The Hot Stove Season Opens

stove2The Hot Stove Season is underway, and already we have a flurry of buzz and rumors. One whirlwind post from Adam Rubin is chock full of information (or misinformation, take your pick), which I’ll break down here.

(BTW, another hat tip to isuzudude, who may have to go on the MetsToday payroll.)

According to Rubin:

– Matt Holliday and Jason Bay may be too pricey for the Mets’ payroll
As much as I would like to see either of these players patrolling left field in Queens next year, I don’t know that they’re worth locking up for 5 to 8 years. Bay just turned 30 and Holliday turns 30 in January — which means that they’re both heading into the downward trend of their careers. In comparison, when the Mets signed Carlos Beltran to his long-term deal, he was still in his twenties, and heading into his peak years. With Scott Boras talking “Teixeira-like” money for Holliday, I’d be leery. However, I do believe the Mets need to make some kind of offer. Maybe they handle the bidding similarly to the way they bid for Barry Zito several years ago, when they made a firm, fair offer that fit their budget as opposed to the player’s demands.

Mike Cameron heads a list of “second tier” leftfielders to pursue
Cameron? Been there, done that, haven’t we? The thought is that Cameron’s centerfield range will translate to Citi Field’s spacious left field, and he’s a 25-30 homer threat. But the reality that we witnessed not so long ago was that Cameron is not nearly as good in a corner position as he is in center, and, if memory serves correct, he had the lightest 30-HR season on record in 2004 (meaning, many of those were solo shots and homers hit after the game was long decided). Consider that he’s hit 24-25 homers the past two years but only drove in 70 in each. That’s hard to do (btw, the stats say he hit .233 with RISP last year).

I’d consider Cameron on a really cheap, one-year deal, but wouldn’t make him a target.

– Luis Castillo is on the trading block
Regardless of whether you think Castillo is good enough for second base, the fact is, Mets fans have tired of him and want something new and shiny at the position.

– Orlando Hudson is the man they like at 2B
He would be new and somewhat shinier than Castillo. As long as he can be had for two years or less, go for it. But don’t expect him to be a savior.

– Bengie Molina is the backstop target
Have to agree here. Ironically, Ramon Hernandez is the only other free-agent catcher worth considering, but Hernandez’s main tool — his bat — is no longer a strength, and he was never great defensively. Bengie is the guy the Mets need to get, but let’s hope he can be had for two years or less.

– The Mets hope to bring back Alex Cora
Because …. ???????????????????????????

– Tim Redding and Jeremy Reed will be non-tendered
There is a possiblity Redding could still return. I’m fine with that, as long as it is a minor league deal (though, that’s unlikely). I will be sorry to see Reed go, as he played hard, did everything he was asked, flashed a good glove, exhibited good fundamentals, and was a strong pinch-hitter. Unfortunately his salary ($925K) is too high for a fifth outfielder. Perhaps he’d return on a lesser deal?

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.