Look Ahead: Spending $ May Not Work

As every game still does count, its difficult to not think about the future of the Mets. I’m confident that Alderson is concentrating on the farm system enough, but I am soon looking to see what he can do to make the 2012 Mets a competitive team.

Don’t forget there is a CHANCE an extra wildcard team is added. This makes things pretty interesting (even though I’m not in favor of it happening).

I think when people think about all of the money cut from salary they assume that now the Mets can go shopping. However, we need to start learning from our mistakes. Building a successful baseball franchise is not about winning the back pages of NY newspapers.

When critics of Alderson’s claim he won’t spend money, what they really mean in my view is that he is refusing to spend money foolishly.

If you look at the 2012 Mets, what positions need help? Let’s assume that all is well in the world and Reyes stays with the Mets for a fair contract.

To do this, I am using Elias’ projected free agent rankings. This will tell you as of now who is most likely a Type A or Type B free agent should they hit the market. Keep in mind, players in arbitration would be listed here.

You know the Mets are fine at 1B, SS, 3B. Bay isn’t going anywhere so forget about LF. Those are your sure things in my view.

Second Base is really up to what they do with Murphy/Turner/Tejada, which could be a pretty big decision when you think about it.

Catcher, they have a warm body in Thole but is he a legitimate starting Catcher?

Center Field has Angel Pagan who I am honestly not 100% sold on the fact he will be back next year. He hasn’t been playing smart baseball, and last year you could excuse the mental lapses based on his success at the plate. Now, he’s having worse mental lapses but his bat as fallen into the depths of a 4th outfielder.

Right Field is iffy. I don’t mind the idea of Duda, but I am just not sold on him for 162 yet.

So in the field you have potentially 4 spots that you could go shop for.

In the rotation Niese, Gee, Dickey are back in 2012. Is Pelfrey? I have to tell you, I’m not too sure. I think most Mets fans are frustrated with him, and I can’t imagine the front office really loves the guy’s inconsistencies either. The thing is, who is out there that is better?

Capuano could come back I guess? I like Cappy for what he is, but he may not be back in 2012. As for Johan, when I see him pitch for over a month pain free then I will assume he’s a part of this team.

So really, the Mets likely need to fill 2 rotation spots.
In the bullpen you have Carrasco (sadly), Parnell, Beato and probably Acosta back for sure. Igarashi, Isringhausen, and Byrdak have expiring contracts. Realistically though, the Mets need bullpen arms so lets put their need at 4 arms.

That’s quite the shopping list. I think anybody with these grand expectations for a wonderful off-season need to tone it down quick.

I’m not going to assume any minor league hitter is coming up here to take a spot. Mike Nickeas is on this roster right now because there is just nobody else who is ready to step into a big league role.

So let us take a look at the players available via free agency at the possible “need” spots for the Mets.

A * is a player with an option for 2012. This list was taken from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and may not reflect SOME teams properly or extensions signed recently.

Rod Barajas LAD
Henry Blanco ARI
Ramon Castro CWS
Ryan Doumit PIT
Ramon Hernandez CIN
Jason Kendall KC
Gerald Laird STL
Jose Molina TOR
Yadier Molina STL *
Dioner Navarro LAD
Jorge Posada NYY
Ivan Rodriguez WAS
Brian Schneider PHI
Kelly Shoppach TB *
Chris Snyder PIT *
Matt Treanor KC
Jason Varitek BOS

See anybody you like there? I sure don’t. MAYBE Molina? But even still, is he worth potential draft picks or do I expect him to be available? No.

Second Base
Clint Barmes HOU
Willie Bloomquist ARI *
Orlando Cabrera CLE
Robinson Cano NYY *
Jamey Carroll LAD
Luis Castillo NYM
Alex Cora WAS
Craig Counsell MIL
Mark Ellis OAK
Jerry Hairston Jr. WAS
Aaron Hill TOR *
Omar Infante FLA
Joe Inglett HOU
Kelly Johnson ARI
Adam Kennedy SEA
Felipe Lopez TB
Jose Lopez FLA
Aaron Miles LAD
Brandon Phillips CIN *

For the fans of big free agent spending, its not looking good so far. You know Cano won’t be available, so scratch him. Who else do you like here? Phillips I am sure right? Mets fans love Phillips and Orlando Hudson! If Phillips’ option isn’t picked up he’s a 31 year old 2B. Is he worth losing 2 1st round draft picks when you have Turner/Tejada/Murphy? I don’t think so.

Bobby Abreu LAA *
Rick Ankiel WAS
Carlos Beltran NYM
Milton Bradley SEA
Pat Burrell SF
Mike Cameron BOS
Coco Crisp OAK
Michael Cuddyer MIN
Jack Cust SEA
Johnny Damon TB
David DeJesus OAK
J.D. Drew BOS
Jeff Francoeur KC *
Kosuke Fukudome CHC
Jonny Gomes CIN
Gabe Gross OAK
Vladimir Guerrero BAL
Carlos Guillen DET
Scott Hairston NYM
Willie Harris NYM
Raul Ibanez PHI
Conor Jackson OAK
Andruw Jones NYY
Austin Kearns CLE
Jason Kubel MIN
Ryan Ludwick SD
Hideki Matsui OAK
Nate McLouth ATL *
Jason Michaels HOU
Laynce Nix WAS
Magglio Ordonez DET
Juan Pierre CWS
Juan Rivera TOR
Cody Ross SF
Grady Sizemore CLE *
Matt Stairs WAS
Nick Swisher NYY *
Marcus Thames LAD
Josh Willingham OAK

Who do you like here? Obviously everybody loves the idea of Sizemore, but he has that option and he hasn’t exactly been the healthiest of players.

