Coupled with the Madoff-mess, we are now truly seeing the tightening of the grips as the money purse which once funded the Mets has been emptied by the Omar Minaya-era contracts that all but paralyzed the team’s payroll.
Despite the Mets not being able to run away with any big-ticket star, I would not count out the cold but calculated direction Sandy Alderson and Co. are pushing this franchise.
Albert Pujols won’t be trotting out of the dugout next season, nor will Jonathan Papelbon be swinging his fist in orange and blue. But there are a few names out there that the Mets could be targeting, and at the very least will ease the transition into a new age.
One of the top priorities the Mets will have this offseason will be fixing their woeful bullpen. Last year, the Mets ‘pen was one of the most erratic in the majors and no fan wants to recall the trio of Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta and Pedro Beato closing out games.
One intriguing option is Brad Lidge. While the idea of bringing Lidge and his aging shoulder into the Mets bullpen is risky, the Mets may be able to sign him to a short-term contract that does not cripple them down the line.
Lidge finished his season with the Phillies with a 1.40 ERA and had 23 strikeouts over 19 innings pitched. Proving that, at least in the short term, he has returned some of what once made him and All-Star closer. While it is unlikely he would be anointed as a closer, he would be a good fit.
Another option could be former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch. Rauch’s off-season in 2011 might serve the Mets well, as he may be forced to take a cheaper contract to prove he can once again be a dominant force. Rauch has had up and down years throughout his career but he might be worth the gamble for Alderson to make.
Other bullpen options the Mets may look to sign could be along the lines of Pat Neshek, Chad Qualls or possibly someone like Michael Wuertz.
On the other end of the mound the Mets will be searching to upgrade the back end of their rotation now that Chris Capuano has seemingly priced himself out of the Mets’ price range.
One name on the market that stands out is the perpetually-rumored-to-be-a-Met Jason Marquis. Marquis spent time on the Nationals and Diamondbacks last season, and had an 8-6 record with a 4.43 ERA before having his season cut short by Mets hitter Angel Pagan on Aug 14.
Again, the Mets would be taking a gamble, but Marquis has always expressed his interest in playing for his hometown team and the Staten Island native is coming off an injury shortened season—which could mean a discounted price for the Mets to capitalize on.
As for other needs, there are plenty. If Reyes decides to hang with Hanley down in Miami (and wear those God awful new uniforms) the Mets may need to look into a new infielder. Other needs will include another outfielder, a backup catcher and depth at the AAA level.