2014 Mets’ Offseason: A Realistic Free Agent Shopping List?

Belated congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on their 2013 World Series victory. It was a well-deserved win by a group of guys who “know how to play the game,” “do it the right way,” and “have a team-first attitude.” Hoary clichés now dispensed with, the real reason was the usual suspects: great pitching, stout defense – those two go hand-in-hand, really – and timely hitting. Oh, and David Ortiz losing his mind at the plate. Mix ‘em all up and you have a tasty Championship cocktail.

Besides winning it all, though, the Sawx caught the attention of the baseball world for another couple of reasons: they were one of the few teams in history to take the worst-to-first route to the title, and their method of handling that road was to avoid the splashy, big-time free agent signing – the Josh Hamilton s of the world – and concentrate instead on the so-called mid-level player. Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster and Stephen Drew all signed reasonable, fairly team-friendly deals in the offseason and all were major contributors to Boston’s post-season success. choo_2013-topps-heritage-580x812The 29 teams that make up rest of MLB – which, let’s face it, does include the Mets – have taken notice and are cooking up plans to emulate the Sox’s model.

As this is being written, 2014 free agency is a little more than twelve hours old. Already there is speculation out there about who the Mets will come away with. There’s really very little consensus around who will end up in Queens – at this point, it’s little more than a guessing game, of course – but this all makes for fine kindling for the nascent Hot Stove. This morning, Mark Simon – ESPN New York’s stat-maven and leading Metsophile – posted a Top 10 list which takes a fairly realistic look at who the Mets are probably targeting. There aren’t many eyebrow raisers here; most of the names have been bandied about since the trees started to bud in April. Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Bronson Arroyo make repeated appearances on the wish lists of many a Mets blogger, including your intrepid columnist. Most fans would most certainly welcome a return appearance by Marlon Byrd, though preferably not as the starting right fielder. Stephen Drew is also a familiar name, off his World Series performance. He did just receive a $14 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox – as have most of the other targets – so it remains to be seen if that number is too much for Sandy Alderson’s appetite. Of course, the Mets won’t sign all ten players on this list – signing both Jhonny Peralta and Drew, for example would of course be redundant – but all-in-all, so far, Simon’s looks like the safest bet to reach fruition.

Now let’s see if the front office has the stomach to play this kind of game.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

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28 comments for “2014 Mets’ Offseason: A Realistic Free Agent Shopping List?

  1. Les Gomez
    November 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Sign Curtis Granderson, Bronson Arroyo, and Roy Halladay.

    Re-sign Aaron Harang and LaTroy Hawkins.

    Trade Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, and Jordany Valdespin to the Rockies for Michael Cuddyer.

    Trade Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero and Lucas Duda to the Rangers for Jurickson Profar.

    Leave Ike at 1B, use EY at 2B.

    • Chris F
      November 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Sorry, I would never give up Murph and Flores for 1 year of Cuddyer, a year we have no chance of winning. Im with you on Grandy. He would be my target in the qualifying offer FA class. I think he’s moveable and a change of scenery across town is just the ticket. His spray chart would take advantage of the right field corner dimension for HRs. Sure its not Yankee, but he will pop 25 out.
      I trade Ike for anyone who will take him, for almost anyone in return. His stick is so low we will only a change of scenery deal is my guess.

    • AV
      November 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      That’s not enough for Profar; Texas is going to get better offers for him. That deal might work for Andrus but the Mets would have to be willing to pick up that entire salary. I don’t see that happening.

    • Yazzy
      November 11, 2013 at 6:48 am

      The Mets do not have that much money to spend and they have lots of holes to fill so Sandy has no choice but to shop prudently. I would sign and I mean right away Corey Hart for right field and also sign Marlon Byrd too. We could have Byrd, Sizemore, Lagares, Young, Jr, DenDecker as our outfield alliance, Corey Hart was a very consistent power hitter so even if he spends time at 1st and RF it would be a wise signing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, forget Grandy and sign Grady Sizemore for left field as he will be a bargain compared to Granderson and would not cost us a draft pick. Eric Young, Jr becomes a super sub and he has to learn to cover shortstop too. He should be able to do that and do it with some fielding finesse. I would sign Furcal because the Mets do not have much money to sign other shortstops so lets be real. Furcal with Young, Jr. covering SS and other positions. if Tovar continues to develop bring him up when he becomes a more accomplished hitter (hopefully that will happen soon). 1st base should be Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda’s position to split and we keep Josh Satin along with Hart to backup 1st and Josh covers third too. I am against trading Daniel Murphy as he has become a decent 2nd baseman, and hit in a lineup that only had two other good hitters, Wright and Byrd. I just don’t see Flores with enough speed or mobility to be able to cover 2nd base well. He was comfortable at 3rd so 1st should be easier for him to handle, and his hitting will continue to develop. The line up could be: Young, Jr. or Furcal batting leadoff, Daniel Murphy- Wilmer Flores or Lucas Duda-Grady Sizemore-David Wright-Corey Hart or Byrd-Lagares or Den Decker-d’Arnuad of Centeno. One thing we’ve got to do is ensure we hold on to Kevin Plawecki as the boy can hit, frames the ball well, and is basically a Jerry Grote type of catcher who does not get injured but has to work on his throwing to 2nd. Plawecki is durable and d”arnaud is not. I’d much rather trade d’Arnaud than Plawecki. Plawecki is a bring it on type of catcher like the Molina bros. and you’ve got to respect that.

