Free Agent Wishlist

Yesterday I posted my list of preferred free-agent re-signs. Today I am posting my wish lists for signing non-Met free agents.

Because the Mets are more or less set at a number of positions, I’m breaking down the free agents into categories where the Mets need to fill a hole.

First, the pitching staff …

Starting Pitchers

1. Mark Mulder
I know, he’s injured and he won’t be ready until maybe June or July. I don’t care. He’s still only 29, and with a healthy arm and Rick Peterson watching, he should be able to recapture the magic that made him an up-and-coming lefthander. And he can learn to become a better pitcher with (hopefully) Tom Glavine around. In my mind it makes more sense to give him an inexpensive, incentive-laden contract than to give Barry Zito an overpriced, guaranteed, long-term deal.

2. Kerry Wood
Forget the injury history — if he’s healthy, he is the ace the Mets want — a Game One playoff starter. The Cubs pinned their hopes on him and were heartbroken, but if he isn’t healthy for the Mets, it won’t break the team. The upside is worth the gamble.

3. Gil Meche
He’s only worth it for a two-year, reasonable deal. If there’s a bidding war, drop out. Otherwise, he could be a nice pickup, as AL-to-NL seems to help pitchers immensely.

4. Ted Lilly
He’d be higher on the list, but the market will likely render him a ridiculous long-term, overpriced contract. But, if by chance he doesn’t command more than a 2-year deal, he would also benefit by a move to the NL.

5. Jeff Suppan
Two reasons. One — to keep him from pitching against us in the playoffs. Two — to replace the 150-200 ordinary innings Trax used to give us.

6. Barry Zito
Yes, in an ideal world I’d list him first. But I don’t think he’s worth a 5-year, $75M+ contract.

7. Tony Armas, Jr.

He’s only 28, and was on track to be a solid #2 or #3 before suffering injuries. He’s always been a tough kid and could be the sleeper of this free agent class.

8. Jason Schmidt
Another guy who would be higher on this list, but at 33, and being a power pitcher who might have thrown too many pitches, he won’t be worth the bidding-war dollars. If we had some inside info, like maybe knowing he was on the Roger Clemens HGH … er, I mean exercise … program, then he might be worth the risk.

9. Bruce Chen
Yeah, yeah, we’ve been down this road before. But he showed flashes of brilliance in Baltimore, and he should come cheap. I’d take a flyer on him over Jose Lima any day of the week.

No thanks – Daisuke Matsuzaka (not worth the posting fee), Mike Mussina (clubhouse cancer), Vicente Padilla (unmotivated — the Javier Lopez of pitchers), Adam Eaton (always overrated, and now injured), Randy Wolf (see Eaton)


Yes, the best bullpen in the NL needs help — lots of it. Of course, this wish list is centered on the dream that Aaron Heilman returns to the rotation.

1. Octavio Dotel
The Yankees were kind enough to pay for his rehab, and we can reap the rewards. If he’s healthy, and on the Mets, there would be no excuse not to give Heilman a shot as a starter.

2. J.C. Romero
The tough situational lefty the Mets have been missing since Dennis Cook was sent packing. His numbers have not been great, but the NL has never seen him, something that will be a great benefit if he makes the move to the senior circuit.

3. Troy Percival
Give him an incentive-laden flyer, cross your fingers, and you may have one of the top setup men in the NL.

4. Eddie Guardado
Another tough lefty, “Everyday Eddie” seemed to rejuventate his career as an NL reliever in Cincinnati. At worst he should be a reliable situational lefty (a la Jesse Orosco), at best he could do some setup work.

5. David Riske
Here is a 30-year-old righthander who does not allow baserunners in the AL. Imagine how effective he could be in the NL. And he might come cheap. Another potential sleeper.

6. Joe Borowski
Something of a nostalgic wish here … it’s time for the The Bayonne Bullet to come home. He’s also a tough SOB who throws strikes, like David Weathers used to. Might be a nice 7th- or 8th-inning guy.

