Starting pitcher, catcher among the Mets' needs

The Mets are coming off the worst collapse in regular-season history -- they blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play -- so it's safe to say, there isn't much joy in Flushing this offseason.

The Mets have the biggest payroll, and they thought they had the most talent in the National League. Now it's time to redo the calculus.

Primary needs

Starting pitching: Tom Glavine's career with the Mets is almost certainly over, and Pedro Martinez is a year older and still no guarantee to last an entire season. Neither is Orlando Hernandez.

Second base: Luis Castillo just had his right knee scoped, which means the Mets will have to wait until he's fully healed before signing him as a free agent. In the meantime, they'll hunt for another second baseman via a possible trade.

Catching: Paul Lo Duca is all but gone -- he won't be re-signed -- leaving Ramon Castro as the only in-house option.

Free agents

LHP Tom Glavine, Marlon Anderson, Ramon Castro, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca, Aaron Sele, Shawn Green, Jose Valentin

Snaring Alex Rodriguez is a one-in-a-million long shot, but David Wright is on record saying he'd vacate third base if it meant luring A-Rod to Queens. Jorge Posada is on the radar screen, too, provided he'd actually entertain an offer from a crosstown rival. In a perfect world, the Mets would love to have Johan Santana (who wouldn't?) but don't have nearly enough prospects to make such a deal happen.

Lastings Milledge


Trade bait

Lastings Milledge: He's young (22) and has good overall athleticism, just the kind of player an up-and-coming team could use, especially one seeking to unload a soon-to-be free agent in his walk year.

Aaron Heilman: The Mets will never see the right-hander as a starter, but some other team might. Better-than-average fastball and splitter combination could tempt an out-of-town pitching coach.

Farm aid

Carlos Gomez: Could end up in right field if Milledge is ever dealt. At the very least could serve as a capable fourth outfielder. Started the '07 season at Class A and ended up playing in 58 games with the Mets.


The Mets will aim high (A-Rod, Posada), but will likely do little more than tweak the periphery. The core players -- Carlos Beltran, Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Moises Alou -- aren't going anywhere.

But GM Omar Minaya loves to deal: Don't be surprised if he takes a run at the White Sox's Jon Garland or Jose Contreras.

Bob Klapisch is a sports columnist for The Record (N.J.) and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.