New York Mets outfielders batted .238 with a combined 55 home runs and 206 RBIs in 2012. In comparison, Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton batted .285 with 43 long balls and 128 RBIs. I'm not suggesting the Mets should try to sign the pending free agent in the offseason -- he's way beyond their budget, anyway -- but the team needs to make upgrades in the outfield. Here's a list of five soon-to-be free agent outfielders who the Mets may be able to afford.
Scott Hairston, New York Mets -- Let's start with some low-hanging fruit. The popular Hairston had a career year in 2012 with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs. The Mets are getting nothing from Jason Bay and Andres Torres, so they should re-sign the 32-year-old Hairston to a two-year deal for starters.
Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox -- The Ross 32-year-old has belted at least 22 home runs in three of the last five seasons and averaged 72 RBIs in that time frame. Look at it this way, he would have ranked second and third, respectively, in home runs (22) and RBIs (81) on the Mets in 2012.
Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds -- Ludwick is what the Mets need, a power bat to protect David Wright in the lineup. He batted .274 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs in 2012. However, he has a mutual $5 million option with the Reds, so the Mets would have to up the ante to get him to sign.
Shane Victorino, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Victorino's numbers declined a little bit in 2012, but the switch-hitting outfielder is a career .275 hitter with some pop and speed. Furthermore, the "Flyin' Hawaiian" is an outstanding outfielder and his hustle would play well at Citi Field.
Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants -- I'd love for the Mets to bring back Pagan, who they traded to the Giants in the offseason. In four seasons in Queens, Pagan batted .284 and averaged 22 stolen bases per season. Plus, he was a great clubhouse guy and seemed to enjoy playing in New York.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in Queens, N.Y. with a view of Shea Stadium from his bedroom window. He spent many nights in the upper deck at Shea rooting for the Mets. Adam follows back Mets fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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