The year 2011 is shaping up to be quite an important year for the New York Mets. While it might seem silly to be jumping the gun on this, considering the Mets just finished 2009 and haven’t even played 2010 yet, there are several factors that make 2011 quite the pivotal season. Here’s a look at some of those things.
- 2011 is the current full-time ETA for Ike Davis, Josh Thole, and Fernando Martinez.
Considering that the current Mets team has gaping holes at catcher, first base, and in the corner outfield (Jeff Francoeur is not a long-term solution, as will become evident soon enough), it is important to note that three of their better hitting prospects not only play those positions, but aren’t that far out of the majors. It might be a problem in the immediate future, but long-term, the team will have players available to fill these positions, and hopefully for the long-haul.
- 2011 might also be the first season we see Brad Holt, Jenrry Mejia, Reese Havens, and Ruben Tejada in the major leagues.
Holt and Mejia are two of the Mets’ best pitching prospects. Both pitched in AA Binghamton this year and showed good peripherals, although they didn’t necessarily have great results. They both will likely start in Binghamton again this year and could earn promotions to Buffalo by season’s end. They could be in the 2011 mix, but more likely figure to start that season in AAA. Havens, the Mets’ second baseman of the future, and Tejada, perhaps their shortstop of the future but more likely their utility infielder of the future, could also find roles on the Mets by mid-2011.
- 2011 is the last season of Jose Reyes’ and Carlos Beltran’s contract.
Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran’s contracts both run out within the next two years. Will they be back? I don’t think Reyes is going anywhere as long as he’s healthy, but Beltran may very well be gone, as he will be 34 at the end of this contract and possibly unable to play center field anymore, where he supplies so much of their value. Will he be worth another 3-4 year deal to be a hobbled corner outfield in 2012 and beyond? We’ll know more about that in 2011.
- Somewhat less tragically, 2011 will be the last year of the Mets’ commitments to Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.
That’s $18 million of sunk cost coming off the payroll after the 2011 season. Only two more seasons of declining second base range and phantom knee injuries! Feel the excitement!
- 2011 is the key season for the Mets and the disastrous Frankie Rodriguez contract.
Sadly, it probably won’t be the last year of the Mets’ commitment to Frankie Rodriguez, but we can dare to dream, right? Unfortunately, the only way to avoid paying the $17.5 million vesting option is to root for Frankie to get hurt, which is never fun, and would require the Mets eating dead money in 2011, so no matter what, the Mets are going to be losers on this contract. Well done, Omar, way to put yourself into a no-win situation in a contract negotiation where you had all of the control. Speaking of…
- 2011 could be the first year of a new manager/general manager regime
I assume nothing with this team, but with it looking like between payroll restrictions and his own inability to properly evaluate low cost/high reward players to fill needs for next year’s Mets team Omar Minaya is incapable of making the right moves to get the 2010 Mets into the postseason. If he can’t get next year’s team into the playoffs, he would likely be gone in 2011. With Minaya gone, hopefully Manuel will follow him out the door and in his place, a new competent field manager will take his place. Hopefully, 2011 will be the first season of competent Mets management since the early 80’s.
I don’t want to completely overlook 2010, but for this team, it’s looking like an afterthought right now. With so much left to fix before this team can even think about contention, 2011 is looking like the far more interesting season. Will Davis, Thole, and Martinez be able to contribute? Will this be the swan song for Beltran and Reyes? Will the 2011 team be constructed to fix the 2010 flaws, or will we be (gasp!) one step ahead for a change? We will have to wait and see.
Tags: Brad Holt, Carlos Beltran, Fernando Martinez, Frankie Rodriguez, Ike Davis, Jenrry Mejia, Jerry Manuel, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, Reese Havens, Ruben Tejada