The New York Mets have had a successful offseason so far, but there is still work to be done.
In order to compete for a National League playoff berth, general manager Sandy Alderson needs to continue fortifying his roster. He needs to stay aggressive.
Mets fans should expect nothing less.
With that being said, let's take a look at a pair of players Alderson should continue to pursue and another player on the Mets roster he should try to trade.
May we have the envelope, please....
*All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.
Buy: Stephen Drew, Shortstop
This one is not hard to figure out.
The Mets need a serious upgrade at shortstop from the immature and oft-injured Ruben Tejada, and 30-year-old Stephen Drew could be the panacea for what ails New York at such an important position.
Sure, Drew would cost the Mets a high draft pick, but New York needs an infusion of offense and Drew's sparkling glove at short.
The eight-year veteran batted .253 with 13 HR and 67 RBI in 124 games for the World Series-winning Red Sox last season. His .777 OPS was second among American League shortstops. He's a career .264 hitter but does come with some baggage.
Drew has been prone to injury throughout his career and is also represented by superagent Scott Boras. However, Drew brings an excellent glove with him—he ranked second in the American League with a .984 fielding percentage last season.
Despite a few drawbacks, Drew brings a lot to the table. To date, he has not had a ton of interest from other clubs, so the Mets should ink him to a three-year contract in the $30-33 million range.
It's not that crazy, and Drew would give the Mets solid offensive and defensive boosts. Is he Troy Tulowitzki? Of course not, but the Mets could certainly do a lot worse.
Trade: Lucas Duda, First Base/Outfield
It's no secret that the Mets are shopping around first baseman Ike Davis. There is a logjam at first base between Davis and Lucas Duda.
But Duda is the player the Mets should try to trade, not Davis.
There's no doubt the left-handed slugger is coming off a miserable 2013 campaign; he hit a feeble .205 with nine home runs and 33 RBI. However, he hit .286 during the second half of the season with a .449 OBP before being shut down with a strained right oblique injury.
Davis is just entering his prime at age 26, and he has too much upside to trade just yet. Remember, Davis clouted 32 HR in 2012. He's also a fine defensive first baseman.
Duda might not bring back the type of prospect Davis can, but a change of scenery would be best for him at this stage of his career. The USC product has hit just .239 and .223, respectively, the last two seasons. He smacked 15 home runs in each of those campaigns, so the power potential is there.
The Mets have been waiting for that potential to be realized, but it just hasn't happened. It's time for Alderson to move Duda out of Queens for a mid-level prospect. Perhaps playing outside the pressures of New York City would do Duda a world of good.
It's worth a try.
Buy: Paul Maholm, Starting Pitcher
Truth be told, I was going to recommend the Mets sign reliever Jesse Crain, but New York management hesitated, and Crain just signed a one-year pact with the Astros. The Mets should now move forward and sign Paul Maholm, a crafty southpaw who would fit in nicely at the No. 5 slot in the rotation.
The Mississippi State product authored a 10-11 record with a 4.41 ERA in 26 starts with the Atlanta Braves last season. Those numbers aren't overly impressive, but Maholm gives a team innings, and that saves the bullpen.
Maholm can hold down the fort until Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard is ready to take his place in New York's rotation. He could then slide into the role of spot starter or long reliever.
Maholm reminds me a lot of Jamie Moyer. He does not have dominant stuff, but he mixes speeds well and can paint the corners of the plate. The nine-year veteran made just $6.5 million last season, so the Mets should be able to sign him to a one-year contract for around $6-7 million.
That's cheap for starting pitching these days. Maholm might not be a dynamic acquisition, but it would be a wise move to sign him for the 2014 campaign.
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