If you listen to people around the baseball world there is a general consensus. The Mets could be contenders in 2015 and all it will take is money. Sure, Sandy Alderson could get creative. He could trade some of the young talent and find ways of improving the anemic offense without spending money, but why should he? Why not keep hold of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, Dillon Gee and Steven Matz? Why risk depleting the impressive depth of pitching when there is no need to?
The Mets can fill their two greatest needs through free agency and enter 2015 with a legitimate chance of being major playoff contenders. All it will take is money, but how much?
Hanley Ramirez – Not everybody loves Ramirez. He’s not the greatest clubhouse guy and he’s not necessarily the greatest fielding shortstop any longer. He is the most potent hitting shortstop the Mets could acquire and they could conceivably hit Ramirez 3rd in their order. Ramirez will cost some money as teams like the Yankees will be among those bidding on his services but with other options on the table anything is possible.
J.J. Hardy – Hardy has become one of the most consistent hitting shortstops in baseball. Part of his numbers being so good is likely his playing in Camden where home runs will fly more freely than Citi Field, but his hitting talent is real. He, like Ramirez will be in high demand, but the Mets could well land him.
Asdrubal Cabrera – Is a slightly younger option who has had a few down years of late. These down years blow Ruben Tejada out of the water. Cabrera is currently on a squad who could go deep into the playoffs and he could opt to return to Washington after the year, but he remains someone that Alderson may and should pursue.
Nick Markakis – Markakis is not a superstar, but he does extend the lineup significantly. He’s also one of the more consistent hitters available and not a player who is entirely reliant on speed or power for his game. I think of him like a Daniel Murphy bat in the outfield who actually plays plus defense in right field. He’s probably the guy I’d be most excited about the Mets getting.
Michael Cuddyer – He’s older and therefore riskier, but he’s a solid fit if he’s healthy. He can slot into left field and provide another nice middle of the order bat for the manager (hopefully not Terry Collins) to play with. Ideally he’d come on a two or even a one year deal.
Nelson Cruz – As much as he made sense for 2014, he does not make sense for 2015. Cruz will be getting a pay-day and is not an ideal hitter for Citi-Field. His name will be bounced around, but I think money would be better spent elsewhere.
Is it so impossible to think that the Mets could spend the $20-30 Million per season to bring on two impact players like the ones I’ve listed above? It shouldn’t be. This is New York and the Mets should be able to spend amongst the top 5 teams in baseball without blinking an eye. If the Mets could nab Ramirez and Markakis or Hardy and Cuddyer, they would instantly have a team who could go toe-to-toe with most National League foes. The time to spend is now.