3 Available Players That Are Still Within Reach of the New York Mets
The signing of free agent Curtis Granderson was an excellent one for the New York Mets, but there is more work to be done.
New York still has several holes to fill if it is to become a legitimate playoff contender in the National League. Now is the time for general manager Sandy Alderson to stay aggressive. Mets fans expect nothing less.
It's time for the Mets to become viable again.
Let's take a look at three available players who are still within reach for the Mets to add to their 2014 roster.
All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.
Bartolo Colon, Starting Pitcher
Simply put, for one season, the portly right-hander can really help the Mets. His stats don't lie.
In 2013, at 40 years of age, the Dominican Republic native had a spectacular season for the Oakland A's. Colon went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA. He was named to his third All-Star Game and ranked second in the American League in wins and ERA.
Not only that, but he led the junior circuit with three shutouts as well.
Colon made just $3 million last season—one of the best bargains in team history. Due to his age and the acquisition of Scott Kazmir, Colon is not in Oakland's plans for 2014.
That's where the Mets should come in.
Colon would make a great addition to their starting rotation and would not cost them very much. New York should be able to entice the free agent to sign by offering him a one-year pact in the $6-7 million range. Anything greater than one year would be too risky. He'd be a welcome addition for 2014, though.
"I’ll say this for Bartolo, the way he pounds that strike zone with his fastball, he’s absolutely great for young pitchers," A's general manager Billy Beane told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. "He was absolutely great in the clubhouse, and our kids all watched and emulated him."
Stephen Drew, Shortstop
Every Mets fan knows that New York needs to upgrade the shortstop position. Let's face it—Ruben Tejada just isn't cutting it.
That's where Stephen Drew comes in. The free-agent shortstop ranked second in the American League with a .984 fielding percentage for the Red Sox last season and hit .253 with 13 HR and 67 RBI. That's a significant upgrade from what Tejada can produce.
Here's the rub.
For the Mets to sign Drew, they would almost certainly have to exceed their "budget" for this upcoming season. He made $9.5 million last season, so he'll probably be looking for at least a four-year contract in the $40-44 million range.
The fact is, he's worth it.
The Mets should go the extra mile and sign Drew. He'd help fortify their lineup and brings a stellar glove defensively. New York is not a small market and should not act like a small-market team with talk about having a $85-$90 million payroll.
This is not Kansas City. This is the Big Apple.
The Mets need to stay aggressive and upgrade their roster by signing the 30-year-old Hahira, Georgia native.
It's the right move at the right time.
Grant Balfour, Relief Pitcher
Mets closer Bobby Parnell underwent surgery in September to repair a herniated disk in his neck. Whether he will be 100 percent when spring training commences next year remains to be seen.
As insurance, the Mets should sign free-agent closer Grant Balfour. He saved 62 games in his last two seasons with the Oakland A's, including 38 last year.
Balfour will be 36 years old in 2014, so he's no spring chicken, but the 10-year veteran right-hander can definitely boost a shaky Mets bullpen.
If Parnell is slow to recover from his surgery and is not ready to resume his role as closer right away, the New South Wales, Australia native can step right in and fill that important role.
If Parnell is ready to resume his role as closer once the 2014 season begins, Balfour can be a very effective setup man. He could also serve as closer if Parnell needs a day off in that role.
With a career record of 28-17, a 3.27 ERA and a 1.186 WHIP, Balfour would be a tremendous addition to any bullpen staff.
The Mets have to make sure he's an addition to their staff, not someone else's.
It's a win-win all the way around.