So, if Sandy decides we are done for the year, what year does he play for? Does he trade Beltran for 2012 help (AAA and AA players only)? Are we ready to be competitive next year?
I'm thinking that IF we can resign Jose and we are lucky enough to have some prospects come out right, we are still in for a down year in 2012 (70 wins?), a promising year in 2013 (85 wins?), and a competitive year in 2014. So what does that mean for this year's trade deadline? Who is going to be here in 2014 competing?
C: Thole - he might be here, I'm not convinced he's a starting catcher on a competitive team.
1B: Ike - He'll be there
2B: Whatever. I guess Murphy or Tejada. I'd hope we could upgrade by 2014
LF: Bay? Gawd, I hope not. How about giving Duda his at bats this year and next? Eventually we will need to land a guy who is what Bay was supposed to be. But I would think we could buy that in 2014.
CF: Pagan? I doubt it. he's headed for the wrong side of 30. Could Captain Kirk take over CF next year? Van Dekker may be ready mid-season. This is going to be a hard position to fill, there aren't a whole lot of candidates available that are true CF. If Kirk, Dekker, and Puello don't pan out (distinct possibility), then we will be left to declining Victorinos and Byrds.
RF: I really wouldn't mind Scott Hairston getting full time At Bats, but I'd also tolerate giving FMart an extended look next year. Cory Vaughn may be ready for a mid-season callup next year depending on how he handles AA next year. I'm optimistic that Vaughn could be an above average hitter and stick (of all the Mets OF prospects).
Rotation: Pelfrey? I wouldn't like to see him around in 2014; Niese I like a lot; I don't see Capuano or Dickey around in 2014 either. I'm not sold on Gee, but I can't see why he wouldn't be a bad back of the rotation starter on a competing team. We will have Johan next year, but I think we'll be showcasing him for a trade deadline deal in 2012 on him.
So... if 2014 is the goal, my preference would be to trade Bay (or buy him out), and trade Pagan, Pelfrey, Capuano, and Dickey besides Beltran. I'd be willing to tolerate Duda, Newenhuis, Martinez, Schwinden, Misch, etc learn on the job next year (and whoever Sandy can pull off). Eventually Mejia, Harvey, Familia, Rodriquez will be competing for jobs.
I want the best outfield and rotation prospects Sandy can get. I like the Reds (pitchers) and Braves (Beltran) as trade partners the best. The Reds have a bunch of grade B and C MLB or near-MLB ready outfield prospects that could trade them for pitchers. The Braves have some interesting middle infielders, but their strength is starters (I'd like Minor, Perez, and maybe someone like Lipka, Salcedo. or Pasternacki for Beltran).
I'm no big fan of the Phillies toolsy prospects (excepting Brown who we won't get). The Cardinals have a bunch of old prospects that don't excite me, and I understand the Pirates are overvaluing all of their prospects. After Wheeler and Belt who the Mets aren't getting, the Giants are pretty stripped.
I know nothing about AL prospects - the weakness of playing in an NL-only fantasy league (Mendoza Baseball, best fantasy game out there by far)
Add to the mix whatever spare parts Sandy and his number crunchers can come up with, and I think the mets would be interesting if not competitive next year. If we don't sign Jose, then its another story altogether. For us to be promising in 2013 and competitive in 2014, Sandy is going to have to shine next week.