Blueprint For Success

The Mets’ general manager (GM) search is rumored to be finally coming to a close on Friday, when the team is expected to officially announce that Sandy Alderson will be the brains behind the moves and ideas the team makes for 2011 and beyond.

Now that the Mets are on the verge of hiring a new GM, the focus of the offseason should begin to shift to player personnel and potential moves the team should make.

The free agent market does not offer many potential fixes for the Mets, as the market is incredibly top heavy. When the market features the likes of Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth and not much else, it is my belief that the Mets are going to have to make savvy trades to fix this team.

I’m about to put my “Armchair GM” cap on and pretend that I, not Alderson, will be hired on Friday. Here is what I would try to do to fix the Mets.

STEP 1: Hire Chip Hale

I was orginally going to write that the Mets should hire Bobby Valentine, but rumors as of Wednesday night indicate that he may be the next manager of the Brewers soon, so that’s out the window. Next I was going to back Wally Backman, but again rumors are that Alderson doesn’t want to hire him. So, I decided to back current Mets third base coach Hale.  Hale is considered among many baseball officials to be a potential future manager and is noted for his aggressive style of coaching. He would give the Mets a jolt of energy they desperately need, and already has a strong relationship with many players.  Hale is an intriguing choice for manager and could be a great choice.

STEP 2: Rid Ourselves of Castillo and Perez

Ah, the hard part. Castillo, now with only one-year left on his contract, will be much easier to trade than Ollie “I’m Useless” Perez. The only way to unload Castillo will be to swap him for another bloated contract – and I have a few ideas.  Juan Rivera, the Angels’ now displaced outfielder makes $5.25 million,  which is comparable to Castillo’s $6 million dollar contract. Rivera could be an option in the outfield and at the very least could be a solid fourth outfielder who plays regularly.  Another possible swap could be for the Pirates’ catcher Ryan Doumit, who makes $5.6 million or White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink, who makes $5.5 million, both of whom could fill voids the Mets have.

Trading Perez will be difficult. He’s about as close as one could get to baseball-Kryptonite. However, if the Mets are able to package Mr. Useless with someone, they may be able to swing a deal for a player who could bring something to the table.

Another Angels option that could be intriguing is former Mets farmhand, Scott Kazmir, who makes $14.5 million.  Kazmir is currently the no. 4 starter in the Angels’ rotation and has been a disappointment for almost two years now. Maybe a trade back to the team that drafted him could be the answer? Probably not, but he at least  would be better than Ollie.

The Mets should also look into Carlos Silva, Aaron Cook or Gil Meche, all of who have similar contracts to Perez and a change of scenery could be what both parties need.

STEP 3: Trimming The Edges

Whether we like it or not, the core of the team is not going anywhere.  As much as I would like to trade Carlos Beltran (back to the Royals with cash for David DeJesus and others?), the Mets need to change the players that surround the core such as bullpen arms, the back of their rotation and bench players. I would try and sign the likes of Joe Biemel, Jon Rauch and maybe even try to pry Kerry Wood to be the closer next year (after we trade K-Rod of course).  I would inquire on how healthy Brandon Webb is, because if he is able to return to form, we would instantly have the no. 2 starter we desperately need.  I would even consider giving one-year deals to Aaron Harang or Javier Vazquez to fill out the end of our rotation.

STEP 4: Think Outside The Box

Due to the top-heavy free agent market and the Mets’ likely absence from the bidding wars that will ensue with them, they will have to think outside the box to fix their problems. I think that no player should truly be untouchable and the Mets should listen to offers for any player on their current roster. If the Mets are absolutely blown away by an offer for Jose Reyes, they should at the very least listen to what the team is offering. Trading with other clubs will be the best way for the Mets to improve their current team, and Alderson’s creativity should be evident in these trades.  The Mets should target players with character and be able to give off a different vibe. The Mets need to be energized, and trading is the best way to do so.