Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Mets have been notorious lately for not making any notable moves during the offseason. However, if the organization is ready to turn around it’s fortunes, this offseason needs to be different. Without Matt Harvey, the team we put on the field next season will not be ready to make a playoff push but if that is the goal for 2015, it’s time to build a team that welcomes Harvey back as the missing piece. Now while our starting rotation and a few other positions appear to be solidified, there are some spots that I couldn’t even predict the Opening Day starter for next season.
Free agency is a resource for finding the right pieces to fit you’re roster but if used poorly, it can make your team worse. For the Mets, there is no need to sign any big name starting pitchers or a big power hitter just because they’re available. Sometimes a team doesn’t need to sign any stars at all and I believe the Mets are in this position. Winning teams are the teams that use free agency in the correct way; for example, look at the World Series match-up this season.
The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals both reached that point because they have the perfect balance of homegrown stars and free-agent role players. We have homegrown stars in David Wright, Matt Harvey and perhaps the others that may follow. This offseason is about finding the right guys to fit the Mets’ needs.
Here are 5 free agents the Mets need to target for the 2014 season:
5) Geovany Soto – C – Soto was once the Rookie of the Year and an All-Star but over the course of his 9-year career, his bat has diminished a bit. However, an offensive backup catcher is not what we need because d’Arnaud is projected to be a catcher known more for his hitting. What we need is a catcher who is defensively sound and has experience to work with a young pitching staff. Soto has been a league leader in several defensive categories and is both the active and career leader in range factor as a catcher. Backup catchers are usually known more for their defense but it seems as if winning teams always have one who delivers clutch hits; Soto could be that guy for us for a cheap price.
4) JP Howell – RP – One thing the Mets pitching staff lacked for most of the season was a lefty out of the bullpen. Tim Byrdak, Scott Rice and even Pedro Feliciano all had times of inconsistency at points during the season. For as long as we’re considering Bobby Parnell to be the closer, I think this is the one addition the Mets should make to their bullpen. Although he held lefties to a .164 avg, Howell isn’t just a lefty specialist; he also held righties to just a .222 avg in about as many at-bats. He also had a knack for coming into games and getting out of big jams and posted a 0.77 ERA while holding batters to an average of .118 during September and October. He could be a useful addition to the bullpen without having to spend tons of money on a closer.
3) Shin-Soo Choo -OF- Choo may be asking too much and should only be targeted if the front office feels it has no Major League-ready prospects. But there is no doubt he would be a great addition to the top of the lineup with his ability to frequently get on base. He has above average power for a potential lead-off hitter and plays a very good outfield at any of the three positions. The Mets could use some extra offensive production from the outfield and I could live with an outfield of Duda-Choo-Lagares.
2) Clint Barmes – SS – Peralta will probably be asking too much and I’m not high on Stephen Drew but as of right now, we don’t have a Major-Leaguer at shortstop. Barmes isn’t much of an offensive threat but he will provide at times and excels on the defensive side. We aren’t going to find players like Jose Reyes often but Barmes is a definite upgrade from Ruben Tejada or Omar Quintanilla at the position. We don’t need a shortstop who will carry the offense but we do need one who will anchor the defense. Barmes is a veteran who makes smart plays and will solidify our infield defense and he should come at a cheap price.
1) James Loney – 1B –From what I’ve been reading all over other blogs, Loney is the guy that every team wants at first but the Mets need to make a push for Loney. I’m completely ready to move on from the Ike Davis tryout period and pick up a first baseman that will produce. Often forgotten about, Loney came up at the same time as Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and has quietly had a very productive career. He doesn’t strike out a whole lot (which alone makes him better than Ike), can hit for power and average while driving in runs and isn’t a liability at first base. He doesn’t have the power that someone like Mike Napoli would provide but he is a better all-around hitter and would be an enormous upgrade at the position for the Mets.
I could’ve just looked at each position the Mets need to fill and chose the best available player but that just isn’t realistic nor would I want the Mets to do that. While they may not be the best player at their respective positions, I feel these are the types of players the Mets should be looking to acquire. There are plenty of other options and surely the Mets will not sign all, if any, of these guys but I want to hear from the readers. What free agents would you want the Mets to pursue? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter.
Thanks to CBS for the complete list of free agents.