The Mets were just a few wins away from earning their first World Series title since 1986 this fall, but there’s no guarantee they’ll go that far next year, because a GM’s work is never done. Sandy Alderson will need to patch some holes in the roster before Mets fans can start thinking about a return trip to the promised land. Here are some of the big free agents that the Mets are currently linked to:
The Mets were operating with a patchwork bullpen in the postseason that featured converted starters Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese; generally not a recipe for success. Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed are about the only sure things in the 2016 Mets bullpen, so Alderson will be looking to fortify this area. RHP Darren O’Day, who had a cameo appearance as a Met in 2009 before being DFA’d, has emerged as a very reliable late-inning option with the Orioles over the last few seasons (23-8, 1.92 ERA in 263.0 innings since 2012). The side-arming O’Day will command one of the higher salaries of any reliever in the free agent market, so the Mets will need to have other options available should they be outbid. RHP Joakim Soria would be a great addition, as would LHPs Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo. Soria has been a serviceable closer for the Rangers and Tigers since coming off Tommy John surgery in 2013, collecting 42 saves in that span. But with Familia firmly entrenched as the Mets’ closer, Soria would have to adapt to the setup role, as he did in Pittsburgh at the tail-end of 2015. Sipp and Bastardo are coming off career years with the Astros and Pirates, respectively.
Should the Mets let Yoenis Cespedes walk away, Gerardo Parra would be a solid, cost-effective replacement in the outfield. A lifetime .277 hitter over seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Orioles, he doesn’t have a lot of power (his 14 HR last season was a career-high) but makes up for it with his speed and defense. A left-handed batter, Parra would be a great platoon-mate with right-handed CF Juan Lagares, who is just a .254 hitter against righties all-time. Parra is a lifetime .289 hitter against righties.
The Mets saw plenty of Ben Zobrist when they faced the Royals in the World Series, and the utility infielder delivered several clutch hits that ultimately sunk the Mets in five games. Zobrist is a lifetime .265 hitter that can play almost any position on the field (but mainly patrols second base), so many teams will be after his services this winter. Zobrist would represent an upgrade over Daniel Murphy, but Alderson has already said that he wouldn’t mind starting the 2016 season with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada as his middle infielders, with Dilson Herrera as an alternate.