Non-tenders To Consider
As a result of the non-tender deadline passing, a new influx of free agents has entered the market. Several could be valuable additions to the Mets. Let’s take a look at some in particular.
Hard-throwing righthander who has served as the Pirates’ closer for the past three years, he’d fit in nicely as a candidate for the open role of setup man. He throws a 95+ MPH fastball for tons of strikes and has the right demeanor for a late-inning reliever. The negatives: he has a history of shoulder and elbow issues that could be more of a problem in the future, and he sometimes he throws too many strikes — resulting in gopher balls. He’s coming off a terrible 2009 that saw him blow 5 saves, lose 8 games, and post a 5.80 ERA. But, more than one-third of his earned runs allowed came in three appearances covering two innings — take those away and his stats look much more palatable. In addition, he’s only 26 years old.
He just turned 34, but seems to be getting better with age. Last year he appeared in 45 games despite missing nearly a third of the season with an oblique injury. He posted a career-low 1.21 WHIP and 3.00 ERA. His rubber arm and tenacity remind me a lot of Turk Wendell.
The Mets need another LOOGY, Cotts is a fine one. He pitched in 19 MLB games and was demoted to AAA for ineffectiveness before undergoing Tommy John surgery in early July. He may not be available until after the All-Star break, but by that time the Mets might need a fresh arm coming out of the ‘pen.
The big (6’6″, 265 lbs.) righthander has some giddyup on the fastball and is an imposing figure on the mound. He’s battled elbow problems for most of his career, but he’s under 30 is tough on righthanded hitters.
The tall and wiry righthander has always had nasty stuff — a 95+ heater and a wicked slider — but has never shown enough command to keep a job in MLB. He walks too many batters, and doesn’t pitch well with runners on base — a bad combination. At 32, he is what he is — a sometimes dominating, other times frustrating enigma. Under the right pitching coach he might flourish. Oh wait, the Mets don’t have Dave Duncan. Never mind.
When healthy, he was the top starter for the Yankees. Need more be said? Unfortunately, he hasn’t been healthy, and there’s no way to know if his shoulder problems will ever go away. He’s under 30, and to me, seems worth rolling the dice.
UPDATE: Olsen re-signed with the Nats
Hard to believe this big lefty turns only 26 in January — seems like he’s been in the NL East a long time. He had a terrible 2009, which ended with surgery to repair a small tear in his labrum. However, it wasn’t a severe tear, and he’s scheduled to be recovered by spring training. Considering his youth and that he was once on his way to becoming a dominant starter, I’d be inclined to take a chance.
A big righthander with a rubber arm and a 94-95 MPH fastball that can touch 98. He’s had moderate success in the difficult AL East as a middle man and late-inning reliever, and could benefit from a move to the NL.
There’s a full post arguing his case here. Has the highest potential reward among non-tendered position players, but also could be risky depending on the price tag.
Showed promise in Cleveland, but fell out of favor when his power didn’t develop as hoped. His performance dropped off considerably after being traded to the Giants, which might be partially blamed by a nagging wrist injury. He kills lefties, but isn’t terrible vs. righthanders (.266 AVG / .755 OPS lifetime), either. He’ll take a walk and drive in runs, but he’s slow on the bases and is underwhelming in the field, regardless of where you put him. Interestingly, he was a catcher in the minors who was moved to 1B, and has stood in the outfield a dozen times. He and Dan Murphy put together might make one decent first baseman. Ideally, he’d put on the tools of ignorance again to increase his value.
Gomes fits the description of righthanded power-hitting outfielder, so he’s worth thinking about. Teammates love his attitude and hard-nosed approach to the game. On the down side, he does a lot of swinging and missing, is barely adequate in the field, and doesn’t take many walks. In other words, the poor man’s version of Jack Cust.
See Gomes, above, and add a bunch of walks. His dad has a real nice baseball facility in Flemington, NJ, as well.
All in all, not a bad bunch to consider. I included a number of pitchers because the Mets need pitching — particularly in the bullpen. And in the rotation. And in AAA for depth. And anywhere else a pitcher might be found.
Did I miss anyone? Post your comments below.