With Sandy Alderson set to take over as the new General Manager of the New York Mets, its time to get business rolling. Next on the list is to find an appropriate manager to handle the on-field business and after that its time to figure out how the roster will fill out.
With some money to work with, Alderson has the experience and expertise to know how and where to spend it. Obviously he will never see this article, but here are some suggestions on realistic options the Mets have this off season in regards to free agency.
As October 31st lingers closer, so too does the deadline for the Mets to re-sign Hisanori Takhashi. Even amidst all this GM pandemonium, acting GM John Ricco has been handling the negotiations and even though there is less than a week to finalize a deal, the Mets remain optimistic that Takahashi will re-sign to stay in New York.
A lot of praise should be sent Takahashi’s way. Through constant distraction from the bright lights of New York, the Japanese rookie managed a very consistent first season. Going 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA, Takahashi did well in both starting and bullpen roles.
The Mets should look to bring Takahashi back to bolster the bullpen and give the occasional spot start because he is most deserving of a start coming from the bullpen. And with his recent shift in representation, things aren't looking to good for the coming days.
Mets fans have coveted the Reds starter for a few years now, and despite a trade never materializing, the starter is hitting free agency with some suitors lobbying for his services. Granted, he still has an 11 million club option for 2011 still on the table, and he’s projected to be a type A free agent, but the Mets should really look to acquire his services to go behind Santana and Pelfrey in the starting rotation.
The Mets had the chance to grab Garland last year, yet they balked and chose to go with the Maine-Perez tandem. Hopefully, the new GM will learn from some mistakes of the past few years and go after the workhorse starter whose game will only improve in a spacious park such as Citi Field. Even with a 6.75 million mutual option on the table for Garland, there is a chance he would opt out of the final year and test the free agent waters again. The Mets would be smart to add arms to their rotation barring any injuries or other unforeseen circumstances (cough cough …K-rod).
Obviously, this move would only be doable if Luis Castillo’s contract is off the books, but nonetheless, the Mets should look into acquiring the O-Dog to mentor the young Ruben Tejada and help his conversion to an every day player. Hudson has repeatedly expressed his interest on playing in New York and he would be a very viable option on a one-year deal. It’s up to management to pull the trigger on the O-Dog or not.
This may be a long shot, only due to the fact that he may be looking for a long-term deal while I believe the Mets interest in him would only be for one to two years. Josh Thole does have a promising future with the Mets, though he will never hit for power, but his weapon of hitting to all fields and to the gaps will prove worthwhile if the Mets can bring in the appropriate pieces around him.
V-Mart would be a good option to split time with Thole as he still learns the ins and outs of Major League Baseball and also as a back up to Ike Davis to give him the occasional day off. If a deal couldn't be made for Martinez, another feasible option could be John Buck from the Blue Jays.
Pedro Feliciano is a must for Mets management to bring back. He was our most consistent reliever out of the pen and not to mention the left specialist that every team needs. The Mets bullpen has lacked in recent years as it is, so it would not be wise to let such an intricate aspect of the bullpen just walk away to another team. Hopefully, with Sandy Alderson in the front office for the Mets now, he will see the added value that Feliciano brings to this club and bring back the league leader in appearances the past three years.
The need for bullpen help is a problem that seems to be never ending; you can never have too many trustworthy arms out in the bullpen. Grant Balfour looks like one of the best bullpen arms out on the market with a 2.28 ERA in 57 games for the AL East winning Tampa Bay Rays. Plus, with the fact that there will hopefully be a playoff berth in the near future, a solid reliever with post-season experience is always helpful and necessary to calm the nerves of the Mets faithful. With a Type A free agent status, Balfour will cost the Mets a few draft picks, but his long-term consistencies will prove worthwhile.
The 29-year-old Kubel is the youngest of this bunch and the only real way the Mets would be willing to acquire him is if Carlos Beltran’s contract is off the books via a trade. It's not too certain how willing the Mets would be to trading Beltran and more importantly if another team would take him, but with an outfield of Bay, Pagan, and Kubel, that would be a trio that could take advantage of Citi Field. Although Kubel is not the swiftest of right fielders the added power bat presence in the lineup would benefit all those batting around him.
Once again, the more bullpen arms, the better. Brian Fuentes is as reliable as any relief pitch out there. He lead the league in saves in 2009 while playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and more recently he has maintained a respectable ERA while splitting time last year with the Angels and Minnesota Twins. He is projected as a Type B free agent and just the thought of Feliciano and Fuentes coming out of the Mets pen as a two-headed lefty specialist should make any team think twice when searching for a late inning rally.
I see a lot of potential in this guy and I can see him doing better in the near future potentially in Citi Field, than he already did during his three years in LA. The former second round draft pick out of the Japanese draft started his MLB career with a bang, going 8 innings of one run ball against the San Diego Padres. This past season he had a no-no through 8, ultimately giving up only one hit. Hiroki Kuroda looks like a very versatile player who can either start games or come from the bullpen and in a flux year that the Mets seem to be in, he could do wonders to bolster the starting rotation.