Similar to a bonus number on your lottery ticket, the “non-tenders” inject a new influx of talent into the free-agent market. This year there are a number of intriguing players who have just been cut loose as a result of the non-tender process, and are officially free agents — with no worries about Types nor draft pick compensation.
Here are a few that the Mets might consider targeting:
Something of an enigma, the power-hitting Gomes has had three disappointing seasons after showing great promise in his rookie season. His .182 average last season was abysmal, though he still put one over the fence at his usual rate of about once every 20 ABs. He’s weak in the field, strikes out too much, and at 28 is running out of time to fulfill his original potential as a future all-star. Teammates, managers, and fans love his emotional, hard-nosed approach to the game, but it’s his stick that makes him valuable. Putting him in the orange and blue would evoke memories of Dave Kingman. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery and a new set of eyes on him are what he needs to blossom. The Mets are desperate for a righthanded, power-hitting corner outfielder. Gomes would be worth rolling the dice on, no?
Can I mention the word enigma again? The big righthander is the righthanded version of Oliver Perez, only LESS consistent. At times, he’s dominating … most others, he’s a basket case. His upside is tremendous, he’s only 27, and he’s still trying to learning how to pitch. At 6’7″, he’s awkward and often looks uncoordinated, but who knows? It took Randy Johnson a while to figure it out … maybe Cabrera is right on the cusp.
An excellent closer, but coming off an elbow injury that makes him a huge question mark. The Mets won’t go after him — if they want to gamble on a damaged reliever, it will be Chad Cordero. But if the Dodgers don’t re-sign him, he may find a job as a closer for someone like the Cardinals.
He may never be the same after multiple arm injuries. However, he was still humming in the mid-90s in late September after recovering from a shoulder issue that affected him in the first half.
YADRNT – Yet Another Dodger Reliever Non-Tendered. Like Proctor and Saito, Brazoban has had serious arm injuries — and surgery on both his shoulder and elbow. The Dodgers originally dealt Duaner Sanchez to the Mets because they thought Brazoban was even better. However, he’ll likely re-sign with LA, on a minor league deal. Probably not worth gambling on, unless the Mets are willing to be patient with his continued recovery.
Interesting that the worst team in the NL is comfortable allowing their best starter test the waters, rather than pay him the paltry $3M or so he’ll get through arbitration. He’s not outstanding, but he’d be a nice fit at the back of the rotation. He didn’t miss a start in 2008.
The lefthander once showed great promise, but after two Tommy John surgeries and missing all of 2008, it’s hard to determine his value. He’s 28 years old, so there’s time to bounce back, but how long before the elbow goes again?
Another lefthanded starter who seemed to have a bright future but was befelled by serious injury (huh … so much for the value of pitch counts and babying pitchers, eh?). After going 11-4 with a 3.78 ERA as a rookie in 2006, James suffered a rotator cuff injury in late 2007 and hasn’t been the same since. He just turned 27 and still has time to make a comeback. The good thing going for him is that he was never a flamethrower, so a loss in velocity shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment.