Targeting possible cheap free agent options for the Mets

While, of course, the main objective for the Mets this offseason is resigning Jose Reyes, there are other avenues that Sandy Alderson will look to improve the Mets for the 2012 season.

Alderson has an allotment of money to spend and most of it is earmarked for Reyes. If Reyes decides to skip town, Alderson will have some tough decisions to make and how to spend his money.

Do the Mets even remotely consider signing the likes of break-the-bank (or at least bend-the-bank) free agents like Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez, Edwin Jackson, C. J. Wilson or CC Sabathia (if he opts out)?

There is a better chance that Oliver Perez returns to the rotation, than for Alderson to spend his money on those big-name contracts.

Expect Alderson to once again judicially spend his money. So even if Reyes bolts, Alderson will likely continue to look to the scrap heap and get high-upside players with manageable contracts.

Looking at the makeup of the Mets, you’d have to believe that the Mets will bypass on picking up any catchers, first basemen or third basemen. It’s logical to assume that the Mets will scour the market for outfielders and obviously pitchers. Second base could become an option if Reyes is not resigned, as Ruben Tejada would slide over to short, thus perhaps opening a need at second base.

So, here is a breakdown of the positions the Mets could target in free agency and who they might they look to.

Second Base:
Assessing second base is all contingent on what Reyes ultimately decides to do. If Reyes stays, this position will not be addressed, as Tejada will certainly start at second. If not, Tejada will go to short. That leaves Justin Turner as perhaps the only internal option. While he had his moments, is Turner really an everyday second baseman you’re comfortable with? There is also a chance that the Mets will turn to Reese Havens and give him a shot to win the job in the spring.

If Tejada does end up playing short, the Mets may want a versatile sure-handed vet to count on at second. Potential cheap options may include: Orlando Cabrera, Mark Ellis, Adam Kennedy or maybe even Omar Infante.

All of these players certainly have their limitations, but they do offer experience. These guys won’t put butts in seats, but they can contribute.

This is where it gets tricky.

Let’s assume that Jason Bay and Angel Pagan will be back. Ideally the Mets would also like to not have Lucas Duda play right field, so a trade may occur. But between injury concerns, inconsistency and ineffectiveness the outfield should be upgraded-either offensively or defensively-or both.

A couple of free agents that have been tossed out there include, but not limited to: Rick Ankiel, Coco Crisp, Juan Rivera and David DeJesus.

Essentially, the Mets would like to bring in a fourth outfielder with the chance that he could become a starter.

Crisp is likely going to start wherever he goes, so unless the Mets dump Pagan, he’s not likely to call Citi Field home. However, while the other three have had their moments , they could be signed as reserves.

Particularly intriguing is the case of Ankiel. How cool would it be to see him roaming Citi Field? His defense is second to none, and he could be tailor made for Citi Field (even with new dimensions).

Also, often overlooked is the fact that Willie Harris and Scott Hairston had decent years and could easily be brought back cheap. Thus, lessening the need to spend any more on outfield talent.

The Mets need to get as many good pitchers as they can get their hands on. They should sign at least one pitcher with the idea he’ll be looked at as a starter entering the 2012 season.

Some decent options out there include Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez, Hiroki Kuroda and Joel Pineiro. However, each comes with some question marks and they likely won’t produce too much bang for the buck.

Maybe this is the year Jon Garland finally comes on board. If not Garland, other secondary options may include Aaron Harang, Rich Harden, Paul Maholm, Brad Penny and Staten Island’s own Jason Marquis.

As for relief pitchers, the Mets surely could use a solid closer. Options to peruse over may include: Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps, and Frank Francisco. What about if the Mets look down the turnpike and inquire about Brad Lidge (who has an option) or Ryan Madson?

It’s doubtful that Alderson will go the expensive route and kick the tires with Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jose Valverde, considering the price tag attached with their names. Ditto with the possible reunion with Francisco Rodriguez.

Other enticing names to mull over are Joel Zumaya, Mike Gonzalez, Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney and Kerry Wood.

The Mets definitely need an infusion of new relief pitchers, as the relief corps as presently constituted will not cut it. The Mets desperately need some help here.

In conclusion, Alderson and the Mets have their work cut out for them. But, the team does need a dose of new blood. The next few months should be interesting on how the team is shaped before the team heads to Port St. Lucie.

17 comments for “Targeting possible cheap free agent options for the Mets

  1. Ron Davis
    October 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Sometimes your find a guy like Capuano or Brydak on the discount rack other times you end up with guys like D J Car Crashco. so you are going to be cheap its a risk thing . But how long will the Mets shop at the 5 and dime instead of Bloomingdales and Needless Markup . lol

  2. Mike Mulligan
    October 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Matt Capps, Omar Infante and DeJesus please!

