The New York Mets have already begun to clean house, which means they'll eventually be kicking the tires on MLB free agents and other available options.
First, though, they must finish the maintenance and it appears as if that will be a long, extremely intriguing process throughout the winter. Omar Minaya was fired as general manager, and manager Jerry Manuel was told he will not return next season.
Once the Mets fill those positions (which should be relatively soon), they will begin to realign their roster in hopes of being competitive in 2011. This slideshow will feature 10 players they would be wise to at least take a look at. Some will be available via free agency, while others are rumored to be available via trade. Obviously, some are more realistic than others, but all are possibilities, and remember: "Ya Gotta Believe."
I say any, because there are a LOT on the free agent market this season. Jeremy Affeldt, Joe Beimel, Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, Will Ohman, and Kerry Wood—those names are only a fraction of the available names this upcoming offseason.
The eighth-inning guy was an achilles heel for the Amazins' all year. Considering the Mets are fully hoping K-Rod returns to full form next season, they would be wise to sign an eighth-inning guy as a bridge to get to him in an important one- or two-run game. Signing two or three of them wouldn't hurt. Relief pitchers usually aren't very expensive, and the Mets need a bullpen overhaul as it is.
Chen, the former Met, had a career year for Kansas City in 2010. He won a career-high 12 games, and had a respectable 4.17 ERA.
If the Mets were to go after him and give him a low-salary contract as a back-of-the-rotation guy, would anyone really complain? He's a fly-ball pitcher, which isn't a problem in Citi Field. He'd probably put up better numbers in Citi Field than he did at Kauffman. He seems like a real low-risk, high-reward player the Mets could go after who could pay huge dividends.
There's always something thrilling about the possibility of bringing the enemy over to play on your turf.
The Mets could have a shot to do that this offseason. Werth, 31, will be seeking a long-term contract this offseason, and rightfully so. He's proven he is a legitimate offensive threat in Philadelphia over the past few seasons. His best season was in 2009, when he hit 36 home runs and drove in 99 runs.
Again, this would exile either Beltran or Pagan from the outfield, but I reckon one of them could bring back a pretty shiny pitcher in return.
This 34-year-old free agent would bring some stability to a rotation that might need it with Santana out for an uncertain amount of time.
He ranked fourth in the NL this year in WHIP with just a 1.08, and is a lock to win somewhere in the double digits. With a rotation filled with uncertainty, including Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, and even R.A. Dickey in his second year, Lilly staked out in the middle of the rotation would be nothing but a good thing.
I've never heard a bad thing about Orlando Hudson.
The announcers on TBS tonight were just raving about Hudson's presence in the Twins' clubhouse. That could be huge for a Mets team that is going through a transition period right now, especially since clubhouse leader Jeff Francoeur was traded to Texas in the middle of August.
While he's a standout clubhouse guy that keeps the locker room positive, he's also a second baseman capable of hitting around .280 and driving in 60 runs while providing Gold Glove defense. He's been on the Mets radar for a long, long time, and is believed to want to be a New York Met.
And let's be honest, how many people actually want to be a Met right now?
Adam Dunn will be a free agent this offseason, and would give the Mets an instant power threat wherever they'd like to put him in their lineup. Dunn hit 38 home runs and drove in 103 runs for Washington this season.
I'll be honest: Dunn would be an utter disaster in the Citi Field outfield. There wouldn't be anywhere you could even imagine putting him besides first base. If you did decide to sign Dunn, you could use Davis to lure a pitcher from another team looking for a young first baseman with some upside.
It seems all but a formality that the Brewers will trade first baseman Prince Fielder this offseason. He's a free agent after 2011, and the Brewers have acknowledged they won't be able to obey Fielder's financial demands on a new contract.
I know Mets fans are high on Ike Davis, but hear me out here: If the Brewers called up the Mets and offered Fielder for a package centered around Davis, you need to think about it. Davis is being called an equivalent to Adam LaRoche among baseball insiders. Now, Adam LaRoche is nice, but Prince Fielder is better.
It makes sense for the Mets because it would give them an instant power threat in the middle of the lineup that could just tear up that Pepsi Porch in right field. With Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and Francisco Rodriguez all coming off of the books after 2011, the Mets would have more than enough money to sign Fielder to an extension.
The Brewers would do it because it would give them a cheap first baseman for the next few years.
Not saying it's a 100% lock to accept if it was offered, but it would need to be evaluated.
Ellsbury has been connected to trade rumors with the Mets for a while, as he was believed to be part of a package the Red Sox could use to lure Carlos Beltran or Jose Reyes.
Ellsbury only played in 18 games this season due to a rib injury, but he's a gritty, speedy outfielder the Mets could certainly use. In 2009, he hit .301 with 70 stolen bases and 94 runs scored.
Again, he'd only fit into the Mets plans if they were able to get rid of one of either Beltran or Angel Pagan. If the Red Sox really are interested in Beltran as has been the rumor for the past few months, maybe the Mets could lure Ellsbury and a young pitcher in return for Beltran.
There is a very good chance Cliff Lee migrates to the Yankees after the postseason.
But Mets fans can hold out hope that maybe Cliff Lee is not exactly loving the idea of pitching inside a bandbox like Yankee Stadium, even though he did pitch in Citizens Bank Park for a while.
Cliff Lee should be a No. 1 priority for the Mets, especially if money is no object (unfortunately, it seems like it will be).
If ace Johan Santana is going to miss the first couple months of the season as is widely speculated, a pitcher of Lee's magnitude would make it feel like Johan was never gone, and when Santana returned, the Mets would have one heck of a one-two punch at the top of their rotation.
Carl Crawford, one of the most all-around talented outfielders in the league, will be a free agent after the 2010 postseason ends for the Rays (which could be very, very soon). Tampa Bay will most likely not re-sign Crawford, as his salary requirements will most likely not jibe with the Rays' budget.
Crawford's speed, defense, and hitting would be a perfect fit for Citi Field. Crawford hit .307 this year with 19 home runs, 90 runs batted in, as well as 47 stolen bases and 13 triples.
Obviously, either Carlos Beltran or Angel Pagan would have to be removed from the team's plans next year for the Mets to make such a commitment to a player such as Crawford. It will be tough for the Mets to hire a GM, a manager, and trade one of Beltran or Pagan in time for them to make a run at Crawford, as he will probably be one of the first to be signed this offseason.
But if he is even a remote possibility, he should be evaluated to the fullest extent.