Mets Look for Right-Handed Bench Help

Dominick DiFucciAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2009

The New York Mets have already said they will not pursue any big ticket names from free agency, but look to upgrade the bench with a right-handed bat.

Ken Davidoff of Newsday thinks Rich Aurilia who has New York ties and with Omar Minaya.
Aurilia, 37, was born in Brooklyn and played for Xaverian High School and then St. John's.

When the Rangers selected him in the 24th round of the 1992 amateur draft, Minaya was part of Texas' front office.

A former All-Star shortstop, Aurilia played in 83 games as the Giants' first baseman, 63 as their third baseman, and one at second base in 2008. He put up a .332 on-base percentage and .413 slugging percentage. Against left-handed pitching, those numbers ballooned to .377 and .526.

The Phillies and Giants are aggressively pursuing him. However, Mets have not knocked on Aurilia's door.

The Mets can look elsewhere like Nomar Garciaparra, Jay Payton, Kevin Millar, and Jose Vidro.

According to Davidoff, the Mets are looking to find a lefty reliever. They think the Casey Fossum or Tom Martin (non-roster invitees) can be one of the candidates to fill that role. They also can look at Joe Beimel, Ron Villone, and Will Ohman, who are on the free agent block.

Finally, the Mets are looking to shed Ramon Castro's $2.5 million off the payroll via trade and think Robinson Cancel can take over the job. The Brewers had a fair interest in Castro, but manager Doug Melvin consulted with his old coach Willie Randolph about such a deal and they rebutted.