A Look At The OF Market
The OF market is certainly more appealing than the SS market. While there are still some names out there that are not likely, Carlos Beltran, there are a few that would seem to fit what the Mets are looking for this year. I am choosing just to lump all the OF together as I don't believe for the Mets it matters that much on what position they currently play.
Jason Kubel - $7.5MM club option
Mark DeRosa - $750K club option
Reed Johnson - $1.6MM club option
Chris Young - $11MM club option
David DeJesus - $6.5M club option
Coco Crisp - $7.5M club option
Franklin Gutierrez - $7.5M club option
That's certainly a mixed bag. First of all quite a few of those are just broken down bench players at best so those of the Andres Torres variety are not worth this discussion.
Out of the options players I do think that Kubel or Crisp would be good fits but I also expect both options to be picked up, thus they would go in the trade category. I am not sure what there value would even be.
Out of the next group you see a lot of RF which is ideal for the RFless Mets.
Beltran we know full and well. I just can't see the Mets or Beltran going down that road again so we shall move on.
Nelson Cruz is coming off his PED suspension and it really depends on his asking price. Cruz is consistently an .820ish OPS guy but playing in Texas that keeps his OPS+ rather modest at 114 for his career. Still an above average hitter who would fit the 5 spot in most lineups. His platoon splits are very even which for the Mets is always a plus as was his home and away splits this year but in the past that certainly has been more of an issue. His fielding? You will get an average to slightly below average RF who doesn't usually hurt himself there.
Choo, bless me, well thanks to Metsblog and other Mets media outlets we know a lot about Choo. Keith and Ron loved them some Choo. Of course the conspiracy theorist say that's because they are being paid to do so. However, there's a lot to like about him. The guy is an OBP machine. He also fits the Mets mold with doubles power and SB potential. If he were on the Mets with their aggressive baserunning I would expect 30+ steals. Would that speed and turning a few more doubles into triples make up for the most likely power loss? Hard to say. He certainly doesn't scare me as much as guys like Bourn and Ellsbury who seem to rely a little too much on their legs. For his career Choo has the following slash on the road:
.274 .376 .435 .811
Certainly respectable. With his fielding, just like Cruz to an extent, you will get a guy who will hold his own and normally not make a bad play to cost runs. Of course with Choo he is going to get paid. It's too early in the off-season to really determine what the market is. People like to throw out numbers, especially agents, this time of year so while there are rumors of 100M contract, I don't see it. I expect much more along the 5/80 line.
Ellsbury, Kingman's favorite man, is to me maybe the scariest OF in the class. I just don't know what to expect from him yet he appears the most likely of the group to garner the mega contract. Over the past 4 years he has played 18, 158, 74, 134 so there's great inconsistency there but that's not where it stops. Take a look at his last 5 years OPS. .770, .485, .928, .682, .781. Yes as Kingman pointed out in the comment section OPS isn't the end all be all. However, that up and down trend with one extraordinary, outlier, suspicious year raises all kinds of questions. Is he a lead off hitter that gets on base at an average rate and steals bases with occasional pop or is he the guy who finished 2nd in the MVP race back in 2011? While it's easy to say that's just a freak year and he shouldn't be paid based on it, we all know someone will be.
Byrd we all know very well. I won't waste our time explaining his merits. The question with Byrd is does he have another year like this in the tank or will he be the next Scott Hairston who garners a 2 year deal only to fade into nothingness? I expect Byrd to get something along the lines of a 2/12 deal but again it's early to be predicting exact salary.
Granderson I really haven't given that much thought to. To me he's Ike Davis in the OF. I worry that Yankee Stadium may have scared him for life. While he lost most of 2013, just look at 2012.
.232 .319 .492 .811 with 43 HR, 106 RBI and almost 50 more strikeouts than his HR and RBI combined at 196K's that's almost impressive that you could possibly strikeout that much and still manage 293 Total Bases. He's a decent defender that can still play a little CF in a pinch. What will he get paid considering his lost 2013? I have not a clue. What I do know is that slotting this type of guy in Citi behind David Wright is about as useless in my opinion going with Davis or Duda.
The rest of the list is mostly garbage in my opinion.
As yesterday, perhaps looking at the trade market for guys with only 1 year left on their deal is beneficial as well.
That list is highlighted by guys such as
Alex Rios - $13.5M club option
Actually all of those names have some upside. One thing is they are all most likely available. Cuddyer had an exceptional year and while playing in Coors is a red flag, it isn't like he just started hitting when he got there. He still managed a .311 .367 .485 .852 on the road this season. I do wonder though if because of that, he will demand too much in terms of prospects? The Rockies could most likely maximize his value by trading him at next summer's deadline.
Rios is finally at the end of a terrible contract. I would expect Texas to keep him and allow Cruz to walk.
I really like Aoki. He doesn't answer the HR threat needed but he's almost Choo lite. In two years in the majors .287 .355 .399 .755 isn't shabby and throw in about 30 2B, 10HR and 25 SB per season. If you could add a power hitting threat in LF or 1B he would be the perfect guy to add.
Willingham may have finally hit the wall called old age. He didn't have a good year at all and will be 35 to start the 2014 season. I would imagine that while he may be traded, he will stay in the AL.
Rasmus finally put together a strong season last year. .276 .338 .501 .840 is his best season since his 2nd season in 2010. He's still arbitration eligible so I expect him to net a hefty pay raise this year before FA. He made a little over 4.5M this year so 6.5-7M sounds reasonable for his final year. I expect Toronto to try and extend him to a long-term deal to add him to the core including Reyes. However, it's also possible that the Jays decide to blow the damn thing up route and trade anyone over the height of a wagon wheel... sorry I have been teaching the Mongols.
So now it comes to what do I expect? I expect the Mets to actually bring in two OF, one with some pop and one that fits their mold of a high OBP guy. I do honestly expect them to stay in the Choo race but pending the market ultimately bow out. So assuming they do not go that route, I could see Cruz and a trade for a guy like Aoki.