Now that the Mets have themselves a new general manager in place, they need a manager. The type of manager they decide to hire will depend on how they intend to rebuild the ball club. If the Mets intend to build from within, then they need a manager who has a history of developing stars out of young players. If they intend to get stronger from without the organization, that would mean a different type of manager. Let's look at where the Mets currently are and make a few observations..
The left side of the infield is seemingly all set. Reyes had a decent bounce back season and held his own. To miss as much time as he did and still hit above league average is a really good sign. He also held his own in the field. With a dearth of good shortstops in the game right now, Reyes is the least of their troubles. The Fan really doesn't like him as a lead off man though. He just doesn't get on base enough. The Mets fared much better in games that Pagan leads off. But we'll get to him in a minute.
David Wright is not a good third baseman. He made 20 errors over there and his defensive metrics don't rate that as a fluke. But his offense certainly came back in a big way in 2010. So there is not much you can do about his defense and just keep plugging him in the line up at third the same way that the Braves put Chipper Jones over there all those years despite his defense. It was great to see Wright bounce back from his initial Citi Field swoon.
The right side of the infield is only half set. Ike Davis had a decent rookie season and should improve upon that with time. He's a really slick fielding first baseman and his power will improve as he gains experience. His On Base Percentage will also improve as he learns the league. An 111 OPS+ for a rookie is a lot better than people realize.
That leaves second base and it's a real problem. Castillo has another year left on his horrible contract. He is not the answer any more, especially since he'll be 35 in 2011. And Joey Cora was even worse filling in for Castillo. If the Mets were smart, neither would play a single game this season for the Mets. But then what? Well, they are going to have to find somebody. Isn't that what Alderson is supposed to do?
The outifield is a puzzle the Mets will need to figure out. Pagan has had a nice couple of years despite not being thought of to be that good a player. He did start to fade in 2010 as the season wore on. Angel Pagan, who has one of the best oxymornic names in baseball history, did play fantastic in the field though. So maybe you do start him in center. Which means that if Carlos Beltran is healthy, he should be moved to right field. Beltran, in his prime, was one of the best center fielders in the game. But he hasn't been in his prime for a couple of years now. If Torii Hunter can move to right, so can Beltran.
Left field was a waste land last year as Jason Bay was a huge bust for the Mets. But what can they do? Bay is signed for multiple years at too much money and nobody will want to take him off the Mets' hands. All the Mets can do is hope that he bounces back offensively and cringe a little inside whenever a ball is hit in his direction. Bay's signing is one of the real albatross fiascoes of the previous regime.
There is great news behind the plate. Josh Thole is terrific! It should excite Mets' fans that they will have a full year of Thole with his excellent defensive peripherals and the fact that he knows what to do with a bat in his hand too. He only struck out once more than he walked in his brief time with the Mets. Thole is a big reason for optimism in 2011.
This Fan is kind of excited about the Mets' rotation with or without Santana. Pelfrey is streaky, but he's growing into a good starter. Jonathan Niese showed flashes of brilliance and should continue to get better. R. A. Dickey seems poised to be the next Niekro/Wakefield. Dillon Gee pitched well despite his K/BB ratios not being anywhere near his minor league numbers. If he can approach the splits that he did in the minors, he could be really good.
To round out the rotation, stick Jenrry Meija in the rotation and leave him there. He looked like he pitched a bit scared last year. But tell him to trust his stuff and throw strikes and he can be fantastic. He's got the best pure stuff in the Mets' organization and he's still growing. He can be an ace if the Mets just show him that he is allowed to fail in the strike zone.
The bullpen was decent in 2010. Parnell was a nice surprise as well as Dessens. And this Fan believes that Fransisco Rodriguez will come back with renewed appreciation for baseball. The Fan fully expects that if K-Rod comes back with renewed fire and better perspective, he can be terrific still. Plus, he will have a manager that won't abuse him the way that Manuel did.
Alderson inherits a situation that wasn't about bad talent. It was just a bad atmosphere. If he hires the right manager, this team has the talent to contend in 2011 and beyond. Oh, and besides that, get rid of Oliver Perez at any cost. Dump him if you can't trade him. He has no business being near this team. But other than that, the New York Mets aren't in bad shape.