Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors released his predictions last night for where he feels the top 50 free agents will call home next season. Of the group, Dierkes believes the Mets will bring in four (amazing, right?) to include: Curtis Granderson, Stephen Drew, Bronson Aroyo and Roy Halladay. I don't know what you think of that crop, but here are my feelings...
Curtis Granderson - 3 years/$45MM
I hadn't really given Granderson much consideration going into this offseason for some reason. The soon to be 33 year old ranked 13th on the MLB Trade Rumors list, so I'm not sure how he made it under my radar. Granderson missed much of last year due to separate fracture injuries, which I don't tend to hold against players (impact injuries are bad luck, strains/sprains can theoretically be avoided). A three year deal could be an attractive commitment length to Alderson & Co., but fans will need to temper there expectations. Making the transition from friendly dimensions of Yankee Stadium to the expansive outfield of Citi Field will do a number on Granderson's forty home run potential, but he still possesses what would easily be the best outfield bat on the team. Do it: Yes.
Stephen Drew - 4 years/$40+MM
Drew finds his way to #14 on the MLB Trade Rumors list, and I'm not really sure why. I don't understand why so many of my Mets counterparts are so enamored with a player who has topped 120 games played in only one season since 2010. At best hes likely a .250 hitter with 15 home run potential, who despite being a significant upgrade offensively at shortstop would be without question the most risky contract Alderson & Co. have dealt out in his tenure in my opinion. I'd much rather see the Mets steer towards Jhonny Peralta who hits for a stronger average, with comparable power potential and better health. He also stands to be the cheaper of the two. Do it: No.
Bronson Arroyo - 2 years/$24MM
Arroyo is the definition of what the Mets are looking for this offseason. A veteran innings eater with upside. Arroyo, who lands at 23rd on the list, has pitched no fewer than 199 innings in every season since 2004. He has also posted double digit wins in all but two of those seasons. He has pitched to a sub 3.80 ERA the past two years and could benefit transitioning from the hitter-friendly All American Ball Park in Cincinnati to Citi Field. While agree with those who say that a guaranteed deal worth $20+MM is a lot to hand a 38 year old pitcher with a lot of miles on his arm, if Arroyo will agree to a only a two year deal its a no brainer in my opinion. Do it: Yes.
Roy Halladay - 1 Year/$??MM
Doc squeezed onto the list at number 49, and may be there more so due to his past than his current potential. Halladay is a shell of the pitcher who had 16 or more wins from 2006 to 2011. He started only 13 games in 2013 in a failed attempt to pitcher through injury. I guess what really makes the difference in this instance is how much is he going to cost. I find it hard to believe that a pitcher of his stature would accept a minor league deal (regardless of the cost). The only thing the Mets have a lot of is starting pitching. Halladay could arrive at spring training and be beat out by any one of several young pitchers for what I expect would be the fifth and final spot in the rotation. I agree that the Mets will bring in at least one low risk, high reward types this winter, but I'm not sure Halladay fits that mold. Do it: No.
There predictions account for what would be no less than $37MM in new payroll this winter, leaving an estimated opening day payroll of nearly $90MM. That's about where I've said the team would top out. Again, I'd prefer to see the organization be more thrifty at shortstop so that that money can be applied to the outfield or first base. Further more, if the Mets are active in the trade market, the money represented here might not be available.
This wouldn't be a bat crop of free agents, despite the fact I would steer away from some of them. They would produce a Mets team with significantly more potential in 2014. A playoff team...I'm not sure. At a minimum the Mets would need at least another corner outfielder and probably more production from first base. Perhaps that's what the trade market is for. Only time will tell. What do you think of these guys? Are they a recipe for success, or would the Mets simply be asking for trouble?