I hate when this happens, but I think I agree with WFAN's Mike Francesa, who has been saying on air today that the Mets should jump on this opportunity - in the free-agent market - to help the team be significantly better in 2014.
It would likely cost roughly $25 million a year to sign free-agents Stephen Drew and Nelson Cruz. You could swap out Cruz for Fernando Rodney or Bronson Arroyo, depending on what you think the Mets need more. Or, just stick with Drew for around $10 million a year. In any case, these men would bump their 2014 payroll up to around $100-110 million, or roughly 20 percent over their established budget. I have no idea what the yearly commitments would need to be for these guys (probably two years for both players, maybe three for Cruz to keep him from Seattle, Texas or the Twins). But, I do know they would help improve this team with what seems to be a very short-term commitment at a time when their young pitching is about to blow wind in their sales... I mean sails...
As is, the Mets will begin Spring Training with position battles in the bullpen, starting rotation, first base, center field and shortstop.
“This is a huge spring training for us," Terry Collins said Monday (Kernan, Feb. 4). "We’ve got a lot of decisions to make. There’s going to be a lot more emphasis on at-bats and innings pitched. We’ve got to come out spring training ready to go. We can’t wait to June.’’
Sandy Alderson said on SNY late last year that he wanted to enter 2014 with as much of a set roster as possible.
If that's the case, it's all on Ike Davis. It starts with him, and whether or not he grabs hold of the first base position and never lets go. His presence, or lack-thereof, will determine much of what happens with the rest of the position players on the roster. What's more, if Ike hits and Alderson can acquire just Drew, a portion of what we're debating today will become irrelevant. On the other hand, if Ike stumbles (worse, if Lucas Duda also stumbles) and Drew and/or Cruz are not in the mix, there's going to be a whole lot of arguing about a whole lot of spots on this team.