By October 31st or the early hours of November 1st, the World Series will be over. Five days after that, free agents will be allowed to sign with any team they choose.
This off-season, the Mets have eight free agents – none of which are marquee names. With numerous holes to fill and a large chunk of money to spend, the powers that be have likely already decided who they’re willing to let walk, and who they’d like to attempt to retain.
Here’s how I think things should play out…
Let them walk-
Santana, 34, will become a free agent once the Mets buy out the last year of his deal for $5.5 million. Coming off a second major shoulder surgery, there’s no guarantee that Santana will ever be able to be successful in the majors again. If anyone can do it, it’s Johan. The Mets need a sure thing, though, not a long-shot.
Francisco, 34, just finished a 2 year deal worth $12 million. According to nearly everyone who covers the team, Francisco milked his injury this year and attempted to negatively influence Jenrry Mejia (telling him to collect his big league salary instead of rehabbing). Francisco can go away.
Byrdak, who turns 40 in a few days, made a cameo with the Mets at the end of the season after working his way back from injury. Byrdak is effective when healthy, but his health can no longer be counted on. It’s time for the Mets to move on.
Like Byrdak, Feliciano, 37, made his way back from injury (he didn’t pitch in the majors in 2011 or 2012) and tossed 11.1 innings for the Mets toward the end of the season. With Feliciano unable to top 82 or 83 MPH with his fastball, and with Scott Rice and Josh Edgin in the fold, it’s time for the Mets to again bid adieu to Feliciano.
After a disastrous start to his Mets career, Matsuzaka rebounded and put together a string of solid starts in September. However, the Mets should be looking for someone who’s more reliable to battle with the youngsters for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Aardsma has been effective when healthy. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been fully healthy in years.
Hawkins put together a very solid year in 2013, and was a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. It’s been reported that Hawkins will test the open market, but the Mets should make a strong effort to bring him back.
On the fence-
If Harang is willing to sign a minor league deal or is amenable to a very low base salary with incentives, the Mets should be open to bringing him back to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation. If not, they should let him walk.