Since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran for phenom pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, the team has lacked a true offensive juggernaut that can roam the spacious outfield in Citi Field.
This past season, Lucas Duda, Andres Torres, Mike Baxter, Jason Bay, Kirk Nieuwehuis and others combined to give the Mets little to no offensive output, and left the team less than enthralled with their options heading into 2013.
Reports surfacing since the Mets’ disappointing season came to an end seem to indicate that GM Sandy Alderson will be focused on retooling the team’s roster through the trade market rather than free agency.
The flashiest name currently fueling the hot stove is the Diamondbacks’ young outfielder Justin Upton.
Upton, who holds a career .278 batting average and provides a combination of power and speed, had a down season in 2012, leading some to believe the D-backs will consider trading him.
In order for the Mets to acquire someone like Upton, they would almost be forced to include Jon Niese — or someone of that ilk — in any prospective deal.
Though, the cost might be worth it. Upton would instantly give the Mets a new hitter to insert into the middle of their lineup, while also providing them with a young outfielder to add to their core of players.
However, losing Niese from their rotation would not be something taken lightly. Considering the team’s financial outlook, filling Niese’s spot in the rotation would not come through free agency and would likely be filled by someone like Mike Pelfrey.
If the asking price for Upton is too high and they can’t get their hands on him, there are other options for the Mets to consider.
One such name is free agent outfielder Juan Pierre. After signing with Philadelphia late last offseason, Pierre went on to hit .307 for the Phillies, while swiping 37 bases over 130 games.
Pierre particularly fits well with the Mets because of his likely cost. The outfielder would probably sign a short-term deal for a relativity low cost, while also giving the Mets a starting caliber centerfielder and bonafide leadoff hitter to spark their lineup.
Similarly to Pierre, the Mets could have interest in A’s outfielder Coco Crisp if he becomes available now that the Athletics have added Chris Young to their lineup.
Or perhaps the Mets and Alderson will surprise us all by going after an outfielder no one expects. But, that’s the awe of the offseason. Sometimes, the hot stove burns hotter than any of us can predict.