NEW YORK -- Most of the players spent Wednesday morning milling about the clubhouse, packing boxes and finalizing flight plans. Some will not be back. Putting aside the speculation surrounding the team's premier free agent, Jose Reyes, several other players of note are impending free agents.
Starter Chris Capuano, who signed an incentive-laden contract last winter, is optimistic that he can re-sign with the Mets. Though money will understandably be a significant factor, the 31-year-old admits that his priorities have changed as his career has progressed.
"As you get older, you start to make decisions much more based on what's best for your family or what's best for you personally," Capuano said. "In spite of obviously being disappointed that we couldn't achieve our team goal, this has still been the most fun I've ever had in any season."
In a similar situation is reliever Jason Isringhausen, who spent the season on a Minor League contract following his third career Tommy John surgery. Isringhausen has expressed a desire to continue playing next season at age 39, whether in New York or not.
The other free agents are primarily bench players, including catcher Ronny Paulino and outfielders Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, as well as reliever Ryota Igarashi. Igarashi, who signed a two-year contract prior to the 2010 season, admits that his lack of success in the big leagues -- a 5.74 ERA over 79 appearances -- may make it difficult for him to return.
"I don't think a good offer would come up here," Igarashi said.
Pagan to use offseason productively
NEW YORK -- A disappointing season is about to turn into an optimistic offseason for outfielder Angel Pagan, who plans to work with a private batting instructor to improve his offensive game for next season.
Pagan is weighing opportunities in both the Dominican Republic and the U.S. -- he has offers to train with Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford in Houston, and under Manny Ramirez's former instructor in the D.R. -- as he attempts to reclaim his batting stroke from a year ago. One year after hitting .290 with a .765 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in his first full season in the big leagues, Pagan battled injuries to hit merely .262 with a .694 OPS in 2011.
"He tried to live up to what he did last year by trying to do more," manager Terry Collins said. "In his mind he felt he had to be a run-producing kind of guy."
Pagan believes the problem can be solved with a winter spent training under professional tutelage.
"Many of the elite players, they have somebody," Pagan said. "And that's what I want to do. I want to prepare like an elite player."
Groundskeeper Pete Flynn, who has worked for the organization since helping the team build ticket booths at the Polo Grounds in 1962, threw out Wednesday's ceremonial first pitch. Flynn is retiring after Wednesday's game.
Jason Bay, who entered Tuesday's game as a pinch-runner, was not in Wednesday's starting lineup. Battling a sinus infection, Bay has not started since Sept. 18.