Now that the 2017 season has concluded and the New York Mets are finalizing their coaching staff, we can turn our attention to the Free Agent market.
The hot stove is on and it’s ready for some grilling. Time for the New York Mets to get out there and get signing!
It’s no secret that the 2018 Mets will look much different than the 2017 Opening Day roster. Although the team did the right thing by selling off a bevy of expiring deals midseason, that production will have to be replaced if the Mets have any aspirations of competing come this year.
These rankings will not necessarily include all of the top available free agents because let’s face it, realistically not every player fits with the Mets and some of the top players will undoubtedly price themselves out of the Mets’ range.
Therefore, the rankings are based on some combination of fit, need, value, and likelihood of being signed.
We know the Mets’ major needs include the bullpen arms, a veteran starter, at least one infielder, and an outfielder Let’s dive into the rankings.
1. Greg Holland
If the Mets decide to make a big money splash this offseason, they should make an investment in the backend of the bullpen. Bringing in an elite closer like Holland would solidify what has been the team’s weakest position group for years.
After missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Holland made headlines this spring with his dominant performance through the season’s opening months in Colorado.
Greg Holland has more saves (17) than four-fifths of the NL East has wins (Mets 16, Braves 15, Phillies 14, Marlins 14).
— Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot) May 17, 2017
He was the game’s top closer for that period until he hit a snag in August when his ERA finally ballooned due to a bad stretch of games.
The good news was he finished the season out strong in September and posted a 41-save season in the process. He recently declined his $15 million option for 2018 and was consequently given the Qualifying Offer by the Rockies.
Although Wade Davis will be considered the top option on the market this offseason, Holland is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to land a contract of 4 years, $50 million, roughly $10 million less than Davis’ projected deal.
Holland and Davis are the same age, and Holland brings more experience in the closer’s role to the table (three 40+ save seasons). It is also important to remember that he pitched in Colorado this year, which is by far one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the majors.
Holland fits the Mets’ most important need and will not break the bank.
2. Todd Frazier
When it comes to “the Toddfather” you know what you are going to get. Yes, his batting average is routinely hovering around the Mendoza line and, yes, he strikes out a ton. But, there’s an argument to be made that that’s the trend of the new MLB.
What he does well is what the new age of baseball values. He got on base at a .344 clip this season and slugged 27 home runs between the Yankees and White Sox, including a monster shot at Citi Field.
Frazier is also above average with the glove and a two-time All Star. He brings leadership qualities on and off the field, is a local kid from New Jersey, and can handle the New York spotlight.
In fact, he embraced New York this year and was at the forefront of the “thumbs down” Yankees movement during their postseason run. He represents a bargain at a projected 3 years, $33 million contract when compared to Mike Moustakas’ 5 years, $85 million.
Frazier also posted a 3.4 WAR in 2017, almost twice the value of Moustakas’ 1.8 WAR. Value, fit, and likelihood would make Frazier a thumbs up signing for the Mets this offseason.
3. Jay Bruce
It wasn’t very long ago that Jay Bruce “couldn’t handle New York,” yet here we are hoping he comes back to a Mets team that could certainly use him. The case for Bruce is simple; he’s proven with the team, he brings power and on-base ability, and he serves as major insurance for the Mets’ top two players.
Yes, Bruce creates a bit of a log jam in the outfield by pushing Michael Conforto to center, but two of the biggest questions the Mets face this year will be in the outfield. Yoenis Cespedes has battled lower half injuries since he arrived in Queens and the early indications are that Conforto will start 2018 on the disabled list.
The Mets need a power bat, and Bruce fits the need. He can also represent solid value considering MLB Trade Rumors projects him for a 3 year, $39 million deal. Bruce also knows rookie manager Mickey Callaway from his stint with the Indians this season.
Although Bruce isn’t the sexy name, he is a proven commodity at a position of need for the 2018 Mets. He has also shown versatility on the Mets by playing a passable first base, which could be valuable if Dominic Smith falters this season.
4. Addison Reed
Another former Met makes the list, and again it seems like a pretty obvious fit. Reed checks all the boxes for the Mets.
He has closer’s experience with the Mets in New York, he fits in with the clubhouse, and he will not be at the top of the relief market.
Reed at $9 million per year is a better value than Holland at $15 million or Davis at $15+ million. Reed is four years younger and has appeared in 55 or more games in each of the last six years.
In his Mets’ tenure, Reed offered versatility by filling in at closer and produced strong results by maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA.
5. CC Sabathia
Following Bruce, we get another player who has produced in New York. The 37-year-old’s career is without a doubt on the back nine, yet the last two years have seen him undergo a “renaissance” of sorts.
CC has turned into a pure contact pitcher as his groundball and soft contact percentages were both up roughly 5% from his career average in 2017. This transformation helped him drop his ERA to 3.69 on the year.
He is projected to command a 2-year, $24 million deal and reportedly would prefer to stay with the Yankees. However, the Yankees do not seem likely to guarantee a second year, which opens up a chance for the Mets to sway him to move across town.
The Mets’ starting rotation has more questions than answers and desperately needs a veteran who can log a full season’s worth of starts. That coupled with CC’s well-documented leadership value would make him a strong addition to the young Mets rotation.
CC is nails in the postseason as well, and not just this year; he has been a top playoff pitcher dating back to his years with the Brewers.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 22, 2017
Yet, Lynn will command a huge deal, possibly $100 million, which is unrealistic for the Mets. And when it comes to Cobb, he has had difficulty staying on the field for most of his career, and will also command much more than CC on the open market.
CC needs to be the Mets’ top priority when it comes to a veteran starter.
6. Carlos Gomez
This one seems a bit odd, but there’s a compelling case to be made for Gomez to the Mets on a short-term deal.
Lorenzo Cain is the undisputed top center fielder on the market, but Gomez represents a major value opportunity for the Mets. For starters, Cain is going to command a long-term deal by MLB Trade Rumors, 4-year, $70 million, while Gomez is projected by to get a 2-year, $22 million deal.
But Gomez and Cain are both the same age (31) and have a speed and power combination. Obviously, these types of players start to lose their speed when they reach their thirties.
Gomez on a shorter deal makes more sense because he can play adequately in center, and actually produced strong power numbers in 2017.
Gomez hit 17 home runs and drove in 51 runs in just 105 games. Both of those marks were higher than Cain, who played in 155 games this season.
Gomez was on pace for a 20-20 season, but fell just short due to injury. Yes, it’s true he has had trouble staying on the field the past three seasons, but his 25-25 potential provides a high ceiling.
Gomez brings some heavy risk to the table, but his ceiling could make a short-term deal worth the risk for the Mets.
7. Jake McGee
McGee is a sneaky-good lefty and would make for a strong addition to the Mets bullpen in 2018. His injury history limited to a 2-year deal with Colorado heading into 2016, but the last two seasons have seen his value repaired.
McGee pitched in 62 games in 2017, posting a 3.61 ERA and a 9.1 K/9. One of the issues the Mets bullpen has endured over the past seasons is the lack of a second lefty.
Jerry Blevins is an elite left-hander and adding McGee would create a tormenting lefty tandem. McGee can pitch an inning or more at a time as well, so he does not need to be used as a pure LOOGY.
His projected contact of 3-years, $18 million is fair for a lefty who can handle late-inning work.
- Jason Vargas SP
- Eduardo Nunez UTIL
- Steve Cishek RP