Weaknesses and Quick Trade Fixes for New York Mets
That provides hope for even teams like the New York Mets, who have been mired in a four-year spell of sub .500 seasons.
With a few shrewd acquisitions, the Mets can quickly rise in the rankings in the NL East and become a much more competitive club.
It would not be uncharted territory for GM Sandy Alderson, who has made a name for himself in the baseball industry for rejuvenating dormant franchises, such as the Oakland Athletics in the 1980s as well as the San Diego Padres last decade.
Here are the team's three biggest weaknesses with two ways they can improve.
Catcher: Trade for Travis D'Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays
This idea has come up recently in the blogosphere, however, there is no indication it has been spoken about between members of the organizations.
On paper, there could be legitimacy to the idea of trading R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package centered on top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud.
The 23-year-old catcher is generally regarded as one of the best prospects in the MLB. In 2012 he hit .333 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 67 games.
He compiled a .975 OPS which is very impressive for a catcher who also plays the position well. He did, however, suffer a torn PCL in his knee which forced him to miss significant time.
The Blue Jays are fortunate to have another legitimate power hitting catcher in J.P Arencibia, who has knocked in 41 home runs the past two seasons.
R.A Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and should be able to net a top prospect despite being 38-years-old.
There may be more incentive to bring in a player with the ceiling of d'Arnaud considering the Mets catchers are abysmal.
Catcher: Sign Mike Napoli, Free Agent
It's a shame the Mets are not willing to spend money because the addition of Mike Napoli would solve their catching issue without having to trade one of the few bright spots on the team, Dickey.
The 31-year-old free agent is one of the few proven power hitting catchers in the MLB. Granted, that term "catcher" is used lightly, as he has gradually made the switch to DH and first base over the past couple seasons.
He still spent 72 games behind the plate in 2012 for the Texas Rangers, while amassing an .812 OPS.
In 2011 he had a monster year, posting a slash line of .320/.414/.631 over 369 at bats.
It is painful that next offseason is the year the Mets will have money to spend, but this is the year a bat like Napoli is available.
To say he would provide an improvement over Josh Thole's OPS+ of 63 would be an understatement.
Outfield: Trade for Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins
In this era of decreased power totals, it is extremely shocking that a player could have posted 64 home runs, 208 RBI and an .810 OPS while playing his home games in two spacious parks while not receiving any publicity.
That is precisely what Josh Willingham did.
He played in Oakland in 2011 and Minnesota in 2012, and posted power numbers on par with any player in the MLB.
The Mets could benefit greatly from his power.
Additionally, he is signed through 2014, with a very manageable $7 million per year.
For that value the Twins are sure to ask for a decent return, but the Mets should not be hesitant to relinquish prospects to upgrade a position that they could ill-afford to stand put at.
Outfield: Sign Ryan Ludwick, Free Agent
In 2008, Ryan Ludwick had a career-year with the St. Louis Cardinals. He knocked 37 home runs and drove in 113 runs which earned him an All Star appearance and a 16th place finish in the NL MVP.
Since then, he has not approached those numbers, but he did experience a career rejuvenation in Cincinnati last year as he hit 26 home runs and drove in 80 runs.
The Las Vegas native is a very one-dimensional player, but with the limitations of the Mets payroll, he is a player that could benefit their need of competent Major League outfielders.
If the Mets do not re-sign Scott Hairston, they must find a way to replace his 20 home runs in the outfield.
Relief Pitchers: Sign Joel Peralta, Free Agent
The reason it is such a popular idea is because he is not only effective, but he has pitched in the relative obscurity of being Fernando Rodney's setup man and he will not require a long-term commitment considering he is 36-years-old.
Nevertheless, he has posted very impressive numbers for several years now.
Since coming to Tampa Bay, he has 3.27 ERA while striking out 9.7 batters per nine, 4.14 K/BB ratio and a 0.95 WHIP.
Limiting runners is generally conducive to being a successful late-inning reliever.
Relief Pitchers: Sign Ryan Madson, Free Agent
Last season Ryan Madson surprisingly settled on signing a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds after posting a 2.89 ERA for the Philadelphia Phillies over the past five seasons as a high leverage reliever.
He saved 32 games in 2011 posting a solid 1.15 WHIP and 9.2 K/9.
The Reds appeared to have signed him to a bargain when he blew out his elbow and required Tommy John surgery before he appeared in a game.
The Mets would be wise to sign him to solidify the bullpen once and for all.
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