he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Mets Offseason: Full Of Moves? Part 3h

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mets Offseason: Full Of Moves? Part 3

Yesterday I discussed what I felt Minaya should do with the Mets starting rotation this off-season. Amongst my suggestions was to offer ex-Cy Young winner, Bartolo Colon, an incentive laden deal, in addition to adding Mike Pelfrey to the rotation. On Wednesday I discussed the bullpen, in which I suggested moving Orlando Hernandez to a set-up role. Today it's the lineups turn to be dissected.
The Mets have numerous potential free agents from their 2007 lineup. Paul LoDuca, Moises Alou, Shawn Green, and Luis Castillo all may be playing on different teams next year. First things first, re-sign Moises Alou and Luis Castillo. Although, do not sign them with the intentions of them playing 140 games next year. Alou is incredibly injury prone, and Castillo has poor knees. Tell Ruben Gotay to play winter ball, and focus on his fielding. Gotay is more than capable of playing 40-50 games at second base next year, while doubling as a utility man whenever David Wright or Jose Reyes need a game off.

After I explain to Gotay that if he improves his defense he will have an important role on the team next year, I focus on the outfield. With Shawn Green gone the Mets will need a right-fielder. I am very comfortable with giving Lastings Milledge the starting nod in right field, but I am not comfortable enough with him that I don't look for security. The security for Milledge could also double as Moises Alou's replacement whenever he needs off/gets hurt. I think that Endy Chavez's success the past two years has been a bit overrated (although he has been great, he hasn't been as great as he has been made out to be), so I think his best role is as a backup outfielder, not as a security blanket. Kenny Lofton is a free agent, although with his success in the postseason thus far I can't see him leaving Cleveland again. Assuming Lofton doesn't hit the market, the perfect fit for the Mets is Jacque Jones. According to reports the Cubs do not want to trade Jones this off-season, but if they become involved with one of the big center-field free agents (Torri Hunter/Andruw Jones) things can change.

Jones is a left-handed power bat (Alou and Milledge are both righty). In 455 at bats this year he hit .283 with 33 doubles and 66 rbi. Jones would be the perfect bat for the Mets bench, being the sole left-handed power bat. If Minaya does fail in acquiring Jones or Lofton this off-season, it would not be the worst thing in the world if the fourth outfielder is Endy Chavez (albeit against my wishes).
With the outfield and second base set I look towards catcher. It appears the Mets may re-sign Paul LoDuca, with Pudge Rodriguez staying with the Tigers. However, I urge the Mets to go younger. Ronny Paulino, from the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a terrific young backstop. The 27 year old had better numbers than LoDuca this year, and has hit over .300 in the past. On top of that he is a terrific defender, being rated by "Baseball America" as the Pirates best defensive catcher in the organization in 2005 and 2006. Paulino is a very similar hitter to LoDuca: a contact hitter who works the count. It is also imperative that the Mets re-sign one of the best back-up catchers in baseball, Ramon Castro. Castro should also be insured that if Paulino (or whomever is catching) struggles that he has the potential to earn more playing time.

Should Minaya follow my blueprint next year's lineup should look like this:

1) Jose Reyes SS
2) Luis Castillo 2B/Ruben Gotay
3) David Wright 3B
4) Carlos Beltran CF
5) Moises Alou LF/Jacque Jones
6) Carlos Delgado 1B
7) Lastings Milledge RF/Jacque Jones
8) Ronny Paulino C

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