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.
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.
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).
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.
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.