Free agent preview: New York Mets

The Mets completely collapsed in the second half, but let's be honest….isn't a 74 win season a success for this team considering what we knew about them going into 2012? At any rate, there probably won't be a lot of movement with this Mets team, unlike in other years, because of the team's financial situation. There will likely be *some* money that can be spent, but not a ton.

Needs
The Mets pitching staff will actually be pretry solid going into 2013, with Johan Santana and RA Dickey leading a rotation along with the younger Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey, and potentially stud prospect Zach Wheeler. The bullpen loses a ton of moving pieces, but Frank Francisco will unfortunately be back, along with the fireballing Bobby Parnell. But on the diamond, the Mets will be missing substantial pieces. Center fielder Andres Torres might get DFAed. Jason Bay is still overpaid and consistently hurt in left field. Scott Hairston, a bench player who got considerably playing time, is a free agent. So…there's that.

Possible Options
New York can't really afford much, and I think they'll end up going with a youth movement. Kirk Nieuwenhuis along with potentially Mike Baxter could start in the outfield, I can see the Mets going after lower tier free agent relievers like they did last offseason with Francisco and Jon Rauch, and I think that they could go after some guys like Takashi Saito, Octavio Dotel, or (god forbid) Kevin Gregg. Bringing back Tim Byrdak would probably be a welcome move as well.

Trade Optioins
How much does Sandy Alderson want to blow the team up? David Wright will be a free agent after the 2013 season, and the team wants to sign him long-term. If they can't come to terms with Wright on an extension, they could shop him and try to get a nice return for him. I think the Mets would also *love* to purge Jason Bay from the roster, if not for his contract than for his roster spot. I think the team would listen on Johan Santana with their depth of young pitching, but his contract and shoulder problems would likely cause people to be very wary of picking him up, and if they did, the Mets would likely need to eat most of the contract. Another interesting name mentioned in trade rumors: first baseman Ike Davis, enterting his first of four arbitration years this offseason. Davis missed most of 2011 and started slow in 2012, but finished with an .888 OPS and 20 homers in the second half. The team could likely get a solid package of young players for Davis, but trading him would be a little silly in my mind.

Trade Targets
Young position players is what the team should be looking at, specifically outfielders and corner infielders (if Wright and/or Davis is dealt). The Mets have a lot of slightly above average regulars, but they have no stars aside from Wright (and potentially Davis), and their outfield was a horror show last season. I don't think it has a chance in hell at happening without trading Wheeler, but Justin Upton would be a perfect fit in New York. His contract won't kick into eight figures until 2014, when Bay and Santana's contracts are over and done with. 2013 will likely be more of a transition year for the Mets to determine just where they stand in the future, and who they will build around. If they can't get Wright signed for six more years or so, looking for the next franchise cornerstone in the meantime wouldn't be a bad move at all.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and an associate editor at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is smack dab in the middle of some of the best (and worst) sports fans in the country.

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