It’s been well documented that 2B has been an issue for the Mets this past season, or for the last few seasons really. In 2011, the Mets have a few options at 2B and Luis Castillo is likely not one of them. Castillo will be in the final year of his player friendly 4 yr $24M contract signed in the offseason of 2007, after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins. Castillo hasn’t exactly been the player he was back in the early 2000’s since signing his deal and based on everything we’ve been reading lately, Castillo’s time is running out as a member of the NY Mets. Whether he gets traded, released or bought out by the Mets, chances are Luis Castillo isn’t going to be a part of this team next season. Let’s take a look at some possibilities to be playing to Ike’s right and Jose’s left in 2011.
In-House/Minor League Options
Ruben Tejada (20) – ML Mets, HT: 5’11”, WT: 160, R/R
(.237/.302/.276) 86 H, 1 HR, 16 2B, 24 RBI, 28 BB, 1 SB
*combined between AAA/ML
The obvious choice right now, but his bat just does not seem ready. I’m sure his average will pick up next season and he’ll be more of an offensive factor after nice sized portion as a ML player under his belt. His defense alone makes him a viable everyday starting 2B and look for Ruben to likely start opening day for the Mets at 2B, but there’s a chance he ends the year as an infield utility player.
Justin Turner (25) – AAA Buffalo, HT: 5’11”, WT: 200, R/R
(.311/.374/.462) 111 H, 9 HR, 27 2B, 39 RBI, 33 BB, 7 SB
Turner has had a surprisingly good season in Buffalo and had a cup of coffee with the Mets a few weeks back. Depending upon his injury, I think we’ll see him in September when the rosters expand and maybe he earns a shot at the starting or backup 2B position coming out of camp next year. If not Turner likely starts in Buffalo and rides the Buffalo/Queens train next season up and down.
Josh Satin (25) – AA Bing, HT: 6’2”, WT: 200, R/R
(.317/.408/.475) 147 H, 11 HR, 38 2B, 1 3B, 73 RBI, 64 BB,
Josh Satin is the dark horse here and to many of you, he’s not a household name, but Satin can just flat out hit. He also has been playing 3B and 1B more this season to develop his versatility and has a chance to be a major league utility player mold, but with a decent bat. Satin likely starts at AA playing the utility role and gets some AB’s in September next year. I’d like to see him get some PT in the outfield and become a Super Utility player like Joe McEwing.
Jordany Valdespin (22) – AA Bing, HT: 6’0”, WT: 174, L/R
(.277/.306/.406) 96 H, 6 HR, 21 2B, 3 3B, 39 RBI, 16 SB
Jordany is another riser in the Mets organization and has been talked about as possibly the most talented 2B in the Mets system and that he knows it. Adam Rubin has tabbed him as the best athlete in the Mets minor system, while a recent Baseball America article talks about Valdespin as being both exciting and excitable, in reference to his two suspensions for behavior related issues this season. Valdespin certainly has the talent, but he needs to learn how to play under control and learn to be a professional before he can be considered as a ML option. Jordany will probably start and end the season in AA, he needs some maturing.
Reese Havens (23) – AA Bing, HT: 6’1”, WT: 195, L/R
(.392/.386/.592) 39 H, 9 HR, 4 2B, 2 3B, 19 RBI, 14 BB, 33 K
Reese can’t seem to stay healthy and has missed most of this season with a strained oblique. Havens was a 1st round pick in 08’ only a few picks after Ike Davis was selected and seems to have both the bat and glove to play the position. Reese was converted from SS to 2B this season, so we know he has the range and arm, but he needs to work on his footwork in the off-season. As you can see by his offensive numbers, he certainly brings an element to the game that we haven’t seen offensively at 2B since Fonzie left. Reese likely earns a ST invite and starts in Buffalo and ends the season in Queens as the starting 2B and holds down that position for the next 8 years.
There is quite a log jam from AA and up for young talented 2B in the Mets organization, so something needs to happen with these five guys in order to get everyone enough AB’s next season. We haven’t even considered the Mets reaching into Free Agency and signing a starting or back up 2B for next season to add to the depth. Here are some of the Free Agent 2B options and possible free agent targets that have team options that might not be picked up. Omar Infante’s option is almost certainly going to be picked up by the Braves based on this year’s performance.
Free Agent 2B Options
Ronnie Belliard (36), Willie Bloomquist (33), Craig Counsell (40), David Eckstein (36), Orlando Hudson (33)-Type A, Akinori Iwamura (32), Felipe Lopez (31)-Type B, Julio Lugo (35), Kaz Matsui (35), Aaron Miles (34), Juan Uribe (31)-Type B, Ramon Vazquez (34)
Possible Free Agent 2B with team options
Nick Punto (33) - $5MM club option with a $500K buyout, Adam Kennedy (35) - $2MM club option, Omar Infante (29) - $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout, Mark Ellis (34) - $6MM club option with a $500K buyout-Type B
Barring a trade for a 2B, these are likely our options to hold down 2B for the Mets next season and to be honest, the free agent choices don’t really excite me that much. We’ve had the O-Dawg conversation for the past two off-seasons and that hasn’t came to fruition and now he’s two years older. If the Twins offer him arbitration, he’ll cost a 2nd round pick (if the Mets stay at there current pace and finish with the Top 15 worst record) and I don’t see the Mets going for that. All of the other options just don’t seem like an upgrade to me and with the talent we have, I just don’t think the Mets need to throw any more money at 2B.
Obviously a lot of things can change between now and opening day, but here’s where I see these 2B options starting next season:
The Closer’s 2011 2B Predictions:
ML Starting 2B – Ruben Tejada
ML Back-up/AAA Train – Justin Turner
AAA Starter – Reese Havens
AA Starter – Jordany Valdespin
AA Back-up 2B/Utility – Josh Satin
Let's check back in late March 2011 to see how accurate I am.....
Let’s Go Mets!!