This Week in the Mets Offseason: Their Best Free Agent Options

The MLB Offseason has been developing slower than any offseason in recent memory. It seems as if the MLB owners have decided to flip the script on the top free agent talent by waiting them out to lower their prices.

In years past the top players on the open market have waited teams out, forcing them to raise their offers in order to fend off teams competing for their talents. There have been a few big splashes this offseason from the Yankees, Angels, and Rockies, however, nothing from the Mets.

The Mets brass has confused the fan base with conflicting messages throughout the offseason. It has been said that they are not going to spend a lot of money and that they would have to be creative in their moves. That could mean signing less talented players in hopes of a breakout year, or trading for talent.

It doesn’t seem like the Mets are going to sign less talented players in hopes of a good season at the moment, but trading for players is not the smartest move or even the most feasible move for the Mets because of how weak the franchises farm system is at the moment.

It has also been reported that the Mets are willing to spend a bit more than publicly stated if prices were to drop to a reasonable level, which in all honesty is not something you can believe is true until something actually takes place.

How much will the Mets be willing to spend to fill their holes, and what is the reasonable level for this team to spend? It is hard to tell, but they do have plenty of options still available to look into on the free agent market and there are three signings that they could make that aren’t extremely costly.

These three moves would essentially fill the three holes that Sandy Alderson has stated are the most important spots to fill this offseason. The positions these players play are Third Base, Right Field, and a Relief Pitcher. This would fill the Second/Third Base, First Base/Corner Outfield, and Bullpen holes.

1. The first player the Mets should sign is Mike Moustakas. Moustakas is coming off a career year in which he hit 38 Home Runs, drove in 85 runs, and hit .272. Now Moustakas has only had one other good year in his career at the plate which was 2015 when he hit .285, had 82 RBI’s and hit 22 Home Runs.

In 2016 he only played in 27 games due to injury, so it is reasonable to think he could be the above average offensive player he has shown to be in his last two full MLB seasons. On top of his offensive success, he has proven to be an above average defensive player at the hot corner, which is something the Mets have lacked since David Wright went down a few years ago.

There are not many teams with holes at Third Base this Offseason, so the Mets may be able to sign Moustakas to a 4 year 60-65 million dollar deal that would lock him up through his age 33 season, the end of his prime athletic years. The contract is not overly expensive and there is a bit of a risk involved, but the Mets window of opportunity to win is small and Moustakas would undoubtedly make them better.

As of now, the Mets have Asdrubal Cabrera penciled in as their Opening Day Third Baseman, but a signing of Moustakas would simply move him to Second Base. The Mets have openly stated they would prefer to keep Cabrera at Third rather than second but a guy like Moustakas would probably change their tune.

2. The second signing the Mets should make is Addison Reed. Reed has spent parts of three seasons with New York and has absolutely dominated. in 142 innings pitched in a Mets uniform he has a 2.09 ERA, with a WHIP of 1.014, and 21 saves.

Reed has pitched much better as a Met than anywhere else and the Mets know he can perform in New York. To sign Reed the Mets would have to offer a deal 2-3 years in length for 18-27 million dollars. That would be big deal, but it would make the Mets bullpen one of the best in the league with five reliable arms in the pen.

Personally, I do not think the Mets need another Reliever considering they have five starters competing for three spots in the rotation and the losers are bound to fall into the bullpen, however, Alderson stated the team was looking to add two guys to the Bullpen at the Winter Meetings so it is a possibility especially considering three of the Mets current relievers are Free Agents after this season.

3. The final signing the Mets should make is Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez was once one of the most feared hitters in the MLB that was also a perennial Gold Glove candidate. On top of that, he was constantly on the Mets radar throughout the years as Sandy Alderson has always been interested in him.

No trade ever panned out and after the worst season in his career, Gonzalez is now a free agent and a possible fit for the Mets. He is no longer the gold glove outfielder he once was and his offense dropped off significantly last year, making him a candidate for a one year deal.

