Mets general manager Sandy Alderson promised fans he would open his checkbook this winter following three consecutive offseasons of light spending.
On Dec. 6, he finally dusted off his checkbook and got started by reaching a four-year, $60 million deal with free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson.
As a left-handed power bat, Granderson can be paired with the right-handed-hitting third baseman David Wright in the middle of the Mets lineup.
After consecutive seasons with at least 40 home runs with the New York Yankees, Granderson was limited to 60 games this year after breaking a forearm during spring training and then a finger during the season. He batted .229 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs.
Contract negotiations between the Mets and Granderson reportedly got serious after the Yankees signed outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury away from the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
The Mets initially offered Granderson a three-year deal but added to it to close the deal.
Granderson is a solid defensive player and likely completes the Mets outfield overhaul, with Chris Young, who recently signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract, and Juan Lagares, entering his second MLB season, penciled in as starters.
The Mets could still use another pitcher and another infielder, but the Granderson signing at least provides fans with something to cheer about this offseason.
2013: 74-88, third place in NL East
TEAM MVP: 3B David Wright may have missed seven weeks in August and September with a right hamstring strain, but he was still the engine behind New York's offense when healthy. In the first season of an eight-year, $138 million contract extension, Wright established himself as an early MVP candidate, hitting .309 with 16 home runs in 105 games prior to his injury.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: For the second straight year, 1B Ike Davis suffered through a massive early-season slump, batting .161 with a .500 OPS over his first 55 games. Without health issues to blame it on this time, Davis earned himself a minor league demotion and never really recovered, suffering a season-ending oblique strain on the final day of August. Entering his age-27 season, Davis is no longer the team's unquestioned starting first baseman.
TOP PROSPECT: RHP Noah Syndergaard, who the Mets acquired with catcher Travis d'Arnaud in last winter's R.A. Dickey trade, was one of minor league baseball's top pitchers in 2013. Syndergaard finished 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 23 starts split between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, striking out 133 batters and walking 28. He is primed for a midseason debut next summer.
--OF Curtis Granderson signed a four-year, $60 million deal with the New York Mets on Dec. 6. After consecutive seasons with at least 40 home runs with the New York Yankees, Granderson was limited to 60 games this year after breaking a forearm during spring training and then a finger during the season. He batted .229 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs.
--OF Jordany Valdespin, SS Omar Quintanilla, INF Justin Turner, RHP Scott Atchison and RHP Jeremy Hefner were non-tendered by the Mets on Dec. 2, making them free agents.
Valdespin, 25, is known mainly for being one of the players who received a 50-game suspension for his dealings with Biogenesis, a now-shuttered South Florida anti-aging clinic that reportedly supplied banned performance-enhancing drugs. He hit .188 in 66 games for the Mets this year.
Quintanilla, 32, batted .222 in 95 games for New York in 2013.
Turner, 29, posted a .280 average with two homers and 16 RBIs in 86 games last season.
Atchison, 37, went 3-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 50 appearances this year.
Hefner, 27, had Tommy John surgery in August, and he will miss most of the 2014 season. He finished 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) in 2013.
--RHP Bronson Arroyo, a free agent, will meet with the Mets the first week of December, according to multiple reports. GM Sandy Alderson reportedly will fly to Arroyo's Tampa, Fla., home.
Alderson was in contact with Arroyo's representatives to set up an in-person meeting while in Maryland on Wednesday, according to ESPNNewYork.com. Arroyo is reportedly looking to get a three-year contract, but might settle for a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2016. The Mets need a couple starting pitchers with ace Matt Harvey out next season after having Tommy John surgery.
Arroyo, 36, was 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA over 202 innings with the Reds this year. He has pitched the third-most innings in the major leagues since 2005 with 1,895 2/3. Only CC Sabathia (1,999 1/3) and Dan Haren (1,927 2/3) have more innings pitched in that span.
--OF Chris Young finalized his one-year, $7.25 million free agent contract with the Mets on Nov. 26. Young, 30, has a career batting average of .235 with 144 home runs over eight seasons with the Diamondbacks and A's. He was an All-Star with Arizona in 2010. In 2013, he batted just .200 with 12 home runs in 107 games with Oakland.
--RHP LaTroy Hawkins signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Rockies, and he will receive the get to earn the closer role in camp. Colorado holds a contract option for 2015. Hawkins, who turns 41 in December, went 3-2 with 13 saves and a 2.93 ERA in 72 games for the Mets this year.
--LHP Johan Santana officially became a free agent on Nov. 1 after the Mets declined his $25 million option for 2014. Instead, the team paid him a $5.5 million buyout. Santana, 34, missed the entire 2013 season following shoulder surgery, and it's unclear whether he will be ready for the start of the 2014 season. He ended up making $137.5 million in his six years with the Mets, during which he went 46-34 with a .318 ERA in 109 starts. Santana last pitched in a major league game Aug. 17, 2012.
--RHP Matt Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery Oct. 22, and the Mets declared the operation a success. He had a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament repaired by orthopedist James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Harvey, who started for the National League in July's All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, is expected to miss the entire 2014 season. Harvey, 24, went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 26 starts this year, striking out 191 hitters in 178 1/3 innings. He lost his last two decisions and did not pitch after Aug. 24.