  2. Jon
    November 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    IMO, way too much attention is given to the “type” and even the cost of the players the Red Sox imported, and not enough to the good fortune of their relative health. Other than Hanrahan and Bailey, they had almost no big injuries, even though the roster was larded with injury-prone guys. When the big time columnists demand the Mets “follow the blueprint of [insert successful club]” they often mean, be as lucky wrt injuries as they were. I don’t think there’s anything to learn from the Red Sox beyond that, other than, great move to get Uehara.

    • Name
      November 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      They lost Buchholz for a significant amount of time.

      My take on their success is the bounceback of the trio of SP of Lackey/Buchholz/Lester.
      Buchholz went from a 4.5ish ERA last year to 1.7ish ERA, although there were accusations of cheating.
      Lester ERA also dropped a run lower from 4.82 to 3.75.
      Lackey was the biggest surprise as he missed all of last year due to injury and was TERRBIBLE in 10-11 and somehow posted a 3.52 ERA.

      Their lackluster options in the 4th and 5th spot of Dempster/Doubront were offset by the incredible back of the bullpen of Uehara/Tazawa/Breslow.

  3. Chris F
    November 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    The fact we are after Furcal as our hot effort to land a shortstop says all we need to know.

    Indeed, it will be another “Winter of Our Discontent”

    • steevy
      November 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      If all he gets is retreads and bargain basement reclamation projects,I am seriously done caring.Strike one was resigning the useless Terry Collins,this would be strikes two and three and I’d be out.

    • November 6, 2013 at 12:58 am

      I would rather see them sign Peralta given the choice.

    • November 6, 2013 at 1:00 am

      One or two reports do not mean the Mets are seriously going to go after Furcal. I hope the Mets aren’t really considering Furcal. Of course these are the Mets and it would be a relatively inexpensive gamble…. So who knows….

  4. Robby
    November 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Realistically not every hole is going to get filled with the best player available. I still like the idea of Kemp and maybe a free agent (Choo or Ellsbury)Furcal may still be able to be productive.

  5. November 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I can’t see Beltran coming back especially now that the Cards offered him arbitration. He either sticks with the Cards for 14.1 million or goes to an American League team willing to lose a draft pick.

  6. Jim OMalley
    November 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Just saw the report on Furcal (So everybody gotta take a deep breat. We gotta start somewhere. I know I had to take a deep breath there). Two things about the Sox: 1) they already had a sizable group of Star-Caliber players when they engaged int their purchasing model, and 2) they first thing they did was ditch the Manager who didn’t motivate the team and acquire a manager the players, the fans, and the upper management could believe in.

    I read that the Brewers have a little excess in Outfielders. Anyone like Kris Davis?

    • TexasGusCC
      November 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Nope

    • Name
      November 5, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      I’d love to have any of the Brewer OF options not named Braun or Schafer. However, i’m betting if that they trade someone, it would be Aoki and not the Davis or Gindl who they control for the next 6 years.
      Not sure if the Brewers like any of their 1b options (Francisco or Halton), but I wonder if they would do Davis + cash + minor league prospect(depending on how many cash they want) for Aoki.

  7. Scott Ferguson
    November 5, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I wouldn’t touch Granderson. 20 to 25 HR’s isn’t worth his 235 avg and 180 SO. Davis or Duda do enough of that. He’s also 33 and could decline fast a la Jason Bay. The most I’d give up for Cuddyer is Ike and one or two low level prospects. I do like the idea of Cuddyer though.

  8. November 6, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Arroyo makes no sense. Doesn’t matter if he pitches 200 innings. What matters is his 10-12 million dollar salary. My wish list would be to sign Choo for 4 years(5 if necessary) at 15 million. Sign Ellsbury for 5 years at 20-22 million. Trade Murphy,Davis and Lagares for Cargo. Sign Peralta for 10 million for 3 years. Sign a Dice-K type to a million dollar salary but add incentives for wins and innings pitched. Re-sign Hawkins(1-1.5 million) and take the best 6 relievers from spring training. Young and Flores share playing time at second base. Young can be your 4th outfielder as well. Duda and Satin platoon at first. Parnell is your closer at about 3 million. Feasible? Yes? Payroll total comes out to 95-97 million (can always back load any contract). Chances this will happen? Not in our life time. Outfield 46 million, infield 33 million, pen 7 million, catching 1 million, SP (5) 8 million, 4 reserves 2 million.

