Jones, Gonzalez, Vizquel Off the Table
The first free agents of this winter’s pool have agreed to terms with new teams: Alex Gonzalez has moved on to the Toronto Blue Jays, and both Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel are moving from Texas to the Chicago White Sox.
How do these signings affect the Mets?
The Jays’ addition of Gonzalez — and their decision to re-sign middle infielder John McDonald — almost assures that Marco Scutaro will have a US address in 2010. Scutaro could possibly be a target of the Mets — particularly if they find a taker for Luis Castillo — but the latest report is that there is a mutual interest between Scutaro and the Red Sox.
Vizquel was likely never on the Mets’ radar, but he might’ve been a nice veteran presence — and ideal backup — for Jose Reyes.
Andruw Jones, on the other hand, seems like a missed opportunity. Before you spit on your computer screen screaming you never want to see that smirk of his in Flushing, consider that he signed for one year and a measly $500,000. Compare that to the $600K paid to Cory Sullivan last year, and the $925K given to Jeremy Reed, and maybe you can understand my point. The Mets are in dire need of power hitters, particularly those who play in the outfield. They also have a cavernous outfield that requires athletes with range and strong fielding skills. True enough, Jones is no longer a Gold Glove centerfielder, but I’m sure he’d be above average in a corner, and he showed last year that he can still hit the ball a long way — if not consistently (17 HR, 45 BB, 72 K, 18 2B, and .214 AVG in 83 games). Now, I wouldn’t sign him and say “OK, we have our slugger, all done!” — but jeez, $500K? Seems worth a gamble, no?
Of course, we have no idea if Andruw had interest in coming to the pressure cooker of NYC, and perhaps he would not have been a good fit. But we may want to compare his deal to other contract offers made to questionable sluggers this winter (i.e., Jermaine Dye).
As a reminder you can vote on all the Mets free-agent targets here.
However, I’m not seeing an Andruw Jones signing for 2010 being as attractive as it would have been a year ago. I say that because we are pretty certain the Mets are going no where in 2010. Regardless if he only needed a $500k contract to sign, why give a guy on the downside of his career a guarenteed roster spot on a bad team when the Mets could be giving longer looks at Nick Evans, Chris Carter, Angel Pagan, etc; i.e. younger guys who may actually have a future and a chance at developing further, instead of Jones, whose ride would likely only last a year and then expire. Plus, we know Jones likes to showboat and lollygag. These are not the traits I want hanging around the younger guys on the team, nor the characteristics that would jive well on a team notorious for poor fundamentals and desire. There’s a chance he could be a better role model know that he’s older and maturer, as in the case with Sheffield, but why roll the dice when there are SO many other options available? To me, it’s a wise pass on the part of the Mets, and not anything to be getting worked up over.