A Short Hot Stove Season?

The World Series has been over for exactly a week, but already there has been a flurry of activity regarding player personnel around MLB — including four trades, a few minor signings, and options exercises or declined. This is in start contrast to last offseason, when the first trade didn’t occur until November 24th — when the Royals traded Tyler Lumsden to the Astros for a PTBNL — and the more significant moves happened from December through February.

The questionable economy had something to do with teams sitting on their hands last year, and there was plenty of posturing on all sides of the free agent market (players, agents, GMs). Many realized they were in the midst of a market correction, and chose to wait it out as long as possible.

But this year the hot stove heated up quickly, and I get the feeling it’s going to be a “short” offseason. Meaning, we won’t be seeing many bargain free agents (i.e., Bobby Abreu types) signed within days of the start of spring training, and teams will be finishing — rather than starting — their roster makeovers during the annual winter meetings.

The Mets likely will be among those who move quickly this winter, mainly because they can’t afford not to. As mentioned on MetsBlog, current season-ticket holders are being asked to re-up by December 4th with a 20% deposit. When the Mets asked for a similarly early deposit last year, they had two major selling points — the opening of Citi Field and a team that missed the postseason by one game. In contrast, this winter the allure of a “new” stadium no longer applies, and the team is coming off its worst season since Art Howe lit up a room with his smile. So the Mets need to give their current customers good reason to come back — and they need to do it right away, before those dollars go toward holiday gifts.

My guess is we’ll see a splash of some sort in the next two weeks — or at least, a series of little splashes that add up to optimism for 2010. And by little splash, I don’t mean the hiring of a third base coach. Though, I won’t be surprised to see more of Mookie Wilson’s and Tim Teufel’s teammates join the organization — the Mets know that a good part of their fan base holds emotional ties to the 1986 team. Of course, there will need to be new players come in as well. Whether they’re better than the current personnel doesn’t matter as much as being different, which is why the recent rumors surrounding Orlando Hudson and Lyle Overbay make sense. I bet we’ll see Luis Castillo moved quickly — even if a replacement isn’t announced right away, it may be enough to give fans hope prior to the deposit deadline.

Of course, season tickets will be sold all winter, so the Mets don’t need to make all their moves prior to December 4th. But it’s funny how people run out of money after the New Year, and the Mets want to make sure some of that money goes toward 2010 season tickets.

What do you think? Will the Mets make some moves early, and if so, what do you envision?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. astromets November 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm
    Yeah, they are going to jump over the first team to say yes to a deal for Castillo, and that will be their first move. Then, once free agency starts, they will put out offers to a lot of people and multiple positions and see who bites. I would guess they offer Torrealba and Molina similar small, short contracts hoping to entice them. Probably will offer Holliday, Lackey, Hudson, Figgins, Wolf, Polanco contracts on day one, too. Then a couple of the closers, or would be closers, to be the set-up man for K-Rod.
  2. MJ November 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm
    I am one of those season ticket holders. My feeling is that the Mets will need to earn my hard to come by money going forward. I am considering not buying season tickets until I see some concrete improvement in the team. The cosmetic changes you are talking about will not be enough in my view. Before I spend another peeny on Mets tickets, they’d better show me that if they are going to charge top dollar for tickets, they’d better put a top notch team on the field. The Yankees, damn them, do no less.
  3. isuzudude November 13, 2009 at 11:24 am
    A Castillo-for-Juan Pierre rumor is now making the rounds. I can’t help but get the sense of deja vu when dissecting this potential swap. I wonder why…
  4. Mic November 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm
    Wally’s back………….
  5. joejanish November 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm
    Mic – that news wasn’t supposed to be leaked until next Monday night. Hopefully NYBD didn’t screw up Wally’s opportunity — the Mets may be ticked off that this got out before they were ready to announce it.