  9. footballhead
    November 6, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I’m sorry; none of the ‘name’ free agents out their excites me…..instead, they bring to mind shades of ‘BAY’ and other high name signing fiascos. The only item I would pursue is for SS, and then go after Byrd for a couple years or other scrap-heap names. Please don’t sign ANY name pitching. I’d rather mix and match with Dice-K and Harang again + Gee, Wheeler, Niese, + a youngster like Montero. Thor will be arriving in the summer as well. Let Duda & Davis fight it out at spring training….winner stays, loser goes. Put Collins on a shorter leash regarding keeping a player like Davis hanging around clogging up the lineup below the Mendoza line. In my humble opinion, having Collins coming back just shows that throwing $$ at free agents will just be an exercise in futility. The man can’t manage a bullpen either.

  10. Scott Ferguson
    November 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

    If Khris Davis is available, I’d take him in a heart beat. I wouldn’t deal for Aoki. We need power, not an Ichiro type hitter.

  11. Chris F
    November 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

    All interesting comments, interesting indeed. It’s what keeps the shine on baseball through the dark season. My take on reading these is simple: the sheer amount of work Alderson has to do is troubling. Build some sort of club for the next couple years (short contracts) to either look respectable or pretend to be competitive? Hire the right FAs and trade for longer term contracts and get guys in place for after the full arrivals of Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergard etc. do we need some more vets with postseason experience to help shape a group of kids? With so little consensus, it’s obvious the club is still in turbulent flight.

  12. Metsense
    November 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

    A realistic shopping list? $30M only goes so far. If Murphy and Davis can be traded then add another $9M and non tender Atchison and Quint for another $2M which makes $41M.
    A primary impact OF for $18M, a SS for $10M and your other OF for $13 M. That leaves zero for pitching.
    We all know the players available. Mix and match player to salary. Sandy has a daunting but achievable task.
    IMO it doesn’t include Arroyo. Furcal is only a last resort.

  13. Dan Kolton
    November 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Even though the Mets should spend money, they need to be cautious because they do not want to make an A-Rod deal and regret it. Plus, they will then get scared into signing big names again and us fans will have to wait for another GM to step in and sign us a couple big name players.

  14. November 7, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I’m sure if Collins had his way Davis would’ve been sent to Las Vegas much sooner. He’s just a puppet doing whatever his masters tell him to do. Scott why would Baltimore trade Davis after he finally had a break out season? What makes you think he’s available?It’s like Rosenthals’ report on why the Tigers trading Scherzer to the Nat’s makes sense for both teams. Sometimes reporters have too much time on their hands and try their hand at fantasy baseball.

  15. November 7, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Dan if the Mets have another cautious year there wont be any fans left at Citifield for management to worry about.

  16. Reid
    November 7, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I think it was on SI where a discussion was taking place regarding the contemporary understanding of ‘power’ to be where the biggest contracts are going because of the current state of excitement regarding the long ball. Yes, the commercials were funny – chicks dig the longball, but in reality, there is something incredibly enjoyable about watching people get on base, the stolen base, a single and a play at the plate. I don’t know how many games I’ve been to where the line would look like 3 3 0 and two of the hits were homeruns because there were fourteen strikeouts trying to hit homeruns. Call me crazy (or old) but the final scene of Major League was even more exciting because it was a walk-off bunt. Anyway, the Mets can be so much better by playing ‘Moneyball’ with a purpose. Sign hitters like Choo (if the price is right) trade of either of the Texas shortstops; if it takes either Wheeler or Thor it’s a sacrifice we have to start making. Yes, pitching wins championships, but exciting games win fans’ hearts. Twelve hits per game; three stolen bases; good defense and nice pitching help us to forget that no matter how many pitchers we have, every day cannot be Harvey day. Trade d’Arnaud for some excellent up the middle hitting and defense. It sounds as if Plawecki is the real deal.

  17. November 7, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Reid you do realize that Andrus has an 8 year 125 million dollar albatross contract around the Rangers neck and you want to take on THAT contract and give them Wheeler as well? The Rangers are in a bind with Jurickson needing his natural position to play(shortstop) and Andrus stuck at short. Exciting games where the Mets have 12 hits but the opposing team has 20. Wouldn’t you say when Dwight Gooden was pitching fans came out to see how many strikeouts he would get?

  18. November 11, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Yazzy the Mets finished bottom 10 so their draft pick is protected regardless if they sign a free agent who was tendered. I still would not sign Granderson. Your infatuation with Hart is frightening. Almost seems like you’re a relative of his. he had micro surgery on his knee in June 2012 and has not played competitive baseball in 2 years. On a side note he is looking for a multi-year contract having not played for 2 years. Amazing.

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