Following Brodie Van Wagenen’s burst into the MLB scene, the Mets now appear to be stalled. Somebody needs to rekindle the fire.
The Mets and GM Brodie Van Wagenen get good grades for the work they’ve done during the offseason, especially bringing in second baseman Robinson Cano and catcher Wilson Ramos, filling two major holes in the infield.
Since those moves, however, the Mets appear to be stalled in acquiring additional position players to further improve the team. The aim is to replace rehabbing Yoenis Cespedes, who I believe, one way or another the Mets will get no more than 100 at-bats in 2019 from their diva.
Having dumped most or all of what they have to offer in the Cano deal, the trade market is no longer suited to the Mets. However, there are some position players still out there as free agents who can help the team. And no, we are not talking about the two elephants in the room.
Browsing the list of Top 20 Remaining Free Agents, published today by MLB Trade Rumors, there are some players the Mets can and should be in play for. Each has their plusses and minuses, and none of them is a perfect fit for the Mets. But at this stage of the game, and given what the competition is like in the NL East, the Mets may need to make a couple of wise, though not perfect, bets.
A.J. Pollock – Centerfielder
There is only one knock against A.J. Pollock, and though it’s a big one, the Mets are in a position where they need to catch lightning in a bottle from somewhere – and Pollock is just the guy to do it. His problem is not a secret. He’s missed 249 games over the last three seasons with the Diamondbacks.
At 31, Pollock still has four good years left in him. A master in the field, he is also a sparkplug the Mets team needs on and off the field since losing David Wright.
Offensively, Pollock is a career .281 hitter, and even with limited action in 113 games last season, he had 20 home runs and 65 RBI.
Reportedly, his asking price of four years at $60 million has scared the Mets. But with Michael Brantley off the board, having signed with the Astros, the remaining pickings are slim, save for Pollock. This could be one of those deals where, if Van Wagenen decides he wants Pollock, he’s going to need to do a sales job on the Wilpons. Brodie has built up some juice around the league, let’s see what he does with it.
Jed Lowrie – Second Base
While Jed Lowrie is advertised as a second baseman, he’s played more games at third base and some at shortstop. The hole at third base still exists for the Mets and Lowrie can fill it.
Lowrie is looking for a three-year deal, but that ain’t happening, mainly since his current team, the Oakland A’s obtained Jurickson Profar to fill second base. Before that, Lowrie was a cinch to return to Oakland, where his asking price probably would have been met.
A veteran and soon to be 35, Lowrie’s career WAR of 17.6 pretty much shows his under the radar value to every team he’s played for. An iron man the last two seasons with Oakland, Lowrie missed only five games last season and nine the season before.
In his walk year in 2018, Lowrie hit 23 home runs with 99 RBI, the kind of numbers the Mets sorely need. A switch-hitter, Lowrie also fulfills the need for a right-handed power bat when the Mets are facing a lefty.
Unless the Braves offer him more, the Mets can probably have Lowrie for $20 million over two years.
Mike Moustakas – Third Baseman
If not Jed Lowrie, then Mike Moustakas would seem to be a good fit for the Mets, especially since he’s a career third baseman and he’s five years younger than Lowrie.
Moustakas got zapped last year when he waited too long as a free agent in a depressed market, eventually returning to the Kansas City Royals at a home-town discount. He lasted only until the trade deadline with the Royals before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, who bought out his contract for $1 million, making Moustakas a free agent again this offseason.
Despite all the chaos, Moustakas still hit 28 home runs and drove in a career-high 95 runs, demonstrating his upside.
On the negative side, he would be another lefty in a top-loaded left-handed Mets lineup. Money-wise, he projects to come cheap in the overall scheme of things at $16 million for two years, a price the Mets can surely afford.
The remaining free agent market is top heavy with pitching. The Mets still need to do more to be competitive with the Braves, Phillies, and the surprisingly active, Washington Nationals.
Advertised correctly, the Mets have a solid rotation of starting pitchers. They need a couple more arms in the bullpen, but they’re a dime a dozen these days, and they can quickly be filled.
It’s in the area of run production to support that pitching where the Mets, as currently constructed, will fall short if they don’t get on the stick again, making some noise which fills out the team.