Alou and Easley in 2008
Not really huge news, as picking up Alou’s option was expected — but I for one am happy it’s been done as I can’t imagine going into the winter with holes in both outfield corners. If Alou can give the Mets 100+ games, he’s worth the $7.5M option. If he only appears in 85-90 (he was in 87 last year), then it’s kind of expensive. But hey, the Mets are not going to find a better hitter at that price, with only a one-year commitment, in this market. So I’m fully on board with bringing him back and having Endy Chavez, Carlos Gomez, and/or Lastings Milledge filling out the rest of the innings in left field.
The Easley signing is only mildly surprising. As we’ve reviewed here on MetsToday, there aren’t too many solid righthanded-hitting bench guys available this winter — and few, if any, have Easley’s versatility. Now if the Mets can get Marlon Anderson signed, he and Easley (and Endy) make for a promising bench in 2008.
One must figure that bringing back Easley will affect Jose Valentin, who is a free agent. Valentin still isn’t healthy, and won’t be until just before spring training begins. He wants to continue playing, but there wouldn’t appear to be room on Mets — especially if as expected they sign Luis Castillo and bring back Marlon. Valentin may try to hook on with a team that could give him a shot at semi-regular playing time — maybe the Giants or Reds? Who knows, maybe he can platoon at 3B with Wilson Betemit for the Yankees. Personally, I’ll miss “Stache”, and a part of me hopes there’s a spot for him on the Mets’ bench next season.
With Alou signed on, the main question in the outfield focuses on Lastings Milledge. Has he convinced Mets management that he’s ready to be a full-time rightfielder? Has he convinced other teams that he’ll be an All-Star some day? If the Mets make a significant trade this offseason — and all signs point to that happening — I don’t see how Milledge won’t be included. Even if he’s not traded, I’d have to think that the Mets are considering bringing in a big bat — likely a lefthanded one — as insurance or for a platoon with LMillz. Time will tell.