The Mets may not even pretend to contend next year

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While all teams are constantly making changes and are trying to build a winner, the Mets haven’t declared a full-fledged rebuild — the kind where everyone of value is sold off and the process begins anew — for many, many years.  But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that’s on the table this winter.

After commenting on Sandy Alderson’s comments regarding a potential $100-110 million payroll for 2012, Sherman says that at least some on the organization believe that even more drastic measures are needed:

And actually for the first time this week, a top Mets official said to me what none had been willing to before, either for the record or for background: That one serious discussion being had at the upper reaches of the franchise is whether it would be wise to cut back greatly next year and make 2012 a rebuilding season in which club officials do not go through the annual game of trying to convince fans, if everything breaks right, they can be a playoff team.

Given where Alderson is on the record, that implies that this scenario would mean less than that $100-110 million idea.  Although even with that said, it doesn’t sound like a scorched earth rebuild, as Sherman mentions the possibility of the Mets jumping back into the free agent pool following the 2012 season. Maybe it’s just semantics: we’re not going to give lip service to the idea of contending, even if we don’t cut things back to, say, $80 million.

Whatever they do, I think they have the right general manager to handle a rebuild, be it major or moderate, so this kind of talk shouldn’t be nearly as worrisome as it might have been a couple of years ago.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.