NEW YORK - MAY 09: Oliver Perez #46 of the New York Mets walks to the dugout against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on May 9, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
So as we sit here on Oct. 5, 2010, we have entered a new chapter in New York Mets history. Hopefully the chapter that was closed Monday when the Mets fired manager Jerry Manuel and relieved Omar Minaya of his GM title (which means he's not technically fired from the team) means that we can put an end to under-achieving, over-priced players and inject some life into this squad. Because we all knew Omar and Jerry were gone, but I'm not sure any of us had any real solution as to what has to happen next. And for what it's worth, the Bobby Valentine talk is a little bit scary. Why go into the "been there, done that" and why not just start fresh, with maybe Wally Backman or Gary Carter? Those guys won in a Mets uniform and that is something you can't say about any previous Mets manager.
But hey, let's talk about the players, because we've endured dead weight on this team for far too long. Here are the five players the Mets must trade or release in the new regime if they want to get back to being competitive.
1. Oliver Perez. Do we even need to spell this one out? As moves go, this was the beginning of the end for Omar. $36 million over three years, with 2011 being the final year of the three. And in 2009 and 2010 (without even bringing up his minor league experiences...oops, just brought it up) Ollie has gone 3-9 with a 6.83 ERA. with 100 walks in 112 innings. The dude can't get anybody out, not as a starter, not as a reliever. Heck, even when he was helping this team in the 2006 playoffs, you always knew he was one pitch away from going Rick Ankiel on us. WHAT TO DO: Pay him the $12 million and tell him thanks for nothing.
2. Carlos Beltran. Forget the whole injury/trainer debacle and the fact that Beltran missed about a year and half when he should have missed about a year less than that. Sure he had some great seasons here, especially 2006 when he went 41-116-.275. But of course, we all remember that called strike three from Adam Wainwright that basically nullified those stats. And then there was 2010, when Beltran returned to a team that was three games back of the NL East leading Braves at the break, and then went into a freefall as he returned. Of course, Beltran, for his part had seven homers and 27 RBI while batting .255 in a little over two months. Yeah, that's production out of the heart of your order. WHAT TO DO: Creatively "lean" on him to waive his no-trade clause and see if anyone will take him off our hands for a few young arms and most of his 2011 salary ($18.5 million) paid up front.
3. Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod and his temper should be shown the door with no questions asked, but it's not that easy. He's owed $11.5 million for 2011 and a performance based option for 2012 of $14.5 million. He also has a limited no-trade clause. But the guy who set the MLB record in 2008 with the Angels of 62 saves, has 60 saves in two seasons with the Mets and ended his own season by punching his girlfriend's dad and hurting his hand. And let's not kid ourselves -- every night with this guy on the mound was an adventure. WHAT TO DO: If the Yankees are on that list of teams he will accept a trade to, do it, even if it means eating some salary. Or, like a bad mortgage, just walk away.
4. Luis Castillo. Four seasons, 5 homers, 105 RBI and one of the most hideous errors at second base we've seen in our lifetime. With just $6 million left on the final year of his deal, the roster spot is way more valuable. WHAT TO DO: Adios, Luis.
5. Jose Reyes. With just 30 steals in 2010, it's clear that Jose Reyes will never be the player he was a few years ago when he was swiping 60-70 bases a year and batting .300. Reyes has an $11 million club option for 2011 with a $0.5 million buyout. WHAT TO DO: Take the buyout and hope he doesn't resurrect his career playing third base for the Braves, or see if you can renegotiate and make him more of a role player.
That's just a start. I wouldn't mind entertaining the thought of moving Johan Santana, either, but his contract is enormous and he's signed through 2013. Same with Jason Bay (thanks, Omar). Aside from David Wright, those are the only two guys who would bring back good talent in a trade, but it's just not going to happen. And that's fine for now, so long as the Mets start by taking care of those first five above.
Um, Let's Go Mets!