COMMENTARY | Sandy Alderson has a lot of decisions to make regarding the roster of the New York Mets.
Once the 2013 season is complete, it will once again be his task to find a proven outfielder with some power for their lineup. It seems likely Alderson's preference will be to acquire a player via trade.
However, with the salaries of Johan Santana and Jason Bay coming of the books this winter, there will be plenty of money to spend. The Mets could try to make a major free-agent signing during the offseason. If they decide to go that route, who could they consider?
Back in May, I proposed the idea of a possible reunion between Beltran and the Mets; that should still be something they think about. He's continued to stay healthy for the St. Louis Cardinals, and is hitting .306/.341/.523 with 20 home runs and 61 RBIs. Despite his solid play, the Redbirds will likely not pursue Beltran this winter; top prospect Oscar Tavares is waiting in the wings to join an outfield that is already occupied by Matt Holliday and John Jay.
Beltran will be 37 next April, but he'd bring a legitimate power threat to a corner outfield position, and a veteran presence that may only require a two-year deal.
Ellsbury and the Mets have been connected in rumors for quite some time now. The speedy center fielder is in his last guaranteed season with the Boston Red Sox, and will be looking to cash in with agent Scott Boras by his side. He's hitting .298/.360/.433 with seven home runs, 40 stolen bases, and 41 RBIs this season.
While having Ellsbury to put at the top of the lineup would be great, I'd rather the Mets focus elsewhere. He's had issues with injuries, he's on the wrong side of 30 with his legs being a big part of his game, and he'll be looking to get overpaid. At this point, I'd rather have Juan Lagares man center field daily.
Another Boras client, Choo is having a solid year with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .283/.418/.463 with 15 home runs and 35 RBIs. His game is more dependent on his bat than his legs, but he's not someone I consider to have legitimate power to put in the middle of a lineup.
His numbers outside of the Great American Ball Park are not great (.243/.383/.411), and I'd be wary of how he'd perform with half of his games coming at Citi Field. Like Ellsbury, he's over 30 years old and Boras will likely be in search of a lucrative, long-term deal. The Mets just spent years getting out from underneath those kinds of deals; why start the cycle again?
While he was recently suspended for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, Cruz is one legitimate power bat to consider for the outfield. Prior to sitting on the sidelines, he was hitting .269/.330/.511 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Rumors point to the Texas Rangers not attempting to re-sign the slugger, and the 33-year-old would have to be open to a short-term deal in order to help repair his name. That could play to Sandy Alderson's advantage in any potential negotiations.
He was a hot commodity in the trade market last winter when Justin Upton was finally shipped to the Atlanta Braves, and the Seattle Mariners won his services. After a hot start to the season, Morse has dealt with inconsistent play and injuries, now hitting .242/.302/.442 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.
I'd like the Mets to stay away from Morse, because he's not great with the glove in the outfield. While one can't have their cake and eat it, too, if New York is going to deal with sub-par defense, it'd better be getting extreme power production. Morse hasn't done that this year at spacious Safeco Field, and I wouldn't want to see if he does any better at Citi Field.
In the end, I believe the Mets will benefit more from attempting to acquire an outfielder via the trade market. However, with payroll getting freed up, it allows them to explore the free agent market and be aggressive if they want to. That's something Alderson hasn't been able to do since taking charge in Flushing.
Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue, Mets Merized Online, and Rising Apple. He currently serves as Executive Editor of MetsMinors.net.
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