Gonzalez is not a perfect fit for the Mets for a few reasons. The first and most important flaw that CarGo has is his inflated numbers from playing at Coors Field in Colorado for his basically entire career. When looking at his numbers split between Home and Away games the numbers are startling.

With the Rockies and part of one season with the Athletics, he has a career average at his home field of .323, 132 Home Runs, and 462 RBI’s in 592 games played. Away from home, he has a career average of .252, 83 Home Runs, and 249 RBI’s in 587 games played. A Stark difference in his production in a similar amount of games which definitely hurts his stock.

His weak numbers away from Coors Field are not the only problem that he has. Although he was once one of the best defensive corner outfielders in the game he is no longer a Gold Glove contender which is why he has reportedly been taking grounders at First Base this offseason. The possibility of Gonzalez being able to play First Base and the Outfield make him a bit more enticing to the Mets, who are looking for versatility.

In order to obtain Carlos Gonzalez, the Mets could offer a one year deal worth 8 million in guaranteed money with 5 million dollars worth of incentives attached to it. The one year deal is perfect for both sides and if the Mets struggle but CarGo has a good season it makes him a perfect trade chip at the trade deadline.

In reality, CarGo is not as good of an option as players like Jay Bruce and Lorenzo Cain for the Mets, but he is a player that could benefit from a change of scenery and costs less than the other options, making him that much more enticing to the Mets.

These three signings would not break the bank for a team that is very money conscience and they would easily make the team a more realistic playoff contender. CarGo and Moustakas would lengthen the lineup and Reed would immediately improve the bullpen.

If the Mets had more money to spend or a stronger farm system they could make moves that would make this team not just a playoff contender but a World Series contender. Unfortunately, cheap owners and poor scouting make that scenario impossible.

Even with lack of resources in the money and the minor league departments, these three signings would only cost the Mets 32 Million dollars and they would then have spent 39 million dollars on Free Agents for the upcoming season.

The 39 Million is only 9 million more than it was believed they would spend on Free Agents and as I said earlier they have indicated they would spend a bit more if the price was right for certain talent, so this could be the situation that the would go a bit farther than publicly stated.

Now let’s look at the lineups that the Mets could run out on Opening Day with Moustakas and Gonzalez on the roster. The First lineup will be if the Mets’ young star Conforto is healthy on Opening Day and Dominic Smith wins the First Base job, the second will be without both, the third with Conforto but not Smith, and the fourth with Smith but not Conforto.

1. CF Conforto     1. CF Lagares/Nimmo             1. CF Conforto              1. CF Nimmo/Lagares

2. 2B Cabrera        2. 2B Cabrera                               2. 2B Cabrera                 2. RF Conforto

3. LF Cespedes     3. LF Cespedes                             3. LF Cespedes               3. LF Cespedes

4. 3B Moustakas   4. 3B Moustakas                        4. 3B Moustakas           4. 3B Moustakas

5. RF Gonzalez       5. RF Gonzalez                             5. RF Gonzalez               5. 1B Gonzalez

6. SS Rosario            6. 1B Flores                                    6. 1B Flores                     6. 2B Cabrera

7. C d’Arnaud           7. SS Rosario                                 7. SS Rosario                   7. SS Rosario

8. 1B Smith                8. C d’Arnaud                               8. C d’Arnaud                   8. C d’Arnaud

9. Pitcher                    9.  Pitcher                                       9. Pitcher                           9. Pitcher

Now, these lineups are not perfect but Moustakas make them strong 1-5 even without Conforto. Obviously, the Mets would like Conforto to bat somewhere in the middle of the lineup as opposed to leading off but they simply don’t have anyone on their roster who is an accomplished leadoff hitter so that is where Conforto has to hit.

Moustakas and Gonzalez are not perfect fits for this team, but they make the Mets a better team offensively and defensively. That is all a team hoping to compete can ask for when they are penny-pinching. The Mets should sign these three players and we will see if they do sometime soon.

January 7, 2018

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