I kind of like Ludwick who is projected to be a Type B free agent right now, but he’s 33 and plays mostly LF.

I don’t mind the idea of David DeJesus who is also a Type B although he’s having a terrible year and is 31 years old. Maybe a guy like Rick Ankiel who doesn’t cost you any picks?

Ideally in CF, I want a more defensive type player in that big outfield of ours. In RF I’d prefer a power bat with a power arm if possible. There just doesn’t seem to be anybody out there does there?

So we’ve just basically struck out on position players via free agency.

What about starting pitchers?

Starting Pitchers
Mark Buehrle CWS
Chris Carpenter STL *
Bruce Chen KC
Aaron Cook COL *
Kyle Davies KC
Ryan Dempster CHC *
Justin Duchscherer OAK
Zach Duke ARI *
Jeff Francis KC
Freddy Garcia NYY
Jon Garland LAD *
Aaron Harang SD
Rich Harden OAK
Livan Hernandez WAS
Edwin Jackson CWS
Kenshin Kawakami ATL
Scott Kazmir LAA
Hiroki Kuroda LAD
Rodrigo Lopez CHC
Paul Maholm PIT
John Maine COL
Jason Marquis WAS
Kevin Millwood NYY
Scott Olsen PIT *
Roy Oswalt PHI *
Brad Penny DET
Oliver Perez NYM
Joel Pineiro LAA
CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out)
Carlos Silva NYY
Javier Vazquez FLA
Adam Wainwright STL *
Tim Wakefield BOS
Chien-Ming Wang WAS
Brandon Webb ARI
C.J. Wilson TEX
Chris Young NYM

There are a few names here that are at least intriguing are there not?

Type A Free Agents:  C.C. Sabathia (if he opts out), C.J. Wilson, Adam Wainwright

Are any of them going to be worth the draft pick price? Wainwright is intriguing if he proves to be healthy but I’m not too sure yet. Sabathia could opt out, but he wouldn’t be cheap. However, he’s a true ace. Wilson is overpriced in compensation if you ask me.

Type B Free Agents: Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda.

Kuroda not waving his no trade makes me wonder if he’s going to leave LA, besides he’s 36 years old. Buehrle is 32 years old and already declining, and Jackson is very inconsistent. However, Jackson is just 27 years old. So, he’s worth taking a look at for sure.

No Compensation: Javier Vazquez, Paul Maholm, Jon Garland, Aaron Harang.

Harang has an option, and went to San Diego to play near his home. Moving across the country will be one tough sell. The same can be said about Garland. Vazquez is a work horse but he isn’t getting any younger at 35. Maholm is somebody to look at for the bottom of the rotation. I don’t love the idea of any of these guys, but they are worth a kick of the tires.

So overall, not a lot of help out there for starting pitchers. A few players here and there, but realistically a bare market.

On to relievers!

Relief Pitchers
Danys Baez PHI
Miguel Batista STL
Matt Belisle COL
Heath Bell SD
Rafael Betancourt COL
Blaine Boyer
Jonathan Broxton LAD
Tim Byrdak NYM
Shawn Camp TOR
Matt Capps MIN
Todd Coffey WAS
Clay Condrey MIN
Francisco Cordero CIN *
Lance Cormier TB
Juan Cruz TB
Octavio Dotel TOR *
Kyle Farnsworth TB *
Randy Flores NYY
Frank Francisco TOR
Ryan Franklin STL
Jason Frasor TOR *
Chad Gaudin WAS
Mike Gonzalez BAL
John Grabow CHC
LaTroy Hawkins MIL
Brad Lidge PHI *
Scott Linebrink ATL
Javier Lopez SF
Ryan Madson PHI
Damaso Marte NYY *
Sergio Mitre NYY
Joe Nathan MIN *
Hideki Okajima BOS
Darren Oliver TEX
Jonathan Papelbon BOS
Joel Peralta TB
Chad Qualls SD *
Jon Rauch TOR *
Chris Ray TEX
Dennys Reyes BOS
Arthur Rhodes TEX *
Fernando Rodney LAA
Francisco Rodriguez MIL
George Sherrill ATL
Rafael Soriano NYY (may opt out)
Brian Tallet STL
Koji Uehara BAL *
Jose Valverde DET
Tyler Walker WAS
Kerry Wood CHC
Jamey Wright SEA
Michael Wuertz OAK
Joel Zumaya DET

Houston, we have a problem.

To me the most intriguing names on this list are: Heath Bell, Matt Capps, Todd Coffey, Ryan Madson and Michael Wuertz.

Frankly, Wuertz and Coffey are having below average years but would cost no compensation so I’d kick the tires there.

Capps, Madson and Bell are all Type A free agents. So, you can cross Capps off the list and most likely Madson for sure.

Mets fans love Bell, even though he performed poorly here, he found his way in San Diego. I personally believe he will re-sign in San Diego but if he’s available, I don’t want the Mets to sign him but I won’t be shocked if they look into it.

Let’s not forget, what about a lefty out of the pen?

So there you have it. Now what?

Remember this list of players before running around Citi Field screaming that Alderson hasn’t spent money this winter. Foolishly spending money doesn’t make you any better.

Can they find partners in the trade market? Maybe…but it’s going to be a long and bumpy road for sure! I know there are several Mets fans who still want the Mets to spend their way out of this mess. I disagree with that mentality but…

I am willing to listen. Who intrigues you on this list for the 2012 and beyond Mets?

About Michael Branda 267 Articles
Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.