The offseason has been pretty ice cold all around MLB with the exception of a few teams (Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Angels and a few others.) The Mets have made very few moves during the offseason as well. Other than re-signing a few contracts and signing Anthony Swarzak, the Mets haven’t done anything else. We’re closing in on the 1st week of the new year and Sandy Alderson still has quite a few holes to fill for the team. A 2nd or 3rd baseman, an outfielder, some more help in the bullpen and possibly a 1st baseman. With the recent budget cut, filling these holes is going to be very difficult. I began looking at the list of Free Agents to see who the Mets could possibly sign given their financial status and while doing so, I saw a lot of former Mets players that the team could possibly reunite with.
Disclaimer: Bartolo Colon is not featured on this list. I love Big Sexy, but father time is catching up with him and after a disappointing 2017 season, I don’t think bringing him back to New York is a right move no matter how beloved he is.
5. Alejandro De Aza (OF) (2016)
Alejandro De Aza has been playing in the MLB since 2007 and has a respectable .260 Batting Average. He’s played in the outfield his entire career, whether it be left, right, or center, De Aza has the experience to fill the hole of an outfielder for the Mets. The best part about De Aza is that they could probably sign him to a minor league deal and then invite him to Spring Training. They could do what the Nationals did with him, sign him for a base salary of $535,000 and pay the additional money if he proves to be good enough to play in the majors. De Aza isn’t someone who is going to shock the world at the plate. In 2016 when he played for the Mets he had .205 Batting Average but down the stretch he was a key factor in the lineup. I think he checks all the Mets’ boxes when it comes to signing an outfielder. They can get him for cheap, he can play all positions in the Outfield, he’s played in New York, and he’s a veteran. Signing him and keeping him in the majors AT LEAST until Conforto is back is something that wouldn’t do much harm and is something Sandy should look into, in my opinion.
4. Neil Walker (2B) (2016-2017)
Neil Walker showed up to the Mets with some big shoes to fill. Daniel Murphy had lit the world on fire in 2015 being one of the key factors in the Mets’ World Series run. When Murphy opted to sign with the division rivals instead, the Mets brought in the veteran 2nd baseman, Neil Walker. Before I go any further, I must say that in order to sign Walker, the Mets would have to do some dealing to afford his contract. Trading away guys like Lagares or AJ Ramos would free up money on their payroll and would allow the Mets to afford Neil Walker. Walker was traded to the Brewers after the trade deadline in 2017 when it was clear the Mets would not be contenders. Originally signed with a $10.5-Million-dollar contract in 2016, Walker accepted a qualifying offer of $17.2 Million the next season. He’s going to be looking for somewhere around the same amount of money I’d imagine. His 2017 wasn’t as good as his 2016 season but that’s partially due to his time spent on the disabled list. Despite his numbers being down from 2016, Walker is still one hell of a 2nd baseman and someone the Mets could really use. He also spent time playing 3rd AND 1st base. While it isn’t where he shines quite as bright, given some time to become more familiar with the position, I think he could be good at each position. Once again though, this is all only possible if the Mets are willing to deal in order to free up their payroll.
3. Lucas Duda (1B/OF) (2011-2017)
I know Lucas Duda was literally JUST traded away in 2017 to make room for the new 1st baseman Dominic Smith, but since Sandy wasn’t all that impressed with Dominic Smith, bringing back Duda would be a smart move by the team. Like Walker, the Mets would probably have to deal away a guy like Ramos to free up some money to get Duda. Duda’s contracts in 2016 and 2017 were less than that of Neil Walkers which would make it easier for the Mets to sign him. They possibly could get him without having to deal away anyone. He signed a 7.25 $Million-Dollar contract in 2017 and the Mets have around $10 Million-dollars in spending money this off season. While it’d be cutting it close, they could possibly get him for somewhere around $8 Million and still have $2 Million to play around with. But, I think dealing a guy like Ramos to free up some extra money would be a good idea. Duda is exactly what the Mets are looking for, they want a guy who can be a 1st baseman and an outfielder (like Jay Bruce). Except, Duda would cost a lot less than Jay Bruce. Duda made his MLB debut for the Mets in 2011 and played corner outfield as well as 1st baseman up until 2014 where he primarily played 1st base. But, I’m sure given some time to become familiar with the outfield again, Duda could be a good filler until Conforto is able to return. Duda was traded to the Rays before the trade deadline in 2017 and he finished the year off with a .217 Batting Average and 30 home runs. He’s proven he’s still got the power he once had and can smash a few Duda Bombs when needed. Bringing back Lucas would help the Mets tremendously since it’d kill 2 bird with 1 stone and cost them less money than a guy like Jay Bruce.
