As we solemnly shift into the 2008-2009 off-season, I guess it's never too early to look ahead.
Here's a list of all the position players who made an appearance with the Mets in 2008, and whether they should stay or go, and why:
Brian Schneider - Stay. He wasn't as good defensively as I was lead to believe. He also did not throw out as many runners as expected. His hitting is typical of a catcher, so I can't complain much there. I say he stays simply because Ramon Castro can't stay healthy enough to be a full time catcher. Otherwise, I'd say trade him and move Castro up to #1.
Ramon Castro - Stay. His hitting for average was down this year, as was his power numbers, but another year where he struggled to stay healthy and showed he can't be a teams full time catcher. His numbers with Johan Santana are in stark contrast to the games Johan threw with Schneider, and I would keep him purely for that reason. Keep your $137 million investment happy.
Robinson Cancel - Go. At least back to the minors. Decent as a third string catcher. Had some timely hits, and looks like a Ninja Turtle. What more can you ask?
Raul Casanova - Go. Not really much to say.
Gustavo Molina - Go. Did not realize how many catchers were up with the Mets this season.
Carlos Delgado - Go. Maybe. This is the toughest call on the team, I think. He was absolutely abysmal for over a year, then seemed to flip a switch in July and August and absolutely tore up the league. September saw him come back down to the Delgado of old. His bat seems to be still there, at least due to the last three months of baseball. But the Mets cannot forget about what he did for most of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. I think his defense at first in underrated, and he saves tons of David Wright errant throws. He might be worth picking up the option unless the Mets think they can sign Mark Teixeira, which I doubt. So I say "go," only because I don't think he'll be able to put up the same numbers again. I don't know where else they can turn though.
Luis Castillo - Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. I don't care what you do, Omar Minaya, but get this guy off the Mets as soon as possible. Eat the rest of the $25 million if you have to (and you will), but trade him for a bucket of balls and some Big League Chew. I'd be pleased with that.
Damion Easley - Stay. I love this guy, and I feel the worst for him. He's played the most games without making the playoffs, and he missed out again. He may be cursed, but he was amazing as a utility player this season. When Castillo went down and Argenis Reyes couldn't cut it, Easley was always there to fill in. His age started to show, but he's a veteran. He doesn't rub me as a leader, as he seems too quiet, and I wish he was more outspoken, but he's a decent utility / man off the bench, who you know you can rely on.
Argenis Reyes - Stay. The 26-year-old came out of nowhere in spring training and really surprised a few fans. When he came up to the Mets, he was hitting, playing stellar defense, and making everyone quickly try to put Castillo out of their minds. Unfortunately, he fell back to Earth, and hard. He's the poor mans Anderson Hernandez. Can hit a little better, but not as good defensively. Not a pinch hitter, but could work off the bench. Teach him SS, and see what happens.
Ramon Martinez - Go. Yes, I know he was clutch down the stretch (all 16 AB's) but I don't see him coming back, at all.
Jose Reyes - Stay. This should be a no-brainer, but some "chubby" radio hosts in New York seem to think that he, or Wright, should be traded away because "they haven't won with them, maybe they can win without them." Ridiculous. He's the most exciting player in baseball, posted amazing numbers once more, and is a stalwart in the field. He puts peoples in the seats.
David Wright - Stay. That same chubby host also entertained the idea of trading Wright. He put up the #2 RBI total in the league. He's the face of the franchise. He's not a gold-glover (at least not his throws) but he's well above average at the hot corner. If the Mets trade him, you will see true anger and bitterness toward the organization.
Moises Alou - Go. If any team signs him, I'd be shocked. Maybe as a DH, if they really need somone. The guy can still rake at the plate, if he can stay healthy...which is never.
Fernando Tatis - Go. His come back was amazing this season. He came out of left field (and was a savior in left and right for a time) and put up stellar numbers. A case could be made for Comeback Player of the Year. But I can't see him performing the way he did for another year. No way, no how. Some team will take a flier on him, though.
Carlos Beltran - Stay. No brainer. If he's traded, Omar is an idiot. He'll never hit for average, but he's proven to be more "clutch" than most people think. He's the best centerfielder I've seen, and makes some ridiculous catches look like simple pop flies. He's a cornerstone of this team. Bat him second!
Ryan Church - Stay. But I can see him being traded. He was great at the beginning of the season. Just absolutely unbelieveable and unexpected out of the gates. Then he got hurt again, was completely mishandled by the Mets organization, and never seemed to recover. He might be able to put up similar numbers, but who knows. He's still yet to play a full season.
Endy Chavez - Stay. Another spectacular catch in a huge game solidified his folk-like status among Mets fans. Amazing as a fourth-outfielder, and capable as a spot starter. Bring him back.
Angel Pagan - Stay. Remember him? If anyone thinks he's going to put up the same numbers, think again. He was hot when he was healthy, then went down with a shoulder injury and has yet to recover. See what he can do in spring training again, and see if he can actually be a consistent starter.
Daniel Murphy - Stay. Next years starting second baseman? Possibly. This kid can hit, that is undeniable. He might be in LF, might be at 2B, and I think they should test him at first. He'll be back. He's already a fan favorite. I just hope he's not a Jacoby Ellsbury-type player. Flash in the pan?
Nick Evans - Stay. Next years starting left fielder? I think he was overmatched for most of the season. The Mets are high on him, and I think he can be a solid hitter. Just where does he fit, though? Completely possible that Evans or Murphy gets traded for a legitimate major league player.
Trot Nixon - Go. No fit.
Chris Aguila - Stay. Stick around the minors a little more. Getting a little old for the minor leagues though.
Brady Clark - Go. Gone.
Marlon Anderson - Go. Fell apart after his injury to his hamstring. Just not the same hitter. No way he was 100 percent, and it showed. Might be the best pinch-hitter on the team, but was anemic for most of this season.
Also: check out my Should they stay or should they go? [Pitchers] post.