One of the initial challenges that Sandy Alderson will face as the news Mets GM will involve the decision to either hold tight with the talent the Mets have or break up the core of players and basically start fresh.

Right now, the Mets core centers around David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana. They have a solid supporting cast which includes Angel Pagan, Ike Davis, Mike Pelfrey and a healthy Jason Bay.

If someone unfamiliar with the streaky performances of these core players were to look at this team, that person would think that the Mets are very talented. The thing is, that person would be correct. However, the lack of success over the past few seasons has dealt more with the inconsistency and injury troubles of these players.

When healthy and performing up to their potential, Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Santana rank among the top players in the game easily. But can this team sit tight and wait for all these players to perform at their optimal level?

The Mets just exercised the option on Reyes, but that doesn’t mean he will be here come the start of the season. If the right deal comes along, Sandy may be inclined to pull the trigger.

Same goes for Wright and Beltran. Santana will most likely start the year on the DL, and he has proven that when healthy, he’s still a top of the rotation threat.

As a Met fan, I am an eternal optimist. Every year I think that it will be “the year” for the Mets. They always seem to have a talented team but have trouble meshing on all cylinders to compete for a playoff berth.

From watching this team, I have seen the full potential of the core players. Reyes is one of the most dynamic athletes in the game, and Wright has the tools to be the perennial NL All-Star third baseman. When healthy, Beltran possesses the rare combination of speed and power, and Santana still baffles hitters with his nasty change-up.

I hope the Mets retain all of these players for the 2011 campaign. They make up a good core of players that can thrive with the right supporting cast. Of them, I am the most torn on Beltran, but since he only has one year left on his contract, I’m starting to think that maybe waiting him out might be the best option.

The problem with last year was that the players who were supposed to be the supporting cast like Pagan, Davis and Pelfrey were forced to serve as the core players due to the inconsistencies and injuries of the core.

With all these players performing well and with some sort of consistency, there’s no doubt that this is a talented team.

Look back at the 2006 team that came up just short of a World Series berth. Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and David Wright made up the core while players like Pedro Martinez, Paul LoDuca, Billy Wagner and Cliff Floyd among others provided a stellar supporting cast.

Though the current Mets club may not have the talent of the ’06 club, they do have the pieces to compete for the divisional title or at least the NL wild card.

The core players will determine what type of season the Mets will have. Maybe some new leadership will instill a sense of consistency into these players en route to a successful season.

So keep the core together Sandy, add some supporting players (a starting pitcher, some bullpen help and maybe a bat or two) and get this team back on the right track.

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