Hot Stove Heating Up

The hot stove portion of the baseball year is starting to heat up. The Mets are not likely to be a major player for any of the big-time free agents,  but there are a couple of cheaper guys out there who could end up in Flushing. Plus, they should be active in the trade market — that is, assuming any other team is interested in what the Mets have to offer. That’s a big assumption. In any case, let’s take a look at some players and what’s going on with them — not just those who could land with the Mets:

Cameron Maybin

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The Marlins traded Maybin to the Padres for two seemingly pretty good middle relievers on Saturday. I had been hoping the Mets would make a play for Maybin.  Although he has yet to have any success at the big league level, Maybin was a highly touted prospect — good enough to be the centerpiece of the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers. And I just like the way he looks — he looks like a ballplayer. Although so did Victor Diaz, and that didn’t work out too well. Maybin could end up to be one of those guys who never fulfills his promise. The Mets may already have one of those — Fernando Martinez. I guess they really don’t need two.

Cliff Lee
It’s funny to hear and read all of the experts saying the Yankees are “desperate” to land Lee. If the Yankees are desperate, what does that make every other team in the league? The Yankees should be careful in their bidding. Instead of simply overwhelming Lee like they do with every other free agent target, they would be smart to start low and work their way up. The only bidders are likely to be the Yankees and the Rangers. Certainly the Rangers can’t match the Yankees’ dollars. Why should they bid against themselves as well? I wouldn’t go more than four years for Lee — as good as he is, he’s already 32 years old.

Dan Uggla
Uggla reportedly turned down a four-year, $48 million offer from the Marlins. That’s a lot of money for Florida, and a lot of money for a slugging second baseman who is awful in the field. He should take that deal — I don’t see him getting much of a better deal anywhere else. Unless he just wants to get out of Miami and actually play in front of live people.

Adam Dunn

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Dunn wasn’t born yet when they invented the DH, but they must have known he was coming. Dunn is the prototype slugger who stinks on defense. But he reportedly wants to stay in the NL so he can play the field, however poorly. I thought the Mets should have signed him two seasons ago when they needed a left fielder with power. But for some reason, he was never considered. Oh, I know why — Omar Minaya. Dunn is pretty much just a first baseman now. The Mets are set there.

Carl Crawford
There are whispers Crawford will be the next $100 million man, and that the Angels have already fitted him for wings. He would be perfect for Citi Field, but it’s not going to happen.

Orlando Hudson
The annual flirtation with Hudson might resume, but it’s likely it will end the same way — in the arms of another team.

Jayson Werth

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If I were a GM, I would be very wary of Werth. He’s a good player, but I am suspicious of players who finally put it together in their late 20s/early 30s. If they were so good, why did it take so long (I feel the same way about Angel Pagan)? Players like this tend to have as sudden a fall as their rise. Werth could be one of those players. He has done most of his damage at home, that hitter’s paradise called Citizens Bank Park. He doesn’t hit well in the clutch — .186 with runners in scoring position, as opposed to .328 with none on. He’s never had 100 RBIs. My friend who is a Phillies fan said Werth is good, but he can’t carry a team. His lying agent, Scott Boras, compared Werth to Matt Holliday, hinting he deserves a similar nine-figure deal. He might just get it, but he is not werth (oops, worth) it.

Adrian Beltre
Beltre is another Boras client of whom to be wary. He was a major disappointment until a monster year in 2004 (coincidentally his walk year with the Dodgers). He followed that with a  monster contract and five mediocre years with the Mariners. He had a good season with the Red Sox, and now he stands to sign a second huge contract. At 31, I’m sure Beltre has another five mediocre seasons in him.

Jon Garland & Aaron Harang
I wanted the Mets to get either or both of these guys last year. Harang has had a rough couple of seasons, but he’s got great stuff, and if he’s on, he could be a solid number 2 starter. He could be gotten reasonably cheaply. Garland might cost a little more because he had a good season. But with Santana out for, well, who knows how long, the Mets need another good dependable starter.

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