Just as it’s important to discuss the decisions made by the Nationals this offseason, it’s also important to take stock of what the team’s division rivals are up to. Every now and then we’ll check in on the other NL East teams as their roster decisions could impact the Nationals in a number of ways. We’ll lead off with a look at what is likely on the offseason agenda for the New York Mets.
First and foremost on the Mets’ agenda is the free agency of shortstop Jose Reyes. It’s expected that he’ll hit the open market for the first time in career in the coming week and by all accounts the Mets will be involved in those discussions. However, the amount they ultimately feel capable of offering Reyes remains to be seen. These discussions will likely dominate the team’s offseason until a decision has been made. Should Reyes leave (and no, I don’t view the Nationals as a possible option for him), the team really does not have a quality replacement in house so finding a new shortstop will need to be made a priority.
The team has decisions to be made with regards to two players who will be arbitration eligible. Both Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan had disappointing seasons in 2011 but still are in line for raises. Both have been tossed around as possible non-tender candidates. The team will need to decide their fates within the coming weeks as the deadline to tender a contract is December 12. Should one or both players be let go, those holes will then need to be addressed.
Pelfrey seems likely to receive a contract tendered to him because the team has additional questions facing the starting rotation. Hope existed that Johan Santana would have been able to make a few starts at the end of the 2011 season if his recovery had progressed as scheduled. That wasn’t the case and we still don’t know how healthy he is for 2012. A healthy Santana will be a huge boost to the Mets, but if he can’t produce then the team could be in trouble. Depth for the rotation is a big need for the Mets.
The offense should be improved (pending who’s playing shortstop) with a healthy season from David Wright (who shouldn’t be traded, in my opinion) and a healthy return of Ike Davis. There is hope for Jason Bay turning things around as well. The team will need to address holes in right field (Lucas Duda doesn’t seem like the answer), the bullpen, the bench, and potentially second base (unless they really believe Justin Turner can handle the job fulltime).
The team’s financial situation still remains a little cloudy, especially after a reported deal to sell a minority stake in the team seemingly fell through. This could limit how much the team is able to spend on the free agent market, especially if they do resign Reyes first. The Mets could be a contender for some of the bargain options this winter, potentially even some options the Nationals are considering.
The Mets finished the 2011 season with a 77-85 record, good for 4th in the NL East. Of the five teams within the division, they could be under the most pressure to improve as the other four teams seem primed to continue moving well ahead of them. The Phillies and Braves are already there, with the Nationals not far behind. The Marlins, who will open their new stadium in April, seemed poised to spend big this winter. The Mets don’t want to fall too far behind.
For more on the Mets, check out our friends at Rising Apple.