MLB Free Agency: 5 Players the New York Mets Should Target
Much of the free-agent talk regarding the New York Mets has featured Jose Reyes. However, Reyes isn't the Mets' only target.
The team's bullpen struggled in 2011, and the starting rotation certainly could have used another reliable arm. Also, after trading Carlos Beltran, the Mets lacked an effective right fielder.
Who then should the Mets pursue in the 2012 offseason?
The Mets need a closer. That's no secret.
Following the Francisco Rodriguez trade, Jason Isringhausen, Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta and a few others split the closing duty. None of them posted ERAs below Acosta's 3.45.
While discussing his tenure with the New York Mets one year ago, Heath Bell told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin he has "a lot of hostility towards" his former team.
However, Bell had most of his issues with the Omar Minaya front office, and he might be willing to discuss a deal with Sandy Alderson.
At 34 years old, Bell is one of the older closers on the market, but his age could make him more affordable. The Mets are less likely to pursue closers like Jonathan Papelbon, who will certainly demand more money than Bell.
Joe Nathan expressed interest in playing for New York, but he's two years older than Bell and struggled after returning from Tommy John surgery.
David DeJesus hit .240 in 2011, but he's a career .284 hitter whose low BABIP indicates he should rebound next season.
While playing right field for the Oakland Athletics, DeJesus accumulated a 10.1 UZR, which led all right fielders registering over 800 innings.
The New York Mets platooned an unimpressive group of right fielders after trading Carlos Beltran, so DeJesus could be a valuable signing.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors, the New York Mets would offer Jose Reyes a deal in the four-year, $60 million to $70 million range—an offer unlikely to retain their shortstop.
Reyes led the NL with a .337 batting average and 16 triples. There are few leadoff men as effective as Reyes, who changes the pace of the game by reaching base.
The Mets clearly aren't willing to offer Reyes the money he will get from other teams, but they should target him anyway.
If the New York Mets can't re-sign Jose Reyes, Jamey Carroll could be a cheap replacement at shortstop.
Carroll has hit .290 over the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, splitting time between short and second base.
While Carroll doesn't have the speed or pop of Reyes—he's stolen 22 bases and hit a whopping zero home runs since 2010—he's a more reliable fielder. The middle infielder made nine errors in 2011 to Reyes' 18, and accumulated a slightly higher UZR at shortstop.
Carroll isn't a franchise player, but given the market's limited options at shortstop, the Mets should target him.
C.J. Wilson is the most-coveted starter on the market, but the New York Mets might choose to avoid entering the bidding war.
Instead, they could vie for Mark Buehrle, a cheaper option who will also receive lots of offers.
Buehrle will be 33 years old by next April, but he has been reliable for a lot longer than Wilson, who has only started since 2010. The lifelong Chicago White Sox starter went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 2011 and has thrown at least 200 innings every season since 2000, his rookie year.
Who would you trust most: R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee or Mark Buehrle?
Definitely go with the four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner.