Jose Bautista
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

These two veterans can fill the New York Mets’ holes all the while playing on low risk, high reward contracts. 

We’ve heard it time and time again, the New York Mets front office will be working with a constrained financial situation this winter as they attempt to right the ship in 2018. The organization will never tell us how much money they actually have to spend, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post estimates the budget being in the ballpark of $10 million.

So how do you fill so many holes (veteran starter/reliever, outfielder, second baseman) with such little cash to spend? Well, the answer is simple.

Take a deep dive into the bargain bin, hoping to extract role players and create a usable Frankenstein.

New York Mets

What you’ll find is that this group only consists of flawed veteran players. So which players are available that can fit the Mets best when it comes to specific skills and cheap contracts?

Bartolo Colon 

The Mets rotation lacked an important thing last season, pitchers consistently eating innings. Ace pitcher Jacob deGrom was able to throw 201.1 innings and the rest of the starters weren’t even close.

So, obviously it makes sense to bring back Bartolo to eat innings, and he tends to agree with that idea.

You’re telling me Big Sexy is willing to take a minor league deal to return to Queens, the only place he would like to play for the 2018 season? It seems like a no-brainer because Colon wouldn’t even warrant a guaranteed roster spot.

The numbers definitely were not pretty last season, 7-14 record to go along with a 6.48 ERA, but at least Colon’s FIP sat at 5.21 which gives a hint at some regression back to a more respectable 2018.

A minor league deal with an invite to spring training should suffice, making this signing a no risk, high reward move. Colon could be cut before Opening Day or pitch 180 quality innings for the 2018 Mets, and either way, it will cost the organization chump change.

Jose Bautista 

Just how far has Joey Bats fallen in the last three years? It came to the point where some questioned if Bautista would even play at all in 2018 due to his intensified decline in ability.

The best place to start is OPS. Bautista’s OPS in 2015 was an elite .913 as he slugged 43 Home Runs and drove in 114. In 2016, that OPS dropped to a still respectable .817. It was 2017 that saw the slugger have a major regression in OPS when it fell to a paltry .674.

The slash line was even uglier sitting at .203/.308/.366, and the strikeouts exploded to a creep high 170, which was 54 more than his previous career high.

These statistics may seem uninspiring, and frankly, they are, but they are the reason the Mets could cash in by making Bautista a value signing. With his future up in the air, Jose will be operating on short-term deals for the remainder of his career.

Michael Conforto is the furthest thing from a sure bet to start Opening Day, which opens a hole in the outfield that Bautista can fill. Remember this is the bargain bin, therefore the Mets will be looking for a specific skill set in Bautista. It’s also not all bad, remember that Bautista was still able to launch 23 homers in what should be considered a horrendous year of production by his standards.

That skill set is his power, most notably his power against left-handed pitchers. Bautista has a .858 OPS against left-handers for his career which is 21 points higher than his .837 mark against right-handers. And don’t forget the fact that Bautista was still able to launch 23 homers in a horrendous year.

It’s important to point out that his .858 OPS is superior to both Yoenis Cespedes (.835) and Michael Conforto (.578) and Bautista can play some first base if Dominic Smith flops in the early part of the season.

The Mets could surely use Bautista’s power and Colon’s innings in 2018, especially if they come for price tags that match the team’s punitive budget.

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