Why Aren’t The Mets Looking At Willingham And Balfour?
Sandy’s comments on Monday regarding the Mets organizational shift from buyers to sellers really pissed me off. I swear this guy doesn’t make any sense. I don’t get the whole buyer and seller thing. We should be builders and that includes both buying and selling. To be competitive we need to add players who fit this team and address some of the needs we currently have. Here is a look at two guys who could not only help us this season, but would be here for the 2013 season as well.
1. Josh Willingham
Willingham is suppossedly on the block. I’m not sure if he is being floated out there but Minnesota or from interested clubs. Either way if teams come calling the lowly Twins will undoubtedly be listening. What would it take to get a guy like Willingham and what does he bring to the table that we are currently lacking?
Contract: 3 years, $21 Million. $7 Million in 2013, $7 Million in 2014.
Pros: At $7 Million a season Willingham is extremely affordable and just what the Mets need. He provides right handed power, is gritty and is a quality run producer. He’s consistent as you can pencil in 25 homers and 80 RBI just about every season.
Cons: He’s a below-average defensive outfielder and has very little speed.
Cost: We would have to agree to take on all of the remaining dollars since the cash strapped Twins won’t be picking up an of it. He would also cost a decent package in return. The Twins need everything since their farm system is pretty bare. I could see them asking for some players as high as Familia or Cesar Puello, or I could see them asking for a package of lower level players to add depth to their system.
The Rub: Jason Bay’s contract gets in the way here, but if he continues to struggle could we see a waive coming next spring a la Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo? Willingham would be a great addition and could slot in the 5 spot or bat 6th depending on who is in the lineup. There is no way a guy like Duda should be in the way if we could acquire Willingham.
2. Grant Balfour
Grant has been linked as a possible bullpen addition for the Mets in recent weeks. He would be a big upgrade to a pen that has struggled mightily and could use a veteran to help stabilize the back end. But what would a guy like this cost and is this something we could pull off?
Balfour is in the midst of yet another solid season pitching in the back end of the bullpen for the Oakland A’s. Right now the A’s are in contention and may not be looking to sell. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t if they get offered some young promising player in return for the veteran. Oakland may be in the running for the Wild Card but they should have no delusions of beating Anaheim, Texas or the Yankees to reach the World Series should they get in.
Contract: 2-years $8.1 million. $4 million in 2012, $4 million club option in 2013.
Pros: Experienced veteran reliever who has closers experience. He has been a steady quality reliever since joining the Rays bullpen in 2007. Best suited in a middle relief or setup role.
Cons: No real success as a closer, 17 saves versus 16 blown saves.
Cost: Should come at a lower cost then other relievers on the market since he probably won’t be closing games. Should only cost a B-level and maybe a C-level prospect or 2. I could see players such as Domingo Tapia or Jefrey Marte headlining a small package that would go back to Oakland in a deal for Balfour.
The Rub: Balfour could be had for the right price and at $ 4 million for next season he is a bargain for a quality right hander power arm in the back of your bullpen. Rauch is making $3.5 Million this season but comes off the books at years end, Balfour could just replace Rauch in 2013 as a much better option.
Either of these players would be a great addition to the 2012 version of the Mets, and still be here for 2013. I just wish Sandy was thinking the same thing,
About the Author: Dan Valis
I am a staff writer for Mets Merized Online. I am a Mets team analyst with a focus on the minor league system, as well as the major league club. I am a lifelong New Yorker who was born and raised to be a Mets fan. The ups and downs of being a Mets fan is what makes following this team so much fun, but at times so frustrating. You can follow me on Twitter @BgAppleMetsTalk.
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