The New York Mets have exercised the club option for David Wright in 2013 with hopes of signing him long-term. While talks have been slow, negotiations should be picking up steam soon, as both sides have made it a priority to get a deal done.
One of the keys for Wright making a long-term commitment to the club is to find out what direction the organization is heading. Wright wants to win and be part of the solution.
There would be no better sign of improving than bringing in players that would complement Wright in the lineup. Even though New York is limited financially, there are still options available that can help turn the Mets into contenders.
Here are five players New York can sign to help improve this offense and complement Wright.
While the Mets are attempting to write a comeback story of their own, one option they could try and pursue already has his comeback tale written.
After cashing in after his 2008 season and failing to live up to bigger expectations, Nate McLouth had a renaissance to his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012.
He was given an opportunity, and he became a key to the Orioles making the playoffs—and he was arguably their best player in the postseason.
McLouth hit .318 in the postseason against the New York Yankees and was clutch in key spots, coming up with big hits and playing a nice left field.
It is not a forgone conclusion that he will be back in Baltimore. He was only in the lineup to take the place of an injured Nick Markakis, and Nolan Reimold will be back for the Orioles as well.
While teams are not going to go wild over him, McLouth might be willing to take less money to be given an opportunity to start every day and build off his 2012 finish.
The Mets could use McLouth's services, as he showed he is a capable leadoff hitter with some pop in his bat. While he is not a burner on the bases, he is a smart runner, and his presence would help the likes of David Wright drive in runs.
Depending on how free agency plays out, McLouth could be available at a rate the Mets can afford and could immediately make an impact.
Although he has been rumored to have interest from that other team in New York (via the New York Daily News), Torii Hunter is a possibility for the Mets.
The right field position has been a trouble spot for the club, and Hunter would be a vast improvement over options like Lucas Duda and Mike Baxter.
Even at 37 years old, the nine-time Gold Glove winner is still a productive player, and while his better days are behind him, he can still hit.
He would make a nice middle-of-the-lineup hitter that could protect David Wright. Hunter hit .313 in 2012 and drove in 92 runs.
The Mets need a veteran presence on the club. The value of being a mentor is not stressed enough, and with all the young players the team has and will have coming up from the minors soon, a guy like Hunter could do wonders in the clubhouse.
Although this seems very unlikely, a presence like Hunter would be the perfect short-term solution for the Mets.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post first suggested it, and he is absolutely correct.
Russell Martin would be a perfect match for the New York Mets if the Yankees let him walk.
The components are all there that could have Martin making the short trip from the Bronx over to Queens.
If there is one position the Yankees already have an abundance of, it is catcher. The best option is of course Martin, but with Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli already in the fold, Martin could be on the way out.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has stressed before his desire to be under the luxury tax in 2014, so they have to be cautious with who they approach with so much money tied up in the rest of the roster.
The Mets need a catcher and some power in the lineup. Martin provides both. He would be a nice complement to David Wright in the middle of the order, as he hit 21 home runs last season and came up big in key moments in the playoffs.
Yes, Martin hit .211, and that is concerning, but there are not a lot of viable options available at the position, and the Mets would be hard-pressed to find someone better via trade.
"The Mets do not have to wonder if Martin can handle New York. They know for sure by the way Martin has performed these past two years, particularly by his ability to avoid being sunk by the woeful first half this year," Sherman writes.
If the Mets are serious about helping Wright and if the Yankees are not willing to bring him back, the club should seriously entertain the option of signing Martin.
It appears that free agent outfielder Scott Hairston has priced himself out of New York.
The platoon outfielder who has shown a propensity to hit for power had a career year for the Mets last season with 20 home runs and will likely be on his way out, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
An option the Mets could sign that could fit the Hairston mold is Jonny Gomes.
The journeyman outfielder rebounded after a rough 2011 and hit 18 home runs with a .377 on-base percentage for the surprise Oakland A's in 2012.
He is available now after Oakland traded for outfielder Chris Young this offseason. Oakland has a talented but crowded outfield, and Gomes was the odd man out.
As Ed Coleman writes, "he’s (Gomes) a great clubhouse/character guy who’d fit should they lose Hairston."
What was said about Torii Hunter being a clubhouse presence goes for Gomes as well. The Mets need someone like this to help some of the younger players on the club. His leadership, along with Wright's would go unquestioned.
This just has mess—I mean Mets—written all over it.
Reportedly (via CBS Sports), the Mets are interested in Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera shocked the baseball world last season with his use of PEDs, which resulted in a 50-game suspension, but what probably was more shocking was his play before he was hit with this ban.
Cabrera was having a career year, hitting .346 and receiving the All-Star Game MVP. He looked well on his way to a huge payday, but now the extra baggage he carries will scare a lot of teams away.
The Mets are one of the few teams seemingly willing to take a chance on the troubled outfielder. Considering that he was a productive player before 2012 helps and probably is still a better option than who they have now.
He will not command a lot of money on the market either, which makes even more sense for the Mets from a financial standpoint.
While most are not crazy about this idea, it seems like a fit. Cabrera is someone who would complement Wright, most likely hitting ahead of him in the order.