Met's Offseason First Month

             Baseball players may get the winter months to recover from a long season, but the General Manager must work over time.  The Glen Allen Mets first order of business was to sign three key minor league players to major league contracts. Trot Nixon had a couple months this season to get a taste and was signed for four years to play either right or centerfield nest year.  Albert Pujols was signed for five years and will get an opportunity to play DH, LF, RF, 1B and 3B depending upon where he is needed.  Albert is a hitting machine already at 21 years old.  He hopes to settle in at third base after Cal Ripken retires, but will learn a great deal from the veteran.  Barry Zito was impressive in two months last season and was signed for four years.  Zito may turn out to be the ace of the staff with Milton, Ritchie and Trachsel. Young pitchers: Gary Glover, Mike MacDougal and Adrian Hernandez were all signed to minor league contracts.  The Mets may be developing a wonderful pitching rotation for years to come.

            The second phase is the annual free-agent process.  The Mets submit bids on hundreds of players hoping to come home with the winning combination.  Every team has holes to fill and areas where they hope to upgrade.  Glen Allen likes to have a blend of youth and veterans to remain competitive in the NL East.  "Met's fans do not like to hear management talk about rebuilding years.  Our fans are very enthusiastic about their team and like to see playoff game as they have the last couple of years," GM Clark reported.

"We have several of our key players that are on the market, fortunately none of our starting pitchers are free agents until next year.  Since I have already spent a chunk of our budget on the young guys, I can not outbid many of the teams in our league.  I will not mortgage the future for next season."

            With four quality starting pitchers, the Mets were looking for an inexpensive #5 and signed Bryan Rekar, who should contribute 140 inning in 24 starts.  The bullpen added the arms of Bottalico, Timlin and Cook, but said good bye to Wayne Gomes, Lance Painter, Joey Hamilton and Mark Gardner.  Closer Bob Wickman and lefty setup men Magnante, Venafro, McElroy and Heredia all were retained to form another solid relief staff to finish games for the starters.

            Glen Allen added young catcher Ben Molina and traded John Flaherty to Brooklyn.  They were able to resign Damian Jackson, Fernado Tatis, Eric Karros and brought back fan favorite Jose Vizciano and added Mike Lansing since Omar Vizquel moved out to Santa Barbara for a four-year contract. The Mets will surely miss him!

The bats of Dante Bichette and David Segui were added, but do not make up for the loses of Ryan Klesko and Matt Lawton.

            Now to prepare for phase three the rookie draft, but must pause to wish all a HAPPY HOLIDAY season before returning to the trading table.