With my Yankees detox about complete after 3 1/2 weeks covering that wretched bunch, it is time to get back to business on this blog as hot stove baseball is upon us! You know what that means Mets fans? It means that the Mets actually have a chance to win something this year….Then again, it also means they have a chance to screw up some more and lose the increasingly waning faith of their fragile fan base. I’m going to play the role of optimist here and give a little sampling of what I think the Amazins’ can get accomplished in the next few months. Of course, this is Omar Minaya and the Wilpons were dealing with here so the adjective “guarded” should be permanently glued to the front of optimism.
As I’m sure you know, the General Manager’s Meetings just wrapped up in Chicago and the Mets, as always, were one of the teams that seemingly had their hands in on everything. According to SI.com, Minaya met with Matt Holliday’s agent Scott Boras to discuss the free-agent slugger’s contract parameters. Also, according to the NY Post, Omar met with Chone Figgins’ agent to gage interest on that front. FoxSports.com reports that the Mets are looking for a taker for Luis Castillo and the $12 million left on his contract. We are still eight days away from when the exclusive negotiating window for teams to sign their own free agents ends and the free-for-all begins, but it’s not too early to map out a plan.
For months now, I have been gung-ho about the Mets needing to bring in a power bat to fill their gaping hole in left field. Nothing short of either Holliday or Jason Bay would be acceptable. After hearing of the Mets definite interest in Figgins, I have changed my tune a bit. After a few years of playing all over the place for the Angels, Figgins has settled in nicely at third base in Anaheim. Obviously, that is one position the Mets do not need to fill, but Figgins could easily slide into left field and his other attributes might be more intriguing than the power bats of Holliday and Bay.
Check out the guys numbers from last season. His big three stats of .298, 5 HR, 54 RBI are pretty nice from the leadoff spot, yet it is his secondary starts that jump off the page. Figgins posted a gaudy .395 on-base percentage to go along with 42 steals and get this…an AL best 101 walks. If those numbers don’t spell run production, I am not sure what does. To top it off, as we saw from the inaugural season at Citi Field, this is a ballpark where speed (both on the bases and in the outfield) are maybe more important than the power quotient. Imagine teaming Figgy up with a healthy Jose Reyes at the top of the lineup. A scary thought for the rest of the NL.
Since it is likely that Figgins may only cost something on the order of 4-years/$40 million, there may be money left over (yes, I think I now concede the team isn’t in as bad financial standing as everyone predicted) to improve in the many other areas the Mets need help in. If Bay or Holliday come to Flushing, it’s going to take a lot more green to entice either one to sign on and I think the Mets are more in need quantity instead of quality right now. Let’s not forget, with injuries being a huge question mark, the team still has a core of three start players. I feel bringing in a Figgins and another tier two free agent or trade acquisition is more important than gobbling up one of the top two guys at this juncture.
All of this being said, the top priority for the Mets should be improving their starting pitching, which to be blunt, is in shambles right now. I’ll broach this subject in my next post, but just to give a hint on how I feel…..GO GET ROY HALLADAY AT ALL COSTS!!!!