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?