Even though the 2009 season hasn’t even began yet, I thought it would be fun to look at the players the Mets may potentially lose to free agency after this season.
Brian Schneider – Schneider, 33, is the Mets' starting catcher. While his offensive production is far from ideal, he handles the pitching staff well and provides adequate defense behind the plate. Still, I think the Mets will look elsewhere this offseason to find a new backstop before attempting to bring back Schneider.
Ramon Castro – Castro, 34, is one of the best backup catchers in all of baseball. There are some who feel he has the skills and the bat to warrant a spot in the starting lineup on some teams. However, Castro weighs in at a hefty 258 pounds and is very injury prone.
He has spent time on the DL the past two years, which has forced the Mets to rely on catchers such as, Robinson Cancel and Sandy Alomar Jr. The fact that the Mets shopped Castro around this offseason leads me to believe they do not have interest in re-signing him.
Carlos Delgado – Carlos Delgado is coming off a mammoth season, and probably his best season as a New York Met. Judging by his spring training numbers, there is good reason to believe that 2009, barring injury, will be another successful year for Delgado.
Despite how well he performs, this will almost certainly be Delgado’s last year in Queens. Management, as of late, has shown a willingness to integrate younger talent into the starting lineup. This could open the door for Nick Evans, who is blocked at pretty much every position at the moment.
Alex Cora – The 34-year-old Cora is a Scott Boras client. If he has any sort of success this season, look for his price tag to soar. I don’t see him sticking around past this season; however, only time will tell.
Marlon Anderson – Anderson will be 36 when his deal with the Mets expires. The team will most likely let him walk. All of this is irrelevant though, as I get the sense that he will be released within the coming week to make room for another free agent-to-be, Gary Sheffield.
Fernando Tatis - Tatis, 35, certainly provides the team with a nice bit of pop off of the bench, as well as versatility. If he has a decent year this season, I could envision the team bringing him back for perhaps another year or two.
Gary Sheffield – The only reason Sheffield is with the team is the fact that they were able to sign him for league minimum. Don’t expect him to be back with the team after the season’s end.
Freddy Garcia – There is a good shot that Garcia will not see any major league time this year due to his diminished velocity. All signs point to Garcia being let go either mid-year this season or during the offseason. The only way he would be brought back is if he shows a great deal of progress, but that is very unlikely.
Livan Hernandez – Livan Hernandez has been a nice little surprise thus far for the Mets.
However, he has only pitched in spring training games thus far. If he can post decent numbers throughout the year, I could see him back in the rotation next year. After all, he’ll only be 35, and in Mets years, that’s still considered a rookie.
J.J. Putz – Enjoy watching Putz while you can, because regardless of how he pitches this year there is zero chance he will be back with the ballclub next season.
Firstly, even though he won’t admit it, Putz wants to close. And rightfully so, as he is one of the elite closers in baseball.
Secondly, his club option for next year comes with a price tag of $8.6 million, which in this economy I can’t see the Mets spending on a setup man.
It looks as if there could be a large change over in talent between the 2009 and 2010 season.