--RHP Greg Burke and LHP Sean Henn were outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas as the Mets removed them from the 40-man roster. Burke, 31, went 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA in 32 appearances for New York this year. Henn, 32, appeared in four games with the Mets in 2013, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
--OF Mike Baxter was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers on Oct. 17. Baxter, 28, hit .189/.303/.250 with no homers, four RBIs and five stolen bases in 74 games with the Mets this year. Over parts of four major league seasons with the Padres and Mets, Baxter has a .229/.335/.348 career hitting line with four homers, 26 RBIs and 10 steals in 194 games.
--LHP Robert Carson was claimed off waivers by the Angels from the Mets on Oct. 17. Carson, 24, had no decisions and an 8.24 ERA in 14 relief appearances for New York this year. In 31 major league games for the Mets the past two years, Carson has a 6.82 ERA.
--RHP Bobby Parnell will spend his entire offseason rehabbing after undergoing surgery in September to replace a herniated disc in his neck. The Mets are optimistic that Parnell will be ready by the start of spring training, after establishing himself as their closer with 22 saves in 26 chances. But if Parnell is not ready, manager Terry Collins is comfortable slotting rookie Vic Black in the ninth inning, also.
--SS Ruben Tejada is at a career crossroads due to the poor offensive season he endured in 2013. Battling multiple major injuries, including the broken right leg that ended his season early in September, Tejada is no longer the Mets' clear starting shortstop. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and the Mets may look outside the organization to replace him. But Tejada, who should begin rehabbing his leg in November, is still tops on the depth chart until further notice.
--1B Lucas Duda should hear plenty of trade rumors this winter, given the Mets' logjam at first base. Duda made it clear he is not comfortable playing the outfield, and the Mets finally seem committed to him as a first baseman after years of shuttling him around the diamond. But with 1B Ike Davis still in the mix, it is likely that one of those two are traded this winter. Both are eligible for arbitration, though Davis should command a significantly higher salary.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The talk's pretty much over now. It's time to go get it done on the field." -- Manager Terry Collins.
For quite a while now, the Mets pointed to the 2013-14 offseason as the time that they will finally start spending liberally on free agents. Even with RHP Matt Harvey out for 2014 following elbow surgery, the Mets are satisfied with the state of their pitching and feel they have enough to compete with anyone on that side of the ball.
What the Mets don't have settled is their outfield situation, which they hope to address through free agency. The team is also interested in at least one starting pitcher and perhaps a shortstop. They have only $25 million committed to two players heading into the offseason, so even if they maintain their current payroll level of around $93 million, the Mets should have ample opportunity to improve.
BIGGEST NEEDS: After filling their biggest need by signing outfielder Curtis Granderson as a free agent from the Yankees, the Mets can be selective in their search for another starting pitcher and a starting infielder.
ARRIVAL: OF Chris Young (free agent from A's), Curtis Granderson (free agent from the Yankees)
DEPARTURE: RHP LaTroy Hawkins (free agent, signed with Rockies)
FREE AGENTS: RHP David Aardsma, LHP Tim Byrdak, LHP Pedro Feliciano, RHP Frank Francisco, RHP Aaron Harang, RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, LHP Johan Santana, OF Jordany Valdespin, SS Omar Quintanilla, INF Justin Turner, RHP Scott Atchison, RHP Jeremy Hefner
As they work to rebuild their bullpen again, the Mets could re-sign one or more of their free agent relievers, though none are a priority. Harang and Matsuzaka are unlikely to be back as well. Santana is still rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, making him unlikely to pitch anywhere next season.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: 1B Ike Davis, 2B Daniel Murphy, SS Ruben Tejada, OF Lucas Duda, OF Mike Baxter, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Dillon Gee, RHP Bobby Parnell
Of the names above, Murphy, Gee and Parnell are the most integral pieces of the Mets' future. Either Davis or Duda is likely to be back as well, though not both. Tejada is the default option at shortstop, though the Mets could pursue a replacement over the winter.
IN LIMBO: 1B Ike Davis, 1B Lucas Duda, SS Ruben Tejada
Davis and Duda might not both survive the offseason now that Davis' stock has fallen while Duda has established himself as a first baseman, not an outfielder. Tejada has fallen out of favor with the organization, but bringing him back may wind up being the Mets' only option.
--SS Ruben Tejada (broken right fibula) was injured Sept. 18. His recovery is expected to take until November.
--RHP Matt Harvey (Tommy John surgery in October 2013) will miss the entire 2014 season. He is expected to be back at full strength in 2015.
--LHP Scott Rice (sports hernia surgery in September 2013) should be fine for spring training.
--1B Ike Davis (strained right oblique) missed the season's final three weeks. He should be back to 100 percent well in advance of the start of spring training.
--RHP Jenrry Mejia (right elbow surgery in August 2013) had bone chips removed. Mejia is expected to recover in time to compete for a rotation spot in spring training.
--RHP Bobby Parnell (neck surgery in September 2013) had a herniated disk repaired. He might not be ready for the start of the 2014 season.
--LHP Josh Edgin (fractured left rib) suffered the season-ending injury in late July.
--LHP Johan Santana (left shoulder surgery in April 2013) missed the entire season. It's unlikely he will pitch in 2014.
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