Who should be the Mets’ top targets in free agency?

Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With the free agency stove starting to warm up, teams usually look into not only who they can sign, but how much they can sign a particular player for.

We normally don’t see free agency start to move until the biggest player at a certain position falls off the map, thus creating the market for the lower-level players to sign elsewhere.

But sometimes you don’t always need the biggest fish to win the offseason. We’ve seen in years past, especially the last two seasons, that signing the biggest names doesn’t always translate to wins (ask the 15′ Padres and 16′ White Sox).

The category that the Mets fall into is signing players that’ll fit certain positions and roles because that’s really all they need.

When you look at New York, you see that they need help in the bullpen, could use another catcher, and possibly another outfielder. Obviously every team deals with injuries, but it’s how they combat those injuries and play without their stars.

With a healthy rotation back in the fold next year, anything is possible. Add a healthy Lucas Duda to that equation, along with some signings and it could be a special season. David Wright, even if healthy , whatever that may be, would probably be better as a bench player at this point of his career.

That being said, they need to sign Yoenis Cespedes because this offense goes when he goes. We’ve seen the last year and a half that when Cespedes is at his best, the Mets offense is at their best. So with that being said, here are five players that would not only fill holes, but put the Mets in a better position to compete for the ultimate prize: A World Championship.

  1. Yoenis Cespedes (OF)- .280 BA, 31 HRs, 86 RBIs, .354 OBP

We already know how important Cespedes is to the success of this team. While he cooled off last September, he is an ideal #3 hitter for the Mets. He’s pretty much an ideal #3 hitter for anyone out there willing to pay him. He has proven he could not only play in the New York market, but embrace the scrutiny and everything else that comes with it.

In recent days, he has even reached out to the franchise to express his interest in returning. When a star player like that wants to come back, and proved he could handle it, you pay that man. It’s not going to be easy, but the Mets need to realize that this player is different. He’s a game-changer. Hopefully they can get a deal done that works out for both sides.

2. Dexter Fowler (OF)- .276 BA, 13 HRs, 48 RBIs, .393 OBP

Whether or not Cespedes signs back with the Mets, this would be a really good signing for the defensive and speed aspects of this team. The Mets lacked speed all of last season, including when Jose Reyes came back from injury. What this signing also does is allow you to possibly move one of your current players. Just say if the Mets re-signed Cespedes and brought in Fowler, you could move Jay Bruce, who isn’t making a ton of money next season ($13 million to be exact).

You know Bruce will bring something back in return that could help this team now. According to news outlets, the Mets are already talking to Toronto regarding a trade around Bruce. And if worse comes to worse, you keep the 30-40 HRs a year at a good price.

3. Kurt Suzuki (C)- .258 BA, 8 HRs, 48 RBIs, .301 OBP

Let me be clear when I say I obviously don’t think Kurt Suzuki is the best catcher on the free agent market. What I do know though is that on a really bad team, he was a pretty nice player. He won’t cost anywhere near what Matt Wieters wants, and like it or not, Travis d’Arnaud will most likely be the catcher to start the season (I think he had more jersey numbers than home runs, by the way).

What we do know though is that d’Arnaud has never been able to stay healthy in his short career. The Mets pretty much had no production from their catchers and need to do something to help it out. If you could have a cheaper option who actually had a better batting average than Matt Wieters, why not do it? I think catcher is the most glaring problem on this team, and they need to fix it.

4. Travis Wood (LHP)- 2.95 ERA, 77 G, 61.0 IP, 47 Ks, 1.13 WHIP

It’s no secret that the Mets need help in their bullpen and Travis Wood proved last year that he could be a hot commodity coming out of the pen. Being a lefty could transform him into a specialist, but he could also give you depth. Once a starter, particularly in Cincinnati with the Reds, Wood is much better suited coming out of the pen.

The only problem with Wood coming out of the pen is that he doesn’t hit as much as he could, which is sad because this guy can flat out rake (just ask Madison Bumgarner). He also adds some playoff experience with his World Series win last year in Chicago. With a team ERA in the mid 3’s last year, this lefty could be had at a pretty reasonable price.

5. Daniel Hudson (RHP) – 5.22 ERA, 70 G, 60.1 IP, 58 Ks, 1.44 WHIP

It’s no secret that Daniel Hudson didn’t have a great season last year. What we are looking for here is clearly someone who could not only eat some innings, but strike people out. While his WHIP wasn’t good, he did strike out 58 people through 60 innings, nearly one per inning.

Maybe the Mets could take advantage of a bad season by getting him even cheaper than you think. It’s all about spending smart and not overpaying. Adding a guy like Hudson and Wood to what the Mets already have would help.

“I think we’re going to have to wait a while to see how this turns out. But he wants to be back. I think we’d like to have him back.” -Sandy Alerson on Yoenis Cespedes

The beauty of free agency is that we all feel like general mangers. We all think we know who would fit where and how they’d help a team. If given the chance to keep Cespedes in the fold, these other moves would serve as a “holding down the fort,” if you will.

The Mets don’t need drastic changes because they have the nucleus that could not only compete, but make some noise. What they do need is the ability to stay healthy, keep Cespedes, and add here and there. If they do, who knows what could happen. All we do know is that the sky is certainly the limit.