The deadline for teams to tender the contracts of their arbitration-eligible players was Monday night. The Mets non-tendered Ronny Paulino and Mike Baxter. Due to the rules of arbitration, every non-tendered player becomes a free agent.
The Mets will most likely not bring Paulino back, but Sandy Alderson has expressed interest in bringing Baxter in on a minor league deal.
A handful of players got non-tendered by their respective teams Monday, and they are now free agents. The Mets should have interest in some of the players who have just recently become free agents. Here are six players that I believe the Mets should pursue this offseason.
Signing Pedro Ciriaco will make anything but a big splash. With that said, Ciriaco possesses some pretty good tools and he is still fairly young. The 26-year-old has spent all of his major league time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has enjoyed a small amount of success in the majors.
Ciriaco batted .303 in 23 games with the Pirates this season. He also managed to steal a few bases, hit two doubles and leg out a triple. Ciriaco's above-average speed makes him a threat on the basepaths and helps him out in the field. He could hold his own with his glove at shortstop too.
Ciriaco will most likely get a spring training invite from a team this offseason. The Mets would be wise to invite him and see if he could help the team out now or in future seasons.
Another Pirate, Jason Jaramillo, has been a solid catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the past three seasons. Jaramillo is 29 years old and put up good numbers in his short major league stint last season. In 23 games, Jaramillo compiled a .326 batting average in 45 plate appearances.
Jaramillo could be signed for cheap by the Mets. He earned a little under $500,000 last year, and he should be looking for a similar salary this offseason. Jaramillo fits into the Mets' budget, and he would provide the team with some much-needed depth at the catcher position.
Saunders is one of the most popular players who became a free agent Monday. Saunders was one of the centerpieces in the Dan Haren trade, and he hasn't lived up to his expectations in Arizona.
With that said, Saunders had a pretty good season last year. His numbers aren't amazing, but he could be a great back of the rotation pitcher, which he has always been outside of his All-Star season in 2008.
He did have one of his best seasons last year though, quietly posting a 3.69 ERA, a 4.6 SO/9 and a 2.8 BB/9. That equals a 1.61 SO/BB ratio. Not great, but the Mets would be content with it, as would many other teams.
Saunders showed that he can get people out without throwing overwhelming pitches. He also has some control problems that could flare up, but he can get outs when he needs to.
Saunders is still just 30 years old, and the Mets might be interested in bringing him to Queens if he doesn't ask for too much.
Ryan Spilborghs had a rough season last year. He saw his batting average take a dramatic dip, his home runs decrease and his playing time diminish. Injuries forced him to miss a significant amount of playing time last season.
Spilborghs spent nearly all of August on the disabled list due to plantar fasciitis. He would make his return in early September, but he reaggravated his injury in just his third game back and would be shelved for the rest of the season.
There has been buzz around Spilborghs that he played through the injury since May, and that may have been a reason why he had such a bad season. Spilborghs has proven in the past that he can handle the bat at the plate, and he would make a fantastic backup outfielder for the Mets. Spilborghs should be looking for a contract worth around $1 million, and that will fit well into the Mets' budget.
Ryan Theriot helped the Cardinals win the World Series last season. He batted .271 in 132 games. Theriot is an above-average player who seems to fit well into the Mets' plans. The Mets are looking for a utility middle infielder, and Theriot definitely fits that mold.
He would have a good amount of playing time if he comes to Queens, and he might even start a handful of games for the Mets. Theriot and the Mets seem to be a perfect match, and it will be interesting to see if the two sides engage in contract negotiations soon.