The Mets can spend this offseason.
That has been the overall message conveyed for the past several months, however will they spend and to what degree remains the begging question.
The “Red Sox Model” has been mentioned a great deal, meaning the Amazin’s would avoid the top-tier free agents, instead finding the Shane Victorinos and Mike Napolis on the market and signing them to lesser deals. Staying true to the theme of this mid-level shopping method, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors listed Curtis Granderson, Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo and Roy Halladay among those headed to Flushing in his pre-winter predictions; all possibilities.
Those of a more optimistic and perhaps unrealistic nature float names such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo around. New York has been reported to have significant interest in the latter of those two, although as has been a consistent theme for the Aldersonian era of Mets baseball, the price tag is likely too rich for their orange-and-blue blood.
Then there are those in the mindset of MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, who in responding to a question for his regular Mets Inbox segment, lists David Murphy, Nate McLouth or even Carlos Beltran as the type of players that fans should come to expect to see considered this offseason, although Beltran would command a substantially larger contract.
But whether it’s Ellsbury or McLouth, Adam Wainwright or Jason Hammel; anything is better than the bargain-bin raiding we have witnessed out of Sandy Alderson and the Mets over the past three winters.
The plan called for severe cutting of payroll while replenishing the farm system. That is understandable; rebuild, reload and in the meantime get by with the most cost-effective free agents until the Zack Wheelers and Wilmer Flores‘ are ready to make an impact.
Now that the youth movement is in full swing, the time has come for the acquisition of some real, substantial talent; not a D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Cedeno, or Collin Cowgill, but actual major league players with the capability of being difference-makers.
The front office did a nice job bringing in LaTroy Hawkins and catching lightning in a bottle with Marlon Byrd last season, but if this team is legitimately looking to contend, there needs to be more than one or two solid pick-ups.
In the winter of 2011, super-agent Scott Boras stated that the Mets are typically in the “steak section” however are now found in the “fruits and nuts category” in reference to their offseason spending habits. The Amazin’s remain far from the ‘steak section’, but that doesn’t mean they are picking through pistachios either.
The Mets have the money to spend significantly, and if they are looking to put their long-followed plan into action, the time to spend is now. Whether that means a top-flight free agent or a lesser-known name; anything beats the stopgap, bargain bin, fruits-and-nuts acquisitions that have entered the mix since the rebuilding process began on October 29th, 2010.