived his tenure on the Mets. Some debate over the importance of a hitting coach and unless your a major league player, as a fan you can only guess but as a poster put it on another site...if they have been around this long in major league baseball, they must have some importance. Dan Warthen at times seemed at a loss when it came to the pitching staff. While he credited himself on fixing Oliver Perez a few years ago, he some how forgot how to fix him again. Granted, thanks to his uselessness...we would have never been witnessed to R.A. Dickey. Last but not least, Omar Minaya can no longer remain as the Mets GM. While it is at times difficult to assess his tenure as totally horrible(it was under his watch that we have Ike Davis and Jonathan Niese), there has not been enough positive to outweigh the negative. Not to mention his bottom line that is FACT, the Mets have only one divisional title in the 5 years Omar has been the GM along with the highest payroll in the National league up until last year. Its an extremely hard argument to justify Omar keeping his current position. There are several reports that indicate he most likely will be reassigned...which I guess is the best thing for both sides.
Its funny though...as Omar may be on his way out, the Mets find themselves in pretty much the same position they were in when they signed him. The Mets, like they were ending the 04 season are in a transitional period. The Mets are looking for some revival to the franchise after 4 years of heartbreaking ends to the season and a decrease in attendance despite a brand new stadium. The difference between those two transitional periods boils down to one word...youth. The Mets are finishing 2010 with one of the youngest infield in the game as the oldest players on it are 27 years old(David Wright and Jose Reyes....wow time has flew by). The starting rotation has two young and promising pitchers(even though the have had some inconsistencies) and a third who has all the tools to become a star. This is a youth movement probably not seen since the 80's and theres alot to be excited about.
While there is alot of youth going into next year, that also means alot of inexperience. This is why the offseason is going to be such a transitional period, we cannot afford to mess this up. In my opinion, the NL east will become the toughest overall division in baseball starting as early as maybe next season. To have talent like a Steven Strausberg, Jason Heyward, Hanley Ramirez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson and Brian Mccann all in the same division for the next few years....you can get lost VERY quickly. Thats not to say the Mets dont have talent because they do, its just the gap between all the teams is closing. I will leave the speculation as to who the new GM will be to more knowledgeable people than me(Grave) but whoever the new guy is needs to understand that this team has an very slim opportunity to hang tight with all the other teams in the league. The new GM needs to bring in the RIGHT people for the job, not the most popular. I cannot stress enough that the Mets CANNOT afford to mess up this offseason. Along with the right management, they need to bring in much better supporting players. The likes of Gary Matthews Jr and Frank Cat will not get the job done. One of the biggest strengths of the 06 season was great role players like Jose Valentin. Im not going to say its easy to find but the Mets need to make more logical roll of the dices.
As a surprise to no one...the Mets need to cut some dead weight. There is no defensible reason to have a pitcher that is occupying 12 million dollars of your payroll NOT pitch for almost a full month. Yes, he may be terrible but in a lost season, I believe there is no reason to not pitch him. Granted, Oliver Perez cannot put himself out there to pitch but at the same time, he did not help himself by declining opportunity after opportunity to put himself in a position where he can take his time and work on whatever he needs to. Whether Oliver Perez gets cut or traded, the Mets cannot afford to have him as even an option for next years rotation. Another guy, Luis Castillo cannot be here next year. Luis believes he is a starter and ill let others debate that but his constant sulking about playing time is a distraction the new manager just doesnt need. The same situation applies to Castillo, traded or cut he cannot be an option for the roster next year. If the Mets finances are as bad as some have reported, perhaps the last domino to fall will be Carlos Beltran. Carlos gets alot of crap from just about all angles but whats undeniable is he is one of the BEST center fielders in Mets history. I know it sure doesnt feel that way sometimes but truly he is one of the best. The Mets will most likely have to eat some of his contract but I believe he can be traded.
Last but definitely not least, the Mets must improve their public relations. As an organization they need to find a way to reconnect with the fan base. Whether that comes via more face time by the Wilpons or winning, they need to find a way to convince Met fans that they do have a plan and are willing to see it out. Ive said this many times before, this organization is NOT embarrassed and this is one of the key issues that needs addressing. Its almost on a yearly basis that there is SOME drama out of the Mets organization...and usually its not the good kind. This cannot continue to go on. They need to get a tighter leash on what goes on day to day and get out of their own way. I feel like its hard sometimes to take this organization seriously and I think that has an impact going forward in alot of areas. Sure the Mets can just keep throwing money as an incentive to play here but they way they go about treating some personnel im sure turns off very helpful players form coming here. The argument im sure against this will be that Omar has always gotten the guy he wanted but at the same token, when was the last time Omar got a guy at real market value or lower? Playing in NY sure its one thing but im sure you would be hard pressed to find someone that thinks the Mets got enough bang for their buck. All im saying is that we need a drama free organization going forward. They need to restore an image for this franchise and im sure it will take some time but in the long run im sure it will be worth the effort.