For the past two seasons, if the New York Mets organization has had a plan, it’s been to run out the clock on bad contracts signed under Omar Minaya‘s regime.
We’ve gotten to watch a pair of teams that started off well, and dropped off the proverbial cliff at midseason.
New York Post columnist Joel Sherman says it’s time for a bold new direction and suggests that the team should trade David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese “to add eight-to-10 prospects and truly begin to address what has long been the Mets’ downfall: Lack of depth up and down the organization.”
Sherman points to a free agent market where Josh Hamilton and Zack Grienke are the best of a weak class, and correctly points out that the Mets could not spend themselves into contention even with unlimited resources. He suggests that the Mets should follow the example of the Oakland Athletics:
I would point out Oakland dealt three in-their-prime players last offseason: Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez. Yes, they did that because of problematic finances. But the A’s also did it because they recognized they did not have enough organizational depth to win long term even keeping that trio. They packaged each with a smaller piece and received 10 prospects back that include players such as Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick, Ryan Cook, Tommy Milone and Derek Norris that have them ahead of the Angels and in contention now.
The one problem with following that exact model is the difference in markets. If Sandy Alderson trades Wright, who becomes the face of the Mets that has to deal with the attention of the New York media? An aging, injury-plagued Johan Santana? Ike Davis, who’s trying to prove that he’s not the Dave Kingman of a new generation? Some one of the newly-acquired prospects?
If I’m going to play armchair GM, I’d look to trade Dickey this off-season. His value has never been higher, and I’m not at all convinced that it would be smart to sign him to a long-term deal that he’d be starting at age 39. I would shop Niese and Daniel Murphy while they’re still (sort of) young and cheap, but I would only move them if they brought back multiple prospects. Lucas Duda could go to any team who thought he was a good fit for them… Josh Thole and Andres Torres could just go.
And I’d try to convince Wright that he really does have the chance to win a World Series with the Mets and get him signed to a contract extension this winter. Only if that doesn’t work out would I look to trade the Mets’ only star.
The one thing that worries me is that the Mets will keep Wright and let him play out his option, essentially repeating what happened last year with Jose Reyes. That would make it all too likely that Wright would depart and leave the Mets with nothing but memories.
So I ask you: What would you do to improve the New York Mets for 2013 and beyond?