So I’d be very surprised if the Mets don’t come out of Las Vegas this week having captured Francisco Rodriguez (please, don’t call him K-Rod) and insisting we’ll be all the better for it.
But let us not forget that going into the new season with a reliable closer only puts the Mets on the exact same footing they were the last three seasons, and none of them ended quite like we wanted. And none of those years began with ownership pledging an idiotic credo of “addition by subtraction,” which plays great on WFAN but seems naive and foolish at best in practice. And, inasmuch as paying top dollar for the top reliever indicates the Mets intend to “go for it” once again in 2009, my concerns — beyond what number Rodriguez might wear since No. 57 is occupied by Johan Santana — are only beginning.
There’s the need for reliable starting pitching. I’m optimistic about Pelfrey’s progress and think he can make more of it next year but until he demonstrates he can get people out via the strikeout I’m not entirely comfortable. I like Maine if he’s healthy, but who knows. I’m all for giving Niese and Jason Vargas (who also needs a new a number) a shot at the end, but I’d sure like out chances with a known quantity mixed in along with them, and preferably someone with a potential to be very good some nights if not all. Hey… How about Oliver Perez?
And can we get serious about the bench? If Jerry Hairston Jr. is out there and you intend on winning the division, you can’t prefer Marlon Anderson to him. Reports have the Mets kicking the tires on Twins scrubeenie Nick Punto, that’s a little more encouraging.
And not to sound like a complete pessimist, but I’m concerned that the everyday lineup needs plenty of improvement. I was never much of an advocate for Luis Castillo but is there anyone in that lineup you see improving significantly except for him? That is going to take some creativity to address.
So while we wish Omar luck in his pursuits out West this week let’s remember that gathering in an ace closer is only the start, and probably, the easiest card he’s got to play. It’s all that other stuff — bench, offense, rotation — that will win the day.