It’s tough to justify the New York Mets having any desire to bring back the upcoming free agents ready to hit the open market. In as few of words as possible, let’s see if we can make a case.
The New York Mets have a few guys entering the free agent pool after the current season. Like most years, the team will need to decide which players they will bring back and which they will let walk.
Unlike seasons past, there aren’t any obvious candidates to fight to keep. Many of their men on expiring contracts are past their prime, coming off a poor year, or at a position with alternatives. In some cases, it’s all three.
To play a little game of devil’s advocate, I’ve decided to make a case for each of their free agents to return. Though I don’t exactly believe there’s a chance or a serious need for many of them, I do see a fit for all.
Since joining the Mets, Jose Bautista has been a productive member of the offense. Whether he’s playing right field, first base, or third base the Mets know they’re going to get (mostly) quality at-bats from the veteran slugger. Bautista gets on base often and could be a good right-handed power option off the bench. An injury to a corner infielder or outfielder has an immediate solution to it.
Likely, Bautista won’t cost much at all. A cheap one-year deal might be worth it to know you have a professional hitter ready to come off the bench and smack a double in the seventh inning.
The Mets are going to need at least one reliable southpaw in the bullpen next year. Why not Jerry Blevins? The 2018 campaign started off slowly for the former left-handed specialist, however, since becoming more of a regular reliever he has performed pretty well.
Clearly nearing the end of his career, Blevins will need to settle for a small MLB contract. A strong finish may help his cause and drive up the market. As a generally good guy who is beginning to get outs again, I wouldn’t mind seeing him return as a left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Have the Mets found magic with Austin Jackson? Yet another veteran big leaguer who joined them mid-year and rediscovered his talent, Jackson is making a strong case to return in 2019.
Like Bautista, Jackson is a good right-handed option. The difference is in his style of play. Jackson is more of a speedy outfielder with more limited power. As a younger guy, though, the strong finish with the Mets may be more real than what Bautista has done in New York. I wouldn’t mind seeing him as the team’s fourth or fifth outfielder in 2019. A lot will depend on whether or not they trade Juan Lagares in the offseason.
The Mets cannot possibly open 2019 with Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki as the catchers. The former could be non-tendered while the latter may either start or resume a backup role. As for pending free agent Devin Mesoraco, we could see him in a platoon or take on a reserve role.
Mesoraco is one of the bigger contributors from 2018 who I would prefer to see part ways with the Mets. He saved us from some Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton at-bats but didn’t do much else other than occasionally hitting home runs in losses. As a backup catcher, I’m cool with it. The only caveat I would ask is that Plawecki is not the starter. This would require the Mets to move on from two backstops, which they could always do.
Well, here comes the hard part. How do you justify a new contract for AJ Ramos? We need to assume his poor 2017 with the Mets and even worse 2018 was a fluke. That may be tough to do.
Ramos used to be a good relief pitcher. During his time with the Miami Marlins, he was a closer and a pretty good one, too. I’m not saying the Mets should give him a shot at this gig next year. If he could return to his former form, maybe he can deepen the currently shallow relief corps.
If you thought Ramos was the toughest upcoming free agent to make a case for, you forgot Jose Reyes is among the bunch. I mean, other than claiming he hasn’t gotten his retirement tour, I can’t really say he deserves to come back, can I?
Reyes has been bad for most of the year. Even some recent success shouldn’t negate what he did for the first few months. His dying bat and inexcusable defense have ruined any chance of him returning to the Mets. Even the best spin doctor cannot sell this one to the fans.
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Which, of any of the free agents, would you like to see return to the Mets next year?