Starting pitcher, catcher among the Mets' needs
Originally Published: November 8, 2007By Bob Klapisch | Special to ESPN.com
The Mets are coming off the worst collapse in regular-season history -- they blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play -- so it's safe to say, there isn't much joy in Flushing this offseason.
GM: Omar Minaya
Manager: Willie Randolph
'07 record: 88-74, 2nd NL East
'07 payroll: $116.1M, 3rd MLB
Runs scored: 804, 4th NL
Runs allowed: 750, 7th NL
OPS: .775, 5th NL
ERA: 4.26, 7th NL
Fielding percentage: .983, 8th NL
Primary needsStarting pitching: Tom Glavine's career with the Mets is almost certainly over, and Pedro Martinez is a year older and still no guarantee to last an entire season. Neither is Orlando Hernandez. Second base: Luis Castillo just had his right knee scoped, which means the Mets will have to wait until he's fully healed before signing him as a free agent. In the meantime, they'll hunt for another second baseman via a possible trade. Catching: Paul Lo Duca is all but gone -- he won't be re-signed -- leaving Ramon Castro as the only in-house option.
Free agentsLHP Tom Glavine, Marlon Anderson, Ramon Castro, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Sele, Shawn Green, Jose Valentin Snaring Alex Rodriguez is a one-in-a-million long shot, but David Wright is on record saying he'd vacate third base if it meant luring A-Rod to Queens. Jorge Posada is on the radar screen, too, provided he'd actually entertain an offer from a crosstown rival. In a perfect world, the Mets would love to have Johan Santana (who wouldn't?) but don't have nearly enough prospects to make such a deal happen.
Trade baitLastings Milledge: He's young (22) and has good overall athleticism, just the kind of player an up-and-coming team could use, especially one seeking to unload a soon-to-be free agent in his walk year. Aaron Heilman: The Mets will never see the right-hander as a starter, but some other team might. Better-than-average fastball and splitter combination could tempt an out-of-town pitching coach.
Farm aidCarlos Gomez: Could end up in right field if Milledge is ever dealt. At the very least could serve as a capable fourth outfielder. Started the '07 season at Class A and ended up playing in 58 games with the Mets.
OutlookThe Mets will aim high (A-Rod, Posada), but will likely do little more than tweak the periphery. The core players -- Carlos Beltran, Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Moises Alou -- aren't going anywhere. But GM Omar Minaya loves to deal: Don't be surprised if he takes a run at the White Sox's Jon Garland or Jose Contreras. Bob Klapisch is a sports columnist for The Record (N.J.) and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
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