The New York Mets have had a fairly busy offseason, trading away Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey and re-signing star third baseman David Wright.
But the cash-strapped team still has a significantly large need for quality outfielders.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, the current payroll for the Mets is $94.9 million. However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports tweeted earlier this month that the Mets in reality have “quite a bit of $ left to spend.”
It is also worth noting that the Wilpons refinanced $700 million in debt, which in turn gave them roughly $160 million in spending money. Whether or not the Wilpons will re-invest that money or spend it on new players remains to be seen.
But clearly, the Mets have given themselves some breathing room recently in terms of salary, and hopefully the Wilpons become more enticed as a result to spend money on the team now.
And perhaps New York's most glaring position of need is in the outfield.
With the new influx of money, here are some realistic outfield options the Mets should still pursue this offseason.
Jones swinging in a late August game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 35-year-old Jones had a moderate season with the New York Yankees last year, finishing with 14 home runs in 233 at-bats and a .702 OPS.
Jones had a very promising first half of the season, with 11 home runs and a .244/.326/.535 line.
But his numbers declined significantly in the second half, with age and fatigue likely playing a large role.
Jones still has big-play potential, though. During a double-header against the rival Boston Red Sox, Jones hit three home runs and made two spectacular catches in the outfield. He may not have the legs to play the field every day, but for a small price, the Mets could use someone that still has his power potential.
At this point, Jones could serve as depth and right-handed power in a weak outfield, which the Mets definitely need and, more importantly, can afford.
Reimold making a sliding catch in a mid-April game.
Before suffering a herniated disk in his neck, Reimold seemed like a player who was ready to break out in the 2012 season.
In the 16 games he did play for the Baltimore Orioles, the 29-year-old Reimold hit .313 with five home runs, six doubles and a staggering .960 OPS.
Theoretically, if sustained over the season, that OPS would have ranked fourth in the majors behind only Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, and Mike Trout. In 2011, Reimold hit a respectable 13 home runs in 267 at-bats.
Reimold stated recently that he and his "new Terminator neck" have fully healed, and he should be ready for spring training.
Also, the Orioles recently avoided arbitration and signed Reimold to a one-year, $1 million contract.
However, the Orioles have a significant amount of young depth and starting talent in their outfield. Aside from stars Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, the Orioles have Nate McLouth, Xavier Avery, and Reimold.
The Mets could use Reimold’s right-handed bat. Moreover, for only $1 million, the Mets could conceivably afford his contract and trade only a non-elite prospect for him.
Bourn making a nice defensive play in a mid-August game.
It is clear, however, what road block stands between the 30-year-old Bourn and a deal with the Mets. Signing Bourn would mean that, as compensation, the Mets lose their upcoming first-round draft pick, which the Mets are reluctant to do as a young and rebuilding team.
The Mets do have a fairly solid argument against giving up their compensation pick, though.
The first 10 picks of the draft are protected. The Mets originally had the 10th pick, but when the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign their first-round pick last year, they got a top pick this year, bumping the Mets down to the 11th pick.
Even though they are no longer in the top 10 picks, the Mets still believe that due to the impact of the Pirates, their 11th pick should still be protected.
Instead, the Mets want to give up a second-round pick for Bourn. Although, Jim Bowden of SiriusXM spoke with Alderson on Saturday, and tweeted that the Mets may still consider giving up the first-round pick because of the current strength of their farm system.
Bourn is also a Scott Boras client, which means he should command a significant amount of money from whoever signs him.
On the field, Bourn hit .272 with 42 stolen bases last season and is considered one of the top leadoff hitters in the league.
However, the pre-All-Star break Bourn hit .311 with six triples, seven home runs and 25 stolen bases, while the post-All-Star break Bourn hit a poor .225 with four triples, two home runs and 17 stolen bases.
If the Mets do land him, it will be very interesting to see which Michael Bourn shows up for next season.
Soriano swinging at a pitch during a mid-August game.
Soriano, who turned 37 earlier this month, had a resurgent 2012 season, both in the field and at the plate.
On the season, Soriano hit 32 home runs and compiled 108 RBIs. Considering he played on a Chicago Cubs team that ranked third-to-last in runs scored, a 100-RBI season is even more impressive. He also had a slugging percentage just below .500 and a solid OPS of .821.
Defensively, Soriano made incredible strides in left field.
Soriano led the majors in double plays with six, doubling the next highest player. Soriano was also tied for fourth in the majors in outfield assists with 12. Lastly, committing only one error all season, he ranked second in the majors in fielding percentage in left field.
Notably, Soriano played 250 more innings than the leader, Desmond Jennings.
However, Soriano also has an immense contract, which the Wilpons have become allergic to in recent years.
Depending on what the Mets would have to give up for such a player, acquiring Soriano for two years and $10 million would be a bargain.
Furthermore, Soriano would be the powerful right-handed outfielder the team desperately needs.