2. Addison Reed (RP/CP 2015-2017)
Addison Reed is another guy who was traded away in 2017 to free up money for the struggling Mets. And he’s also a guy that fits the Mets criteria. Reed filled in as the closer for the Mets when Familia was suspended and then injured during the 2017 season and while it was sometimes shaky, he was quite effective in the role. Reed debuted in the MLB in 2011 for the White Sox and acted as their closer for the 2013 season, recording 40 saves with an ERA of 3.79. With Familia back, Addison would likely return to his role as the set-up man, but Mets’ skipper Mickey Callaway has said that they might not have a true closer for the beginning of 2018. Like Duda and Walker, Reed’s contract is a little steep for the budget of the Mets. While it’s not as high as Walkers, it’s still probably going to cost them around $8 Million to sign him to a one-year contract. Much like Duda, it would mean that the Mets would have to deal someone to free up some money. In this case, dealing Ramos to a team for cash would make the most sense. While a bullpen consisting of Reed, Familia, Blevins AND Ramos sounds amazing, you don’t really need all those set up/closer guys. Ramos was impressive with the Mets when he filled in as the closer after Reed was traded, but if Reed was to return, Ramos would be the 1st guy I would imagine they would deal. Of course, if the bullpen is still their strongest focus, there would be the possibility of trading away a guy like Lagares, although I hope that doesn’t end up happening.
1. Jose Reyes (INF 2003-2011, 2016-2017)
Who else would it be? I’m still genuinely confused as to why the Mets haven’t made this deal already. Reyes would be another cheap option for the Mets. Jose is 34 now and isn’t the same player he once was, but he is still a guy that will give it his all and play any position asked of him. With the Colorado Rockies finally paying off the rest of his contract, the Mets would probably end up having to pay Jose a little more than they did in 2016 and 2017, but I don’t expect him to ask for an unlikely amount of money, especially for a one-year contract. Reyes is aware that Rosario is on the come up and will likely be the shortstop this season and for many seasons to come if things go according to plan. But, Jose could still fill in as the 3rd baseman, the 2nd baseman and possibly even the 1st baseman if they asked him to. Reyes played 4 games in the outfield in 2017 for the Mets. He’s a guy who’s said on many occasions that he loves playing in New York. If you’ve read my article about why I think the Mets should sign Jose Reyes, you know that I am a big supporter of Jose Reyes. I know he had a rocky 2017 season, but the guy loves playing for the Mets. He brings the kind of energy and positive influence to the dugout that a team like the Mets really need sometimes. With the team captain, David Wright returning looking more and more unlikely, the presence of Reyes in the dugout is priceless. He’s a guy who has spent the majority of his career playing for the Mets and he has everything the Mets are currently in search of. He checks the box of 3rd and 2nd baseman, and it’s at least possible to think he could be a 1st baseman OR outfielder is really needed.
The Mets are in a sticky situation currently, with the budget being cut and only having $10 Million-dollars to spend, looking to reunite with some old friends is the best option for them I believe. Of course signing ALL of these guys is never going to happen, I’d be surprised if they even signed one of them. But, I think these are the most realistic guys that could return to the Mets. I left off Jay Bruce strictly because of the kind of money he’s looking for and the kind of contract he wants. I’d love for Bruce to come back to New York, but I was attempting to make this list as realistic as possible and given the Mets’ financial status, a Bruce return doesn’t seem to be likely (UPDATE 1/11/18: HE'S BACK). I hope you enjoyed the list, if you have any ideas of other former Mets who could return to the team, be sure to leave a comment below or send me them on twitter @Keiths_Mustache !