Baseball's free agency period is now officially underway and the New York Mets are hard at work. Besides working out extensions for David Wright and R.A. Dickey, the team is said to be seeking upgrades behind the plate and in the outfield. As the hot stove is just churning up, rumors have begun to swirl surrounding GM Sandy Alderson's targets for the ballclub. The free agent frenzy has inspired this special edition of Mets 101 News and Notes, where we will catch you up on all of the news and rumors surrounding the Mets in free agency. Let's get the ball rolling with:
The Latest on David Wright:
Negotiations with third baseman David Wright are "stuck in neutral", Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Wright and the Mets are still in the early stages of contract negotiations, but as of right now the organization is expected to put other moves on the back burner until their situation with Wright is resolved. The team has already picked up Wright's 2013 option, but if a deal cannot be reached it is still possible the team could shop Wright at the Winter Meetings next month. The Mets reportedly have put negotiations with R.A. Dickey on the back burner as well until the situation with Wright is settled, so it certainly appears all roads lead through Wright for the Amazin's.
Seven Mets Enter Free Agency Today:
Seven Mets became free agents today. The list is as follows: Scott Hairston, Ronny Cedeno, Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach, and Chris Young. Of the team's own free agents, Scott Hairston appears to be the one that Sandy Alderson would like to retain. Hairston, however, will likely command a larger salary than the one year, 1.1 million dollar contract he just completed based on his production. Given the team's minimal resources to sign free agents at the moment, Hairston may have priced himself out of the Mets plans for 2013.
Mets Will Not Be Big Spenders:
One consistent pattern with the Alderson regime has been a lack of spending in the free agent market. The tight payroll will continue this offseason, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. The Mets have 80 million dollars committed to returning players and are expected to dole out roughly 10 million dollars to other players in arbitration, leaving very little room to sign a premiere free agent. That would rule out a player such as Josh Hamilton or B.J. Upton, but the club expects to spend its budget on several low cost acquisitions to improve other areas of the ball club.
One area the Mets are expected to address in free agency is a veteran catcher. The biggest names in the free agent pool are Russell Martin and A.J. Pierzynski, but their price range is expected to be higher than what the Mets are willing to spend on the position. Besides the option of re-signing Kelly Shoppach, two names that have come up are Miguel Olivo and David Ross, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. We have discussed Olivo before at Mets 101, but Ross is an interesting name. Ross backed up Brian McCann in Atlanta last season and batted .256 with nine home runs and 23 RBI's. Ross, 35, could provide veteran leadership for a young pitching staff and the Braves are interested in re-signing him after the news that McCann could be sidelined following offseason surgery. Another possibility behind the dish for the Mets could be a trade according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Heyman's sources indicate that the Mets do not want to spend a lot of money for a platoon catcher and could seek to acquire one in the trade market instead at a lower cost.
Could Torii Hunter Be a Candidate for the Mets?:
The Mets will likely seek to bring a veteran outfielder with power on a short term deal. One such candidate could be outfielder Torii Hunter, who the Angels declined to make a qualifying offer to prior to the free agency period. Hunter, 37, hit .313 with 16 home runs and 92 RBI's in the final year of his deal with Los Angeles. Hunter has said to have enjoyed his time on the West Coast and the Angels are interested in retaining him, but if the two sides can't reach a deal the Mets could pursue the veteran on a one year contract. If signed, Hunter could provide veteran leadership for a young group of outfielders and offer a bit of right handed pop to a lineup that desperately needs it.
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