For the second straight year the Mets were eliminated on the last day of the season. It was a really sad way to say goodbye to Shea Stadium. Though you can’t say this years end was worse than last year’s it doesn’t make it any easier.
The same things killed them yesterday that killed them all year long. An offense that disappears late in games and a bullpen that can’t hold an opponent. So what’s to be done for next year?
The first thing that needs to be done is a bullpen overhaul. That’s not rocket science. Billy Wagner is probably out for the whole 2009 season and has likely pitched his last game for the Mets. Luis Ayala pitched well as the Mets closer late in the year but he’s not a long term solution. There are several other parts in the bullpen that need work as well.
The starting rotation needs some work as well. It’s quite possible (probable?) that Pedro Martinez has pitched his last game as a met. John Maine will be having surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training but you never know what you’ll get from a pitcher returning from surgery. Oliver Perez is a free agent with a tough agent and a resume that boasts some very bug games this past season. So you’re only sure things for next year (as far as returning starters are concerned) are Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey. Look for the team to acquire another starter if for no other reason than to be sure they’ve got an arm when they need it.
As far as hitters go there are several holes as well. First and foremost is left field where Moises Alou was mostly unavailable all year. A big bat is needed to fill that spot. The Mets did a good job of filling that hole with several players this year but a solid everyday bat is needed. Second base is another area of concern. The Mets need a more dependable bat at that position where Luis Castillo and his balky knees still have 3 years left on a 4 year contract. The Mets will likely have to eat a large part of his contract in order to move him. Daniel Murphy, who was one of the left field fill ins, has been asked to work out at second base during the winter so the Mets may be leaning toward him as at least part of the second base solution.
The bench performed mostly well for a good part of the year but is made up of veteran reclamation projects and young rookies needed to fill emergency holes. This is not the teams most glaring hole but clearly some work is needed here too.