Somehow, the Mets have ceased to exist.
With the quick exit of the Yankees from the postseason, followed by the subsequent chatter over the state of the team, and the future of Joe Torre's job in flux, and the great "meeting" going on between the Yankee Higher-uppers in Florida as we speak, combined with the playoffs continuing on and continuing to surprise everyone, it's almost as if the Mets have become persona non grata across all of Baseball.
That's not necessarily a bad thing right now.
I know there have been the odd rumblings and grumblings being bandied about. Buster Olney of ESPN proposed a massive trade involving Reyes and Johan Santana as the key figures in his blog last week (which I'd link to, but it requires insider, which I don't have), but otherwise, nary a peep from Willie, Omar, heck, you haven't even heard anybody talking about whether or not David Wright has a girlfriend lately.
That's not to say that there's nothing to talk about. Jason at Faith and Fear wrote a compelling breakdown of the state of the team last week. I offered up my player capsules a couple of weeks ago. Undoubtedly, there will be players that I filleted that are sure to return, or others that we like destined elsewhere. There is a short list of pending Free Agents on the Mets, plus a host of other options about to flood the market, lest they are re-signed by their current club before the requisite 10-day period following the World Series ends.
Here's what the Mets have:
Sandy Alomar, Jr.: Hell of a way to start.
Moises Alou: The case for him has been and had been made ad infinitum over the course of the final, miserable few weeks of the season, when he was the few players producing offensively on a consistent basis. The case against him was nailed down perfectly by Jason at FAFIF: Yes, he's great, but we know that he's only great for about 90-100 games, and that means there are 60-70 games that we leave to chance because he'll inevitably get hurt. And for a team that needs time to gel and click, it's difficult to do when you are relying heavily on the dreaded creaky-old-guy-who-can-hit-but-is-rarely-healthy. My thought: If a more attractive, younger, and less injury-prone option presents itself, please take it.
Shawn Green: Green is sort of Alou-lite, if only because he's not as creaky, and not as injury-prone (not yet, anyway), but at the same time, I can't realistically see him even as the lefty half of a RF platoon with Milledge, which is totally asinine, but somehow in the back of my mind I could see Willie doing this because of his hatred of Milledge. But that shouldn't happen. Milledge deserves the RF job, despite what Willie, Boy-King or anyone in the Media thinks about him. If Green stays at all, he should be kept at a vastly reduced price and come off the bench as the key lefty pinch hitter, unless...
...Marlon Anderson is brought back to be that lefty pinch hitter. Which he should be, because he's demonstrated himself comfortable and capable in that role, and can offer a bit more in the spot starter role than Green probably would.
Luis Castillo: An e-mail string I've been involved with was talking about how Jose Valentin was a much more positive influence on Jose Reyes than Castillo, who can apparently be a space cadet of Manny Ramirez-esque proportions. Word is Castillo often doesn't know which city he is in. Then again, if he's healthy and can hit, he can think he's on Mars for all I care. But, like Alou, if a more attractive option should present itself, the Mets should take it.
Jose Valentin: Speaking of Valentin, did you know that he was supposedly a good influence on Reyes? Apparently, Reyes' downward slide coincided with Valentin's trip to the DL. Maybe he can be brought back as a coach...
Ramon Castro: I said it before and I'll say it again. He's not good enough to start every day. He'll get exposed so fast it won't be funny. He's a perfect backup if he'd like to return in that role, or even the righty half of a catching platoon if that should be the situation. But under no circumstances should he start.
Paul LoDuca: I'm convinced he won't be back. It's a shame, since he can be a good vocal leader, but his issues with the Media combined with his age seem to be pointing to LoDuca walking.
Aaron Sele: Darren Oliver put up similar numbers for the Angels that he did for the Mets in 2006, albeit pro-rated over fewer IP. Point is, if the Mets had kept him around and maybe thrown the kind of asinine money at him that they did at Schoeneweis, this wouldn't have been necessary.
Damion Easley: I would prefer that the Mets do their best to keep away from the dreaded "creaky old guys." That said, I know they won't, and it's pretty much impossible to fill out a roster without at least one or two of them (even the Rockies are trotting out the ancient Matt Herges), and if there has to be a couple of them here, I would like Easley to be one of them. He provides a nice righty counter to, say, Marlon Anderson off the bench.
Tom Glavine: Go back to Atlanta. I would prefer to have Philip Humber make the 33 starts. Or someone who won't shit the bed in the biggest game of the year.
Jeff Conine: Retired.
Mike DiFelice: See here.
There are other Free Agents out there, a comprehensive list is here. There are some nice, attractive options out there (in the vein of players like Bobby Abreu, Francisco Cordero or Mike Lowell (if this season proves that Lowell is Lowell again, and if he could, perhaps, be moved to another position, say, 1B, but that leaves a very expensive mess in the name of Carlos Delgado, who I've completely soured on after the evasiveness and the Jeter jersey incident, but this is another issue for another time)), but for each guy like that, there are another 10 Steve Trachsel/John Mabry/Neifi Perez types who are completely useless, except for those guys who could catch lightning in a bottle for a season (which is all hearsay at this point), or for me to put in a list to make snide remarks about in a future post.
It's going to be a head-scratching good time.
Congratulations, Rockies. I wish I'd put $100 on them to make it to the World Series back in April.