Image via Wikipedia
After the 2008 season ended, the Mets went looking for pitching. More specifically, they were looking for bullpen help coming off 29 blown saves. Mets GM Omar Minaya made no secret about the fact that he was looking at pitching, pitching, and more pitching. He came away with a solidly revamped bullpen led by Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, and Sean Green.
Unfortunately, we ended up with Daniel Murphy manning left field and no depth among the position players. Minaya let the rest of the team go for the sake of solidifying the bullpen and re-signing Oliver Perez. It showed when the Mets suffered an abnormally long injury list and there were no replacements waiting in the wings, minor leagues or otherwise.
Although there are some serious question marks on the pitching staff, this offseason needs to be all about generating some offense. The 2009 Mets finished 25th in the majors with 671 runs. Teams like Kansas City and Washington scored more runs than the Mets. They were dead last in the big’s with only 95 team home runs. Sure, the new stadium played a part in that. But there’s no excuse for the team with the highest payroll in the National League to finish in dead last in all of MLB.
Since Minaya was so focused last offseason, he better show it even more diligently this year. His job is on the line and so is Jerry Manuel’s. Every free agent he signs this offseason needs to be someone that he would stake his career on because he probably is. There’s no more wiggle room and no more second chances. This is it.
Don’t get sucked into dealing with John Lackey, Randy Wolf, or anyone else. There are gaping holes in the lineup in left field, first base, and the catching is weak. The Mets may even be able to move Luis Castillo in a trade. Coming off a good season and with only two years left on his contract, Castillo may be able to be traded if the Mets can pick up some of his salary over the next two seasons.
Minaya needs to have blinders on for Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Russell Branyan and the like. There’s no need to drop most of the available resources for this season on pitching. The Mets need bats in the worst way right now. If the payroll remains the same at about $140 million, there should be around $35-$40 million for free agents. There’s no question that the Mets can do a contract in the $15-$20 million/year range for either Holliday or Bay.
Minaya just needs to make it happen. To do that, he can’t get wrapped up in dealing with Lackey or Roy Halladay until the position players are settled.