With Spring Training just over six weeks away, the Mets still need to find a right-handed replacement to Michael Cuddyer, who announced his retirement in mid-December.
Cuddyer was set to earn $12.5 million in in 2016. He did not deny that there was a negotiated buyout of the money owed to him in 2016, so presumably the Mets will have net a figure that is less than the actual amount owed to devote to a replacement.
The market for outfielders has been incredibly slow to develop this winter, with only Jason Heyward signed among the lot of top-tiered outfielders signed. Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Alex Gordon are still free agents, with no real clarity yet defined as to where they will sign.
The White Sox and Orioles were listed among the favorites to sign Cespedes, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, but the Sox apparently did not want to commit to Cespedes beyond three years, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. The same can be said for the White Sox and Gordon.
As for Upton, there have been very few reports connecting him to any team. The Angels were engaged in discussions with Upton’s agents during the Winter Meetings, writes Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, but those talks did not progress.
But as the league and team executives go back to work in January, the market will soon have to start to define itself with the clock ticking on the off-season.
The Mets, meanwhile, appear to be unwilling to commit to longer-term to anyone – be it a starting pitcher, reliever, or position player – this winter. Only Asdrubal Cabrera has been signed to a multi-year deal, and the Mets only committed themselves through 2017 with their new shortstop. The rest of their winter acquisitions – Neil Walker, Jerry Blevins, Bartolo Colon, and Alejandro De Aza – have been procured for only one year.
Still, the Mets are seeking to build a roster with position players who are capable of starting everyday for them right out of the gate in 2016, with hopes such a deep roster will effectively support their pitching staff and give them the necessary four runs per game they believe is necessary to win on a regular basis.
71 of the 90 regular season wins the Mets recorded in 2015 came when the Mets scored at least four runs per game.
The Mets 2016 payroll is currently projected at around $109 million, which includes monies owed to players under contract, arbitration projections, and players earning the league minimum. Whatever the final figure is before Opening Day, it can be assumed an additional $4-5 million will be needed to cover player call-ups and additional payroll expenses for the season, which is normal for any team.
Here’s a look at some of the remaining right-handed bats which fits the Mets needs this winter… (more…)