  3. Hehehehepunk4
    October 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I’d like to see Wright move to left field, Bay move to center field (in the meantime before a prospect or free agent can replace him), Murphy play third base, Duda in right field, Tejada at second full time.

    SS Reyes
    3B Murphy
    LF Wright
    1B Davis
    CF Bay
    RF Duda
    2B Tejada
    C Thole
    P Santana

    I think that’s the best way to maximize what we have. Bay is going to be play the year at center field and if he’s bad – defensively and offensively – we should part ways with him. I don’t think Murphy can play anywhere besides third base and if we can’t find a place for him, then we should trade him (in a package for someone else). And to accommodate Murphy, Wright should move to left field and just stick with catching fly balls if people are going to criticize his throwing errors.

    • Dave
      October 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      That would be the worst outfield ever. Bay in center is scary and crap and Wright in LF is a terrible idea. Granted Murph is best suited at 3rd base but seeing Wright in the outfield sounds like a failed experiment kind of like Adam Dunn with the Nats and Chipper Jones.

      Parting ways with Bay is going to be really hard to do unless we get someone with the same kind of contract in return which is probably easier said than done. I would imagine Reyes is gone and Tejada takes over at SS which I’ve grown to accept.

    • Tony Q.
      October 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      how high r u putting Wright in left field!

  4. muhammad
    October 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    It is unexceptable for the Mets to have Josh Tole as the starting catcher next year. He doesn’t do anything well. Everything else you say is ok but I think Alderson should really address the catching situation.

  5. Steve
    October 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I completely disagree with your analysis of the Mets catching situation. I like Turner as an every day second baseman much better than Thole/Paulino as a catcher. And the Mets have absolutely no catching prospects in the system. Next to pitching, I think catching is the position in biggest need of upgrade for next year.

    • muhammad
      October 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      News Flash ! If the Mets resign Jose Reyes then Tejada will be the starting second baseman. I like Turner also especially because he was so good with runners in scoring position but the only way Turner is the starting second baseman is if Reyes leaves.

    • jeff
      October 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      i disagree with this guys analysis of the whole team. his take on the catching, second base and right field positions especially.

  6. James
    October 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Muhammad – It is okay to say that we need to address the catching situation, but with what? there really just isn’t anyplace to go for a catcher that is an upgrade over Thole. Hopefully Thole matures next year and makes it a better investment, but he is our catcher next year barring some sort of divine intervention.

    Davis – I think it will be a couple years before we are shopping in the big ticket stores right now unless Alderson sees a market where he thinks he can get a great deal on a player that makes him change that stance. Like it or not, to me next year is going to be another rebuilding year for this team and we need to go into the season with that expectation.

    The talent at the farm is making strides and this team is getting its house in order, I would much rather have sustained success this time around then buying my way into a 2006 scenario which then isn’t sustainable. I hope that is what Alderson will put together for us, and I hope that our fan base has the patience to let that happen.

  7. theinfluencer
    October 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Omar Infante has already ( long ago ) be resigned. Gotta do your research.

    • Dan Stack
      October 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      You’re right. My bad, I was checking Cot’s free agent page and saw Infante there. But now that you said it , I do remember him resigning. Just forgot.

  8. Mark V
    October 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Plenty of internal options for position players, let spring training sort them out. Evans, Satin,Valdespin, Baxter can play for contracts/time. No need to give guarantees to stopgaps/retreads. Just worry about the pitching

  9. jeff
    October 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    i dont understand why you would assume bay and pagan will be back and Duda wont be in right field…if anything Duda is a guarentee for rf and pagan is the guy least likely to return to the Mets. and if a good oppurtunity comes to trade bay alderson would take it.

  10. Dave
    October 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I completely disagree with the assessment of the position players here. Duda has earned his way into RF and his defense is much better than he gets credit for. Put Wright between Duda and Davis and watch them all light the place up. Infante already has a deal; Kennedy, Cabrera, Ellis at second? Just play Turner out there if those are your choices, he is young, a grinder, and hits with men on base. Besides, Reyes is staying…I hope. Rick Ankiel is interesting and he can probably play center at Citi, but none of those other players mentioned are worth the money it would take to sign them. Focus on pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Look for a catcher but don’t break the bank for it. Sign a hitter in the ouitfield and get rid of Pagan.

  11. October 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    If reyes leaves,
    2b-cabrera or infante
    of-Dejesus or crisp

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