I will start this out by saying that the folks over at MLB Trade Rumors do a tremendous job; I visit the site multiple times per day and get plenty of breaking Mets news there. But maybe they should get out of the free agent prediction business.
Every year MLBTR honcho Tim Dierkes writes a column in which he predicts where the top 50 free agents will go. This year, he thinks the Mets will get four of them. I predict he will be wrong. The Mets certainly could very well sign four free agents this off-season, just not any of the ones Dierkes predicts.
First off for the Mets in Dierkes’s parade is Curtis Granderson, ranked number 13 on MLBTR’s list. Now, in September I advocated signing Granderson, but only at $12 million per season. MLBTR predicts he will get $15 million, which is far too rich for the Mets blood.
Stephen Drew is next on MLBTR’s list, and next for the Mets. I really don’t get the fascination with Drew. He is a .260 hitter whose 13 home runs with the Red Sox this season will translate into seven at Citi Field. Dierkes predicts $10 million per season for Drew. He will not get that from the Mets.
Bronson Arroyo makes the list at number 23. Dierkes thinks the Mets will sign him for two years at $12 million per season. I have always liked Arroyo, but he turns 37 in Spring Training and that is too much of a commitment to make to a pitcher of that age. And with the Mets strong young pitching, they don’t need to sign any starter to more than one year, and Arroyo insists he is looking for a multi-year deal.
Speaking of pitchers of a certain age, we come to our final and most surprising prediction — Roy Halladay, who clocks in at 49 on MLBTR’s list. The 36-year-old Halladay is recovering from shoulder surgery. He was able to come back late in the season and was just awful. The Mets do not need to take a chance on someone like that when there are plenty of healthy, younger pitchers out there.
Aside from the individual players, Dierkes’s numbers just don’t add up. The Mets have said they have $30 million-$35 million to spend on new players. Assuming Halladay would get around $5 million, that’s $42 million for these four players, clearly over budget.
Look for the Mets to sign a maximum of four guys in the $6 million range and use the remainder to fill out the rest of the team, finally ending with a payroll in the $85 million-$90 million range.
But could Dierkes be right? There is always that possibility, but given his track record, the odd are remote. In his column last year, Dierkes correctly predicted the destinations of just 13 free agents (he seems to think he got 16 right, but I don’t know where he is getting that). Of those 13, 10 of them signed with their previous teams, no-brainers like Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and David Ortiz. So really, Dierkes made three correct predictions.
This is not to criticize Tim Dierkes or MLBTR; predicting where free agents will go is extremely difficult. So maybe no one should do it at all.