Heading into this offseason, Sandy Alderson was bound to make some changes to the Mets’ roster.
Even with a limited supply of funds, how long can a team deal with mediocrity before making a change?
That same limited supply of funds virtually made it hard to think the Mets would pursue free agents, so Alderson came out and said that he’d be creative in exploring trade possibilities.
We’re only in late November, and already it seems the Mets are changing their course. ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin recently reported that Mets don’t expect to be making trades and will instead sign free agents.
So basically Alderson made one claim, now he’s making another claim, and by the time the Winter Meetings roll around, there may be a completely different story.
Pretty confusing, huh?
Luckily, it’s not even December yet, and the Mets right now are solely focused on contract negotiations with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. And rightfully so, since they are two huge pieces to the puzzle, even if that puzzle means trading one or both for younger talent.
So if Alderson sticks to his guns this times and says he will pursue free agents, let’s see who he might be talking about.
The Mets seem content heading into the season with a starting pitching rotation of Dickey (assuming he’s here), Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee. They may bring in a few insurance arms, but that’s looking pretty set.
As for the infield, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Wright (assuming he’s here) are likely the starters.
The bullpen this year will probably be a combination of what we have (Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Josh Edgin) and some cheap options that the Mets hope can produce.
So likely we’ve been saying all along, the Mets will look for help in the outfield and at catcher. And preferably, the Mets seek a right-handed hitter at both those positions.
At catcher, the really only viable options that the Mets can afford are Kelly Shoppach, Miguel Olivo or Chris Snyder. Mike Napoli is way out of their price range, and the rest of the crop of catchers has seen better days.
In terms of outfielders, Scott Hairston is looking more and more like a possibility to return, especially now that B.J. Upton signed with the Braves. It’s not like the Mets were in on Upton, but now the market for right-handed hitting outfielders may pick up.
An intriguing name could be Matt Diaz as part of a left or right field platoon with Mike Baxter. Diaz crushes left-handed pitching and especially Mets’ lefties over the years.
Ryan Raburn or Juan Rivera would come cheap and could also be platoon partners.
The bigger names in the outfield like Cody Ross and Delmon Young (more of a DH anyway) are likely seeking multi-year deals, and the Mets are likely to stay away there.
No one really knows how the rest of this offseason will play out. It would be nice as fans to have some sort of clear path on the direction of the team, but I guess that’s just the nature of the business these days.
The first priority is to take care of the Wright and Dickey situations, however they might play out, and then worry about the rest of the roster.