10:47 am Nov. 8, 2012
The Mets are looking at Cody Ross, apparently. Or at least "baseball officials" think they ought to be looking at him.
Ross is an outfielder, most recently for the Boston Red Sox. He's decidedly not one of the best free agents currently available. Still, Ross put up a 113 O.P.S.+ in 2012, and would be an upgrade over anyone the Mets currently have on hand to deploy in left field, center field or right field.
So, according to the New York Post, "multiple baseball officials yesterday pointed to Cody Ross as a possible free-agent target for the team."
With their current obligations locking them in at the same payroll as last season, the Mets are unable to add any significant free agents. That includes the big-ticket items like Josh Hamilton. But it would also seem to include Cody Ross. Only the deferral of the money owed Jason Bay, at this point, might have opened up any more room for additions.
MLB Trade Rumors pointed out that Ross is seeking a three-year, $25 million contract. Never mind that such a deal makes little sense for a Mets team that's not going to contend. They probably couldn't afford it right now, anyway.
The only way the team has to add free agents is by moving salary. That could well happen if the Mets trade R.A. Dickey, owed $5 million in 2013, or David Wright, owed $16 million in 2013. The Dickey trade wouldn't clear up quite enough for Cody Ross, and the overall tradeoff isn't