While reading this story on the lowered bond ratings for Citi Field, one tidbit jumped out at me: the Mets are the only team this winter that has not signed a Major League free agent. Is that possible? More to the point: will they sign a free-agent to a MLB contract?
I’m really not sure, but I think it’s entirely possible that the Mets don’t sign anyone to a big-league deal. Right now, the top candidate to get a MLB contract from the Mets is Scott Hairston, and it’s looking more and more like he’ll go elsewhere. What other free agents might the Mets consider, who would require a guaranteed MLB deal (as opposed to a minor-league contract / spring training invite)?
If the Mets don’t sign Hairston, they can probably get Austin Kearns on a minor-league deal. However, they almost certainly would need to give a big-league deal to Delmon Young. I don’t see any other OFs who would absolutely require a MLB contract; maybe Luke Scott?
The only other position player I see the Mets offering a big-league deal to would be a utility man, like Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Baker, Adam Kennedy, or Ryan Theriot. Maybe the Mets would offer a big-league deal to a catcher such as Jesus Flores or Chris Snyder. Otherwise, a MLB contract would likely go to a pitcher. But could the Mets get away with not offering a Major League deal to a pitcher?
If the Mets are serious about upgrading the bullpen, they’d likely have to offer a big-league contract to Brian Wilson, Matt Capps, Brandon Lyon, J.P. Howell, Francisco Rodriguez, Jon Rauch, Brett Myers, or Jose Valverde. But if they go for other relievers from the free-agent pool, they may be able to get them as non-roster FAs with minor league deals.
Finally, there are the starting pitchers. Since there hasn’t been much buzz outside Flushing around Chris Young, the Mets might be able to bring him back with another incentive-laden, minor-league deal. Otherwise, it will take a big-league deal to sign Joe Saunders, Freddy Garcia, Shaun Marcum, or Carl Pavano. Those who might be available on minor league deals include (among others) Chien-Ming Wang, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, Jonathan Sanchez, and Aaron Cook.
What do you think? Will the Mets go the entire offseason without signing a Major League free agent? If not, what position(s) / role(s) do you think they’ll try to fill with MLB free agents? If you have specific players in mind, put them in your comments as well.
About the Author
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.