By Barry Duchan
Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of ten new articles Barry has written on Mets second basemen for this site. - M.S.
Most Mets' fans were pretty sure what the Mets' plans would be for filling the second base hole in 2009 and beyond. They'd dump Luis Castillo to anyone who would take him and throw in enough cash or take back another overpaid player to make the deal. Then they would sign Orlando Hudson, who had expressed interest in playing for the Mets, to a 3 or 4-year contract. Except as of today, this hasn't happened. Castillo is still a Met and Hudson is still a free-agent with few, if any, rumors regarding his next team.
Even though Omar Minaya has publicly expressed confidence in Castillo's ability to bounce back and Luis has indicated that he expects a return to his pre-2008 form, most fans probably hoped that this was just a ruse and that it would somehow be Hudson at second base for the Mets on Opening Day, 2009. The Mets recently signed Alex Cora to back up Castillo and Reyes, but if the Mets go into spring training with Castillo as the starter, there's a pretty good chance Cora will wind up with a lot of playing time at second base if Luis doesn't bounce back. While the light-hitting Cora is hardly an exciting alternative, he may be OK for one year. Until this situation is resolved, we can only speculate on the Mets' future at the position.
The upper levels of the farm system gave us Argenis Reyes, who may move on to another team or be back with the Mets ' organization in the spring, but is clearly nobody's choice as the future starter. Reese Havens made his pro debut with Brooklyn as a shortstop, the position he played in college, but he may be moved to second base. He could be a couple of years away, or may not be a factor at all. It's too early to tell. One-time top prospect Hector Pellot has shown little progress and at this point doesn't figure in any plans. We may very well know the Mets' future at the position soon, if Castillo is dealt away and a younger second baseman is signed, but right now it's all speculation.
So, in 47 years the Mets have gone from one former all-star they hoped might regain his skills (Charlie Neal) to another (Castillo). There have been some good ones along the way, most notably Millan, Backman, and Alfonzo, but mostly it's been a series of bad decisions. Just maybe the Mets can solidify second base as they have at third base and shortstop with Wright and Reyes. Maybe Omar Minaya has a signing or trade up his sleeve. We'll see.
Part 1 - A History of Mistakes
Part 2 - The Sixties
Part 3 - The Seventies and Eighties
Part 4 - Gregg Jefferies
Part 5 - Jeff Kent
Part 6 - The Carlos Baerga era/error
Part 7 - Roberto Alomar
Part 8 - 2004 - 2005
Part 9 - 2006 - 2008
Part 10 - The Future - Current Article