By Steve Vogel
It's true. We only have two returning starters for next year. It's true. Our bullpen, our strongest asset from last season, seems to be falling apart. It's true. Soriano is not going to be a Met ... and don't even think about Ramirez. It's true. There have been no major signings this off-season for the New York Metropolitans. Thank goodness it's only November!
Mr. Minaya has consistently been the man since returning to the organization, and has not let us down yet ... so why would he start? He won't. The off-season is still so young. Putting pitching aside, there hasn't been much to do with 6 of 8 position players locked in for next year before the 2006 season ended. Signing Valentin was an excellent move. Both his hitting and fielding are the best we've had at second base in years, and his price is right. There isn't much better out there, so Omar made a smart move bringing back a guy who was well-liked and affordable, to save money for pitching. The free agent class this year is weak, so why not sign a guy like Alou? Good job Omar! We all loved Cliff, but c'mon. Even with the injuries Alou suffered last year, he is not typically injury-prone, and you can bet he is going to put up better than average numbers. So far into this early off-season, our position players, our bench, and our offense is the best in the league.
Anyone want to pitch for the Mets and go to the playoffs? Yes, we only have two starters in Orlando Hernandez and John Maine (still crossing my fingers for Tom Glavine). With much competition already out there for a fifth starter, and Pedro hopefully returning by the All Star break, we need a couple of top of the rotation starters, that's for certain. Zito will almost certainly be a Met. He's the best available guy out there and Omar always gets his man. Zito wants to win and make big money doing it, and where that happens doesn't matter to him. We can and will give him what he wants. Rejoining Rick Peterson will only be an added incentive. You can expect to see some major discussions happening with other clubs regarding pitching during the winter meetings. With the signing of Alou, Lastings Milledge may be key to any deal regarding pitching, and you can bet your last dollar that the front office won't hesitate now to trade Milledge for let's say, the D TRAIN!
Everyone buckle up and return your seats to their upright position. We're on our way.