With a budget that will reportedly rest just above $100 million, Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson will be limited in the Free Agent options he will be able to secure – especially if the Mets retain Jose Reyes and add his inevitable chunk of change to their payroll.
That leaves trading assets as the most likely scenario Alderson will pursue when the winter months come around.
The Mets will be looking to plug holes in the bullpen, rotation, bench and possibly the outfield as they look to strengthen their roster for 2012 and beyond.
Rumors have been circulating that the Mets have privately discussed the possibility of trading current third-base man David Wright in an effort to gain pieces and utilize their most attractive trade chip.
However, this plan has been criticized for a multitude of reasons. For one, Wright is the cornerstone of the franchise and his departure, coupled with the possibility of Reyes leaving, would be devastating for the morale of the team. Also, Wright’s declining numbers over the past two years have left him with the least amount of trade value he has ever had. The Mets would be foolish to trade a player such as Wright at a time when his value is at its lowest.
Assuming the Mets do the right thing and keep Wright (an extremely likely scenario) the Mets will be left with trading players on the periphery of the roster.
Some intriguing names on the major league roster that could be interesting to other teams include: Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell and a few younger names that could be helpful in packaging a larger trade together.
Pelfrey is an option that could go one of two ways. While the hurler doesn’t have the value he did after his 2010 season—where he went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA—Pelfrey is still a young arm with a manageable contract that teams might find enticing. If the right offer creeps up, the Mets would likely jump at the chance to trade him. However, the most likely outcome will be the Mets retaining Big Pelf and hoping he returns to form. If he does, the Mets might be able to unload him to a contender at the trade deadline.
Parnell is similar to Pelfrey in that his biggest attraction to other clubs will be his age and live arm. Parnell’s ability to chuck a fastball in the triple digits will keep his potential high, however his disastrous display as the Mets’ closer last season certainly did not inspire confidence in his ability around the league.
Players like Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada all carry various levels of trade value and could be used in a trade if the Mets believe it would be prudent to do so.
Angel Pagan, who before last season could have netted the Mets a lump sum, has diminished any value he once had after his incredibly mediocre 2011 campaign.
Overall, the Mets don’t have too much to work with talent-wise, and that isn’t taking into consideration the Mets financial constraints. Alderson will have to be creative with the way he handles the offseason. The general expectation is that much of the roster will be similar to this year’s group, but some feel a surprise trade may occur and shake things up a bit.