While the New York Mets explore top free agents to add to their club, there are many players on the free agent market who could make Flushing their home in 2014.
While the Mets have been mentioned in talks surrounding Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, it’s highly unlikely that the club will choose to allocate the amount of resources it would entail to bring him to New York. If the Mets were to sign Abreu (or another top tier free agent), they would likely limit spending in other areas in an effort to maintain financial flexibility. With the club needing upgrades at several positions in 2014, the following free agents could represent upgrades at a fraction of the cost.
SS Rafael Furcal: The 36-year-old veteran is coming off Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the 2013 season. Furcal has been hampered with injuries since 2008 -he has played more than 130 games only once since- but has remained fairly consistent with both his bat and arm. Furcal last contemplated retirement following a fractured thumb in 2011, but has yet to mention the possibility of ending his career following his latest setback. If he were to choose to return to baseball, he would make plenty of sense for New York. He last compiled a .264/.325/.346 slash in 2012, a mark significantly higher than the .215/.285/.276 clip that New York’s shortstops produced in 2013. Furcal could likely be had for a small commitment -Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-2M guaranteed with a package of incentives- and if the Mets choose to spend on the outfield, first base, or rotation, he could make sense for the club.
1B/RF Corey Hart: Hart sat on the sidelines during the 2013 season after undergoing left knee surgery and will return to big league action in 2014. The 32-year-old has traditionally been an exceptionally poor defender in right field but has been slightly less of a liability at first base. Luckily, Hart has enough pop to make his defensive woes more bearable. He has connected for 20 home runs or more in five of six full campaigns and has traditionally ranked as 20-30% greater than the average offensive player. Hart has stated that he wishes to return to Milwaukee, but if the two were to split he could provide a nice alternative to Ike Daivs or Lucas Duda if either or both falter.
OF/1B Michael Morse: There’s no way around saying that Morse endured an anemic 2013. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t worth a second look. The soon-to-be 32-year-old free agent outfielder was plagued with injuries in 2013 and could be a rebound candidate in 2014. He’s only one year removed from producing a .291/.321/.470 clip that followed an even more impressive .303/.360/.550 effort in 2011. It’s rough to gauge how teams will value Morse, but he has significant value if he can rebound and is the type of player who would be an ideal fit for the middle of the Mets lineup.
OF Nate McLouth: The Mets already possess a similar player in Eric Young Jr, but McLouth would be an ideal platoon candidate with the 2013 stolen base champion if they chose to go in that direction. McLouth’s overall .258/.329/.399 line may not open many eyes, but his .272/.342/.411 effort against right-handed pitching is worth a second look. When paired with Young’s .259/.319/.324 clip against left-handed pitching, the two would make for an ideal platoon atop the lineup in left field.
SP Scott Feldman: Bronson Arroyo seems to be the name that most people have connected with the Mets, but Feldman makes far more sense. The 30-year-old back-end of the rotation righty certainly won’t dazzle, but he’ll provide valuable innings while the club awaits the arrivals of pitching prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard. Feldman is in line to receive a multi-year commitment and could be one of the better bargains for the club.
Are there any lower tier free agents that you hope to see the Mets pursue? Chime in below and let us know your thoughts!
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