Judging the New York Mets' 5 Major Additions (So Far) This Offseason
Sandy Alderson has been operating on a shoestring budget this offseason.
With no money to re-sign their top hitter or retain their second best starter, the Mets general manager had to pinch pennies in order to make ends meet.
Amazingly, he didn't stick his head in the sand, and nabbed five players over the course of the offseason: relievers Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Frank Francisco, outfielder Andres Torres and infielder Ronny Cedeno.
Although they aren't marquee names, they are expected to at least adequately fill roles that were vacated by players who departed during the trade deadline and the free agency period.
Here's how the offseason additions will be judged.
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Terry Collins' idea of a closer committee won't be returning next year; rather, it will be former Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco taking over the role.
Francisco takes over from a combination of Bobby Parnell, Pedro Beato, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak, who, in turn. took the role from current Milwaukee set-up man Francisco Rodriguez.
As a Blue Jay last year, Francisco was hurt to start the season, earned his role mid-season and saved 17 games.
Francisco is not as flashy as other closers, but he is solid and should benefit from not having to face American League hitting.
Judgment: Good signing.
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Rauch was signed to provide bullpen depth. Coming from Toronto, where he spent half the season as the closer before Francisco recovered from injury, the tall right-hander finished the year with a 5-4 record, a pedestrian 4.85 ERA and 11 saves.
As a Met he will be expected to fulfill the setup role vacated by Isringhausen. However, if things go better for him and worse for Francisco, he will likely become the closer.
Judgment: Decent signing.
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This is our answer to Jose Reyes leaving: Andres Torres.
Fortunately, we didn't have to sacrifice much for him in giving up Angel Pagan.
Torres is fast, that can't be denied.
He's also 34 years old, just two years past his prime, and he hit .221 last year.
It isn't likely Torres is the Mets centerfielder for years to come; he'll probably ease the transition for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Wilmer Flores or Cesar Puello when one of them gets called up.
Judgment: Not a great addition, but don't count him off yet.
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Ramirez was the main part of the Giants-Mets deal which landed Andres Torres. As a reliever for the Giants last season, he went 3-3, recorded four saves and a 2.62 ERA.
Ramirez is expected to be a setup man for the Mets this year, but like Rauch, he should be considered as a closer if Francisco fails; after all, he did fill in for an incapacitated Brian Wilson. Needless to say, when the Mets acquired Ramirez, they apparently got an arm at a good value, at least according to this Giants blog.
Judgment: Excellent move. Best addition to the bullpen.
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The Mets wanted an insurance policy just in case Ruben Tejada couldn't cut it as Jose Reyes' replacement, so they went to Pittsburgh and signed Ronny Cedeno.
Normally, Mets fans would cringe when hearing the name Cedeno (cough...Roger...cough), but Ronny is not like the similarly named former Met.
Ronny is an example of a throwback shortstop. He has a glove, but is a weak hitter (.249 average, two home runs last season).
He's a situational player at best who was basically thrown into Pittsburgh's starting lineup because the Pirates didn't have anyone waiting in the wings.
He'll provide some help, but his contributions will be more from the bench than on the field. Still, signing Cedeno is a good exit strategy in case Tejada can't cut it, and should Jordany Valdespin or Reese Havens merit late call-ups, it would be good to have him act as a mentor.
Judgment: Decent low-key signing. Won't contribute much offense, but a nice backup is always good.
Hopefully, the Mets will add at least one more player on a major league deal.