Will Mets Re-Sign Any of Their Free Agents?


MetsBlog reported yesterday that seven Mets players have officially become free agents. These include Scott Hairston, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Ronny Cedeno, Kelly Shoppach, Tim Byrdak, and Chris Young. Since Sandy Alderson has been talking about a major roster turnover before settling the 2013 roster, who, if any, of these free agents will they try to re-sign?

Scott Hairston (.263/.299/.504, 20 HR, 57 RBI)

Hairston had a career year in 2012; after slugging 7 homers and driving in 24 runs in 132 at-bats, the outfielder re-signed with New York last winter, agreeing to a one-year/$1.1 million deal. By the time the second half of the season rolled around, Terry Collins‘ outfield was such a mess that Hairston became an everyday player instead of being the team’s fourth outfielder. Out of an outfield that included Andres Torres, Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin, and Jason Bay, he was by far the most consistent, reaching career-highs in home runs (20) and runs scored (52).

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

Unlikely; he drew a lot of interest on the trade market before the non-waiver trade deadline and even into August when he was placed on trade waivers. Alderson decided not to trade him because he felt there was more value in letting him finish the year with the team than trading him away. Now, with his career season, Hairston is looking to cash in with a more lucrative, multi-year deal, something the Mets won’t be able to afford. The Tigers have been linked to having interest in Hairston for quite some time, so don’t be surprised if he gets courted by them. Who could the Mets pursue to take his spot on the roster? Jonny Gomes(.262/.377/.491, 18 HR, 47 RBI) had a decent year for the A’s while only making $1 million. He wanted to return to Oakland, but once they acquired outfielder Chris Young, that ended those talks. New York could go after him as their fourth outfielder, worth around the same price as Hairston was last year, and could give them some legit pop off the bench.

Oct. 3, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Scott Hairston (center) celebrates his two-run homer with teammates in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Jon Rauch (3-7, 3.59 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 42 K’s in 57.2 IP)

Although he had a tough stretch through May and June, Jon Rauch was probably the most dependable reliever for the Mets throughout the second half of the season, until about the last couple of weeks. However, Alderson signed him last winter to a one-year/$3.5 million deal to be the set-up man for closer Frank Francisco, but once he experienced his struggles, he rarely was put back in that eighth inning situation.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

Even before the season ended, we heard the Mets would not be looking to re-sign Rauch, and I think the reasoning behind it is if they’re not going to let him throw the eighth inning, then $3.5 million is way too expensive for a reliever to pitch in the sixth or seventh inning. In the case of the bullpen, I don’t think there will be much help brought in from the free agent market because New York has a lot of young arms to choose from. To take Rauch’s spot, Bobby Parnell (5-4, 2.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 61 Ks in 68.2 IP) should be the one to become the set-up man, as he was already doing so in 2012 once Rauch lost his job.

Ramon Ramirez (3-4, 4.24 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 52 K’s in 63.2 IP)

This man was the reason why the Mets traded away Angel Pagan last season. Ramirez was an established, middle-inning reliever that recently won the World Series with San Francisco back in 2010. As Alderson was rebuilding the bullpen last year, he saw acquiring Ramirez, who was due $2.65 million in 2012, was a steal. He was the perfect amount of youth (30 years old) and experience with his post-season resume to help this team. Well, he ended up being a big bust, as he struggled to stay consistent throughout the year. Not only did he post his highest ERA since 2007, but he walked a career-high 35 hitters.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

Slim to none. The Mets will let him walk, likely looking towards younger, internal option to replace him. For this spot in the bullpen, I wouldn’t be surprised if either Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia made the Big League bullpen out of Spring Training in February. Also, the effectiveness of Jeremy Hefner out of the ‘pen in 2012 could land him a spot to be the long reliever/middle-inning reliever for Terry Collins.

Ronny Cedeno (.259/.332/.410, 4 HR, 22 RBI)

After being a starter for most of his career, Ronny Cedeno decided to sign a one-year/$1.2 million deal with the Mets last winter to be the backup middle infielder to Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy. In a reserve role, Cedeno was incredibly productive, hitting more homers and driving in almost as many runs as he did in 2011, but in 247 fewer at-bats. Unfortunately for the Mets, this productive season will mean one thing for him as a free-agent this winter, which is a deal worth more money.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

Also slim-to-none. When I compare Cedeno’s production as a reserve to his lack of production as a starter, that tells me he’s more suited to be a backup player. However, that’s not what his agents at Octagon will be pursuing this winter; Cedeno, like many players, wants to be a starter in the Big Leagues, and he will be searching for a chance to once again be an everyday player. If he can’t find that opportunity, there could be a chance he returns to the Mets in a reserve role.

Kelly Shoppach (.233/.309/.425, 8 HR, 27 RBI)

Shoppach came over in a trade after the Mets claimed him off waivers from the Boston Red Sox, swapping reliever Pedro Beato to complete the deal. In the first week or two of the acquisition, Shoppach was tearing up the opposition, but once word got out about him, he ended up hitting .203/.276/.342 in 79 at-bats with New York. Sadly enough, the 3 homers and 10 RBI he accumulated as a Met out-performed any other Met catcher in 2012.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

This is the one free-agent that has a good chance at returning to Flushing in 2013. Rumors have it that Alderson prefers to bring in another catcher instead of retaining Shoppach, as Miguel Olivo has been linked to the Amazins since the Mariners decided to decline his option for 2013. If Alderson is unable to find the upgrade he desires at the catcher position, he will try to re-sign Shoppach, but not without seeking other options first.

Tim Byrdak (2-2, 4.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 34 Ks in 30.2 IP)

Going into Opening Day 2012, Byrdak was the lone lefty reliever in Terry Collins’ bullpen, and he was used A LOT. He first was brought into games as a lefty specialist, but once the bullpen imploded, Collins used him in many different situations. He started facing both lefties and righties, and even saw himself as the set-up man at times. In the beginning of August, he was put on the DL with left shoulder soreness, and he actually tore his anterior capsule, requiring season-ending surgery and at least one year of recovery.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

This is an easy one; since he won’t even be fully healthy until the end of August, the Mets will not consider going after him. They saw a lot of great things in young relievers Josh Edgin and Robert Carson, but Alderson has said he’d like to add a veteran southpaw to the bullpen to complement one of them, most likely Edgin. I really like Randy Choate in this situation, as he can be a true lefty specialist, allowing Edgin or Carson to be used in other late-inning situations.

Chris Young (4-9, 4.15 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 80 Ks in 115 IP)

Also coming off anterior capsule surgery, Young worked his way through his rehab in the minor leagues, and made his return to the Big League rotation in June to take the place of Mike Pelfrey, who was lost in April to Tommy John surgery. His biggest accomplishment was staying healthy for the entire season, something Young hasn’t been able to do since 2007.

Chances he’ll be re-signed?

I doubt he will be back with the Mets in 2013. The front office has expressed some interest in bringing him back, but there is simply no room for him in the Big Leauge rotation, unless he wants to start the year again in the minors. After a successful and healthy season, that’s probably not what Young is looking for. I’d rather them re-sign Pelfrey, allow him to finish rehabbing in the Mets minor league system, and then use him as starting rotation insurance or as a reliever. If they don’t need him and he proves himself healthy, then he has some trade value going into the summer.

So, looks like we won’t be seeing a lot of these players back in the Orange and Blue next season; who do you think will return out of this group?