OK, I´ll start by saying that I don´t think the Mets will be truly competitive in 2012 regardless of what they do. They can, however, be respectable and set the stage for 2013 and especially 2014, when I believe they will be competitive. The fact is that the team has a number of prospects coming at SP (or maybe RP), 2B, and OF who are not quite ready, or need more time for an accurate evaluation of what they can contribute. So I propose the following:
1. Let Reyes walk. Don´t get me wrong, I love the guy, but I firmly believe that some team will step up and offer him 6 years at big money, and I don´t think the Mets should do that, for all the reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere. Tejada plays SS.
2. Trade Pelfrey, Duda, Pagan, Paulino, and Collin McHugh (who had a great GB ratio at AA and only allowed 2 HR all year) to CO for Dexter Fowler, Huston Street, Chris Ianetta, 3B prospect Nolan Arenado and one of their pitching prospects--maybe Chad Bettis (I don´t think we could get Pomerantz unless it´s a bigger deal that includes Wright.). Reasons: CO wants OF stability and SPs who can pitch a lot of innings. They have a catcher that´s almost ready. Mets want/need a closer, a CF, a C to catch some and mentor Thole, quality prospects, as well as a 3B should they decide to let Wright go in a year or two. Street has one year remaining on his deal, at which point the Mets should know better if Mejia and Familia will be starters or relievers. Fowler can be our CF in the future, leaving Cap´n Kirk for RF long-term, if he develops as we hope and stays healthy. Or he could be traded in a year if we were lucky enough to get Matt Kemp as a FA next year.
3. Sign Javier Vazquez to a 2 year $15 million deal. Outside of his stint with the Yankees he´s pitched well, and the 200ish innings he pitches will be higher quality that Pelfrey provides. He´ll be a good transition pitcher until Harvey/Z.Wheeler/Familia/Bettis/Mejia are ready, and a much better #2/3 than Pelfrey.
5. Sign 2B/SS Jamey Carroll to a 2 year $4mil deal. He can play either position, mentor Murphy/Havens/Valdespin, or come off the bench.
6. Trade Gorski, FMart, and another low minors prospect to Tampa for BJ Upton. He could play CF or RF. He has 1 year left on his deal, which would allow the Mets more time to evaluate Cap'n Kirk, DenDekker, and Vaughn.
7. Re-sign Willie Harris.
8. Re-sign Miguel Batista as a long man/ spot starter.
Opening Day Roster
RHSP - J. Santana-- $23 million
RHSP- J. Vazquez-- $7.5 million
RHSP- RA Dickey-- $4.5 million
LHSP--J. Niese-- $0.45 million
RHSP- Dillon Gee--$0.45 million
CL- Huston Street -- $7 million
L-Tim Byrdak- $2.5 mill (?)
R-Dan Wheeler- $3 mill
L-George Sherrill- $3 mill
R-Manny Acosta- $1.5 mil
R- M. Batista- $1.5 mil
R- Parnell- $0.45 mil
1B- Davis- $0.5
2B- J. Carroll- $2 mill
SS- Tejada-- $0.45
3B- Wright-- $16 mill
LF- Bay-- $18 mill
CF-- Fowler-- $2 mill
RF-- Upton --$7 mill
C-Ianetta- $4 mill
IF- Murphy--$0.6 mil
IF/OF- Harris--$1.5 mil
OF--Baxter/Nieuwenhuis- $0.45 mill
IF- Evans/Lutz/Satin $0.45
Total payroll: $108.5 million
I think these moves give the Mets a chance to be respectable in 2012, change the chemistry, preserve flexibility for the future, and fill some gaps until prospects develop further or are more accurately evaluated. We might well see some of those rookies have cups of coffee in 2012, or even step into pen/bench roles in preparation for 2013. A better plan, emerging rookies, and respectable performance might make the team more attractive to FAs post-2012 too. I´m not expecting much next year, but some new faces that don´t block our top prospects, or do provide a potential long-term answer would be a breath of fresh air.