The hot stove has been simmering for the Mets so far this offseason, as we have watched this off-season’s Free Agent class slowly be picked apart by hungry teams looking for an early present under the tree. However, the Mets have been quiet and seem to be waiting for the leftovers in the back of the fridge they can snag for a discounted price.
The likes of Jonathan Papelbon have signed mega-contracts and the new-lookin’ Miami Marlins have been flirting with every big-ticket free agent on the market. Meanwhile, the Mets have been quiet picking up players like Adam Loewen and other uninspiring names.
So what gives? When will the Mets wake up and start signing players?
The short answer is probably not too soon. The Mets and General Manager Sandy Alderson are currently in a holding pattern as the team decides how to proceed with the limited financial resources currently available to them.
If the Mets are serious about retaining Jose Reyes, which certainly seems to be the case, it means the team is preparing to allocate around $20 million per season to the shortstop, which obviously will take up a significant chunk of the already limited amount of money the team is able to spend this offseason.
Rumors suggest the Mets are looking into laying groundwork for a deal to obtain a closer at next week’s Winter Meetings. Recently, the team has been connected to Octavio Dotel, Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero and Frank Francisco – all of whom have former closing experience.
The generally accepted belief is that Alderson is hoping to snag two players and have them compete for the closers role, with the less impressive one taking over the 8th inning set-up duties.
In a post for MLB.com, Anthony DiComo said the Mets are “strong players” for Dotel, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, posting a 3.50 ERA in 54 innings while striking out 62 batters. The 38-year-old’s past closing experience and veteran presence makes perfect sense for the Mets, not to mention that his age allows the Mets to make a short term commitment to him as the team transitions towards the future.
Another pitcher the Mets have been connected to is Cordero, who would likely serve as the Mets primary closer if he signs with the team. Rumors suggest Cordero is looking for a two-year $16 million deal – which is about the maximum the Mets are willing to spend on a closer. Cordero pitched for the Reds last season and saved 37 games with a 2.45 ERA in 68 appearances.
Cordero, like Dotel, is up-there in age, however he fits the Mets’ desire for a player who would sign a short term contract and act as a stepping stone towards their future plans.
Both offer the team experienced late-inning relievers who could stabilize a Mets bullpen that was in shambles in the second half of last season.
While the Mets continue to search for bullpen relief, there are rumors swirling that the team might become active in the trade market.
Angel Pagan, whose poor 2011 season has left a bad taste in the front office’s mouth, is one player the Mets will explore trading this offseason, with the hopes of finding a team who will latch onto the player’s potential. If the team finds a deal that they think would make sense, it could be an option.
One fantasy-land trade that makes sense could be made with the Chicago White Sox. ESPN’s Buster Olney said on Twitter that the Sox have been trying to dump reliever Matt Thornton and his $12 million contract since July, and have interest in trading Jake Peavy’s $17 million contract as well. Some fans believe the Mets would be wise to try and trade Jason Bay and a prospect for the two pitchers. Crazy? Definitely. Possible? Perhaps.
While things might seem bleak, the Mets are obviously looking toward the future. While it might be a quiet offseason, take solace in the fact we wont be handing out long term contracts to players like Oliver Perez.