Last night, the Mets tendered contracts to RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Manny Acosta, RHP Ramon Ramirez and OF Andres Torres. The latter two players were acquired from the Giants for Angel Pagan last week. The Mets did not tender contracts to C Ronny Paulino and OF Mike Baxter. This cuts the team's roster from 40 down to 38. The two open spots will go to free-agent pitchers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, whose signings have not yet been made official.The CutsThe loss of Paulino leaves a big gap in the "right-handed backup catcher" role, and puts pressure on Josh Thole to be the man in 2012. This will be his year to show the team if he can be a starting catcher in the big leagues. As of now, defensive whiz Mike Nickeas is the backup catcher, but the Mets may still look outside the organization for a veteran right-handed bat to back up Thole.Paulino hit fairly well against LHP (.289/.363/.389), but as you can see by his slugging percentage, brought little punch to the table. In all, he had only 15 extra base hits in 228 at bats.As for Baxter, he will forever be known (well, maybe "forever" isn't the word) as the kid from Jamaica, Queens, who hit his first big league homer on the last day of the season, helping the Mets to a 3-0 victory.The KeepersKeeping Pelfrey and Acosta were good moves.Even with the acquisition of Ramirez, Rauch, and Francisco, the Mets need bullpen depth, especially if the team is out of contention in July. If that's the case, at least Rauch and Francisco are likely to be dealt to contending teams before the trade deadline. And Acosta has showed some competence out of the bullpen over the last couple of years, and through his career. He has a lifetime 3.41 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Nothing spectacular, but for the most part, he is an average-to-above average player (0.6 WAR in each of the past two years).Pelfrey is infuriating to watch at times, but the Mets can't afford to lose his innings. He will make approximately $6MM in 2012, less than it would cost the Mets to sign a free agent pitcher who can give them 200 innings.Besides, Pelfrey pitches better in even-numbered years (Maybe it doesn't sound scientific, but this is a fundamental principle of Festametrics). In 2008 and 2010, he tossed over 200 innings with sub-3.80 ERAs and sub-1.40 WHIPs. In 2009 and 2011, he threw slightly fewer than 200 innings, with ERAs over 4.70 and WHIPs over 1.40.But of course, the IP statistic is the key. What good are innings if they're bad innings, you ask? Well, isn't that what 2012 is about for the Mets? Just get through innings. Just get through games. Play 162 while getting ready for 2013 and 2014. Get back on your feet financially
and build up your farm system. Advance your A and AA pitching prospects.In the meantime, get through the season, and save your money. Mind you, the players won't go through the motions. The team will play hard, as they did in 2011. Fans will be frustrated with the results, but will ultimately understand that 2012 is about positioning the franchise for the future.