Because I am a NY sports fan, I pay a fair amount of attention to the Mets as well as the Yankees, even if I only cheer for the team in the Bronx. Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons but will be looking to retool (well, even more than usual) because they’re moving into new stadiums.
So what will the Mets do this offseason?
Well, a friend of mine who is a Mets fan said he expected them to make K-Rod priority #1 and then pursue another arm or two for the rotation and the pen while finding a new second baseman. He thought maybe they’d let top prospect Fernando Martinez come up and play the outfield.
Martinez is not really practical just yet – no more than Austin Jackson would be for the Yankees. So really a corner outfielder is a need for the Mets as well.
I think the Mets should focus on acquiring three players: a closer, an outfielder, and a starter. Having a weak second baseman (ie, Luis Castillo) isn’t the end of the world as long as they are getting the proper production out of their other spots.
The three big names for those positions are K-Rod, Manny, and CC. The Mets won’t land CC – if he comes East, he’ll be in pinstripes – but expect the Mets to be in on K-Rod and Manny.
I think at the end of the day though, the Mets would be better off going with with cheaper alternatives at each spot. Here are the three players I would target: Brian Fuentes, Bobby Abreu, and Derek Lowe.
Closers are overrated but the Mets do need a reliable arm to stabilize their bullpen. Fuentes would provide that at half the cost of K-Rod, who is reportedly looking for a $75 million deal. There are rumors that Minaya is indeed looking at giving Fuentes a 3 year, $36 million deal, which would make some sense.
Bobby Abreu is consistent and reliable and will come at a significant discount compared to Manny. He loves playing in NY, gets on base 40% of the time, and has some speed.
Derek Lowe is also a consistent workhorse and he’s looking to move back to the east coast. The Mets have some young arms and Lowe would help take the pressure off of them by throwing his usual 200+ innings each season.
The Mets should take some chances on a few other bullpen arms who are in the AL junk pile. Remember, LaTroy Hawkins was destroyed as a Yankee but then was lights out for the Astros. When you’re in the NL, there is no reason to spend big money on middle relief.