7. Latroy Hawkins
He’s on the downside, but might have one more year as a solid 7th-inning guy.

8. Dustin Hermanson
He always had dirty stuff, and someone finally was bright enough to put him in the bullpen. Unfortunately, his arm couldn’t handle it and missed nearly all of 2006. He’s worth a flyer.

9. Scott Williamson
He’s been hurt, and he’s been awful. But he’s only 30, and might be worth a non-guaranteed, spring training invite flyer.

Second Base

1. Mark DeRosa
After a breakout season in Texas, he’ll likely get more than he’s worth. But in addition to his bat, I like his all-around play and hard-nosed approach to the game. We need more guys like Paul LoDuca on the team.

2. Mark Loretta
Like DeRosa, I like his bat and his all-around play. Assuming we keep Jose Valentin, he would be a good platoon player.

3. Alfonso Soriano
He’d be number one if his contract isn’t expected to be unrealistically exorbitant. Forget the crap that he’s a poor defender — he’s not THAT bad and Willie Randolph and Sandy Alomar would push him to concentrate and play at a high level in the field (he has the skills to be more than capable). With the Mets pitching staff looking perhaps weaker, they need all the offense they can get.

4. Adam Kennedy
He’s an NL-type player in the AL — he can hit-and-run, lay down a bunt, hit behind the runner, steal a base, and plays stellar defense. For a “contact” hitter, though, he strikes out too often — about 80 times a year. But nobody’s perfect, right? My biggest concern would be how he will adjust to NL pitching. Some guys like to see the fastballs, while others have a difficult time (Roberto Alomar, anyone?). If the Mets are serious about defense for second base, he is the no-brainer choice.

5. Julio Lugo
He’s the guy the Mets will likely get — assuming they don’t make a Soriano splash — but I’m not so high on this New York City native. For what he will cost, he doesn’t walk enough, he doesn’t score enough for a fast guy, and I feel like he might have an attitude problem. But then, I also thought in April 2006 that Endy Chavez and Jose Valentin were a wastes of roster spots.

6. Frank Catalanotto
He hasn’t played 2B in four years but he doesn’t hit enough to remain in the outfield. If he can be an adequate defender, I’d love to bring this all-around ballplayer and Smithtown native home to provide a spark. Yeah, it’s a reach, but he’s always been a personal favorite.

7. Craig Counsell
The poor man’s David Eckstein, Counsell is a scrappy guy who could flourish in the Mets’ strong lineup, though at this point he’d have to be a platoon guy.

Left Field

1. Carlos Lee
The best RBI man available, his presence would make the Mets lineup truly scary. A few years ago we signed a guy with a similar hitting style — Cliff Floyd. Hopefully Lee will have a healthier time. However, I don’t know that Omar Minaya will shell out the dough … it may depend on the Soriano / Zito sweepstakes. Interesting data: he struck out only 65 times in over 600 at-bats, while stroking 37 home runs … pretty impressive.

2. Moises Alou
I like bringing in Alou only if he’s brought in to platoon with Shawn Green, Cliff Floyd, or Jose Valentin. If he wants to be the everyday starter, I’d let him go elsewhere. He’d be a nice fit on this club. Like Lee, he rarely strikes out, and will take a walk.

3. Ryan Klesko
Laugh all you want, Klesko looked healthy at the end of September and this man can rake. The Mets can use a guy with his patience in their lineup.

4. Craig Wilson
People forgot about him after leaving Pittsburgh, but like Klesko, he can rake. Another option for a LF platoon with Floyd, plus he can play other positions, including catcher. The main drawback is his strikeout rate, which the Mets need to reduce.

5. David Dellucci
If Floyd leaves, Dellucci would be a nice platoon partner for Lastings Milledge. He’s a solid, all-around ballplayer, a good team player, and has postseason experience. Like Wilson, his negative is strikeouts.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
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