Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors.com published his annual list of baseball’s top 50 free agents with predictions for where they’ll all land. It’s more or less required offseason reading, assuming you like to stay up on this stuff.
The Mets, we’ve discussed, need outfielders, and several of the players on the list are just that. So since there’s not much else doing in baseball today, I’ll take a cue from our man A.J. Ayer and try to employ the ol’ boo-hurrah theory on the listed outfielders. Obviously every case depends on the deal — Melky Cabrera at six years and $80 million is a very decided “boo.” But I’ll take cues from Dierkes on what these guys are expected to get. And I’ll start at the top:
Josh Hamilton: I’ve seen Mets fans express concern over Hamilton’s history of drug problems and how he’d respond to the big city, but it’s not like the Dallas area (the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country) is without its temptations. Far more concerning about Hamilton, to me, are his age and his expected salary. Hamilton’s an awesome player, no doubt, but he’s obviously not coming to the Mets, so this one’s a non-starter. Boo.
Michael Bourn: As a slick-fielding center fielder who gets on base a bit with great speed, Bourn would fill a bunch of needs for the Mets. But he hits left-handed like almost all their in-house outfielders do, plus he’s a Scott Boras client reportedly seeking a massive payday. Another one that’s just not happening regardless. If they have the money for Bourn, it should be going to David Wright. Boo.
B.J. Upton: I’ve been singing Upton’s praises on the podcast for a while. He’s only 28 so he should have a few good years in front of him, he hits right-handed with power and speed, and he plays a solid center field. Upton’s on-base percentage slipped under .300 for the first time in his career in 2012 and he’s never matched the high standards he set for himself with a breakout season in 2007. But he’s a very good player regardless. It sure doesn’t sound like the Mets have the type of money Upton will require — even if it’s the five years and $75-80 million Jack Moore predicted — and it wouldn’t be my money to spend if they did. But if they did, and if it was, I’d scoop him up at that rate. Hurrah.
Nick Swisher: The upside to Swisher is he’s a good switch-hitter and a capable fielder in an outfield corner who can fill in at first base in a pinch. The downside is that he absolutely always — 100 percent of the time — wants to bro it down. The latter could easily be tolerated if he were available for something way less than the $100 million he’s supposedly seeking. Qualified hurrah.
Shane Victorino: Here’s the messed-up thing: If Victorino’s price drops, as Dierkes suggests, basically everything about him makes sense for the Mets except for the fact that he’s chronically, ferociously, and irreparably Shane Victorino. Boo.
Melky Cabrera: Boo on most things about Melky Cabrera. Hurrah on signing him to a massively discounted deal because no one else wants him after his PED supension.
Torii Hunter: I would not have guessed that the five-year, $90-million deal Hunter signed with the Angels before the 2008 season would work out as well as it did. But he doesn’t really make any sense for the Mets now. He’s too old. Boo.
Cody Ross: Cody Ross is the Scott Hairston of guys who are allowed slightly more playing time than Scott Hairston. He gets on base a touch more than Hairston, but probably not enough to make up for the likely difference in their salaries. Hairston’s not on the list, so I’ll give a mild hurrah to Ross for his Hairstonian qualities.
Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick had a really nice year in Cincinnati and hits right-handed with power, but he’s 34 and reportedly looking for a multi-year deal. Boo, with the reminder that Ludwick, who has now been a Major League regular for six seasons, was once the type of player fans frequently dismiss as a Quad-A masher.
Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro’s sweet, but this doesn’t seem to make sense for him or the Mets. Boo.