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New York Mets: 5 Players Still Within Reach

Vinny MessanaCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

New York Mets: 5 Players Still Within Reach

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    The New York Mets organization is in a period where they are looking to avoid poison contracts and add inexpensive players who will contribute for the team both in the short and long term.

    Finding impact players willing to sign one- or two-year deals is not exactly simple work for a general manager, but Sandy Alderson and his crew still must assemble an outfield, a bullpen and find a utility infielder.

    They may not be in the market for a player with the talent of Josh Hamilton, but there's still plenty of value left on the free-agent pool. Here are the best players within their price range.

Matt Capps

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    The 29-year-old closer has been very underrated throughout his career, which has been played in relative obscurity. (Playing in Pittsburgh, Washington and Minnesota will do that to a player.)

    Nevertheless, Matt Capps is a dynamic pitcher who will come at a discounted price because of the rotator cuff injury that ended his 2012 season.

    If Capps is healthy, he is certainly worth taking a flier, due to his track record.

    The 260-pound closer has a 120 career ERA+ to go along with a 3.8 K/BB ratio while amassing 138 saves.

    In his lone All-Star season, Capps saved 42 games with a 2.47 ERA, but his best statistical season was actually 2007 when he posted a 192 ERA+ with a 0.97 WHIP and an astonishing 7.8 K/BB ratio.

    He has never pitched in a big market, but he did pitch in the NL East with Washington, so he is familiar with the division.

    He would make for an upgrade over Frank Francisco, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring him in on a one-year, $3-4 million deal.

J.P. Howell

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    J.P Howell made a name for himself during the 2008 postseason when he was one of the best relief pitchers on the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Since then, he missed one year due to injury, had a poor 2011 season but rebounded nicely in 2012 with a 3.04 ERA over 50 innings.

    While he is generally used as a lefty specialist—holding lefties to a .241 BA over his career—right-handed batters have only compiled a .248 career BA against him, which expands his value.

    The Mets are in need of a veteran lefty with Robert Carson and Josh Edgin as the only southpaws currently vying for a spot in the bullpen.

    Howell would benefit the team greatly and is another reliever that does not come with a large price tag. 

Jose Lopez

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    The Venezuelan born infielder has fallen off significantly since his career year in 2009 in which he compiled 25 home runs and 96 RBI for the Seattle Mariners.

    Since then, he has bounced around to Colorado, Florida, Cleveland and finally the Chicago White Sox.

    He is still a serviceable player who has experience at all infield positions.

    Lopez would not be asked to do much except simply replace the production of Ronny Cedeno, who is the definition of a light-hitting shortstop.

    His track record of success makes him a bit more desirable to teams, but there still shouldn't be much competition for his services. 

Cody Ross

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    Prior to bouncing around the National League for most of his career, Cody Ross found success in Boston last season.

    He compiled 22 home runs and drove in 81 runs in 476 at bats for a Red Sox team that suffered through one of their worst seasons in decades.

    Ross is an average outfielder at best and struck out 129 times last season, but his power would benefit the Mets' lineup which is in desperate need of a home run threat.

    In the event that the Mets do not re-sign Scott Hairston, they must replace his production as well as his ability to hit left-handed pitching. Ross has a career .928 OPS against lefties.

    He is familiar with the NL East having played four-and-a-half years in Florida, where he feasted on Mets pitching to the tune of nine career home runs.

    Ross is a player they should certainly pursue.

Nick Swisher

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    Despite his antics upsetting some opposing players, Nick Swisher has value to most teams for his ability to play first base and right field as well as his power and on-base ability.

    The 32-year-old has spent his career in the American League and has averaged 28 home runs and 90 RBI  in his nine years.

    He has hit left-handed pitchers slightly better than righties (.270 to .250), which boosts his value to the Mets.

    One glaring weakness is his dismal postseason numbers. He has a .169 batting average in 154 postseason at-bats, which is hard to ignore for perennial playoff contenders.

    Nevertheless, Swisher is a proven power hitter that showed he can excel outside of the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium during his career in Oakland.

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