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You Be The Judge

From NY's finest:

But Met officials departed the GM meetings confident that someone they like from the free-agent field will fall to them in this game of big-money musical chairs.

If all fails via free agency, the Mets talked to the Mariners about J.J. Putz, and believe Seattle eventually will make him available this offseason. However, Putz makes just $5 million in 2009 with a 2010 club option for $8.6 million or a $1 million buyout.

So that puts Putz into the affordable available closer category with Oakland's Huston Street, Florida's Kevin Gregg and perhaps even Jenks in the right package.

On the one hand, teams with no plans of being competitive have little use for shutdown closers. On the other, JJ's value is as low as it's been in three years. I'm all for making JJ available - everybody should be available, all the time - but if I'm the new front office, I don't go into trade negotiations looking to settle. I look for a big return, and if nothing comes along, I give JJ a chance to right himself next summer before exploring the market again near the deadline. While this team doesn't have a need for JJ right now, it also shouldn't be in any rush to see him go away for less than what he's worth.

If anything, this offseason should be about seeing how much you can get in return for guys with decent value who either won't be around long-term, or who risk having their values drop down the road. Jose Lopez. Jarrod Washburn. Yuniesky Betancourt. And, as much as it pains me to say, Adrian Beltre. Obviously I wouldn't want to deal Beltre if I thought this team might be able to win, but if we're committed to rebuilding, we won't have any real use for him in 2009, and he won't want to sign an extension. So you might as well test the waters. It's the right thing to do. You just have to hope that GMZ's as good a salesman as he is an evaluator of talent.

There are countless right ways for the new front office to handle this offseason, and there are countless wrong ways. All this waiting for the first shoe to drop is killing me.