Last night when the clock struck midnight, the following players became free agents and will most likely not be back. They include Scott Hairston, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Ronny Cedeno, Kelly Shoppach, Tim Byrdak and Chris Young.
Yesterday, a club source told Mike Puma of the NY Post that Hairston was the one free agent the Mets most want to keep, but that the veteran outfielder is coming off a career season (20 homers and 57 RBIs) and figures to command a huge raise from the $1.1 million he received in 2012.
With the Mets inclined to keep payroll around $100 million for 2013, they have little wiggle room and no more than $10 million, if that to add new players.
The tough part about losing Hairston is that he was the team’s top producer in an outfield that was the least productive in the major leagues last season. They were already woeful with Hairston and it would be hard to imagine losing over one third of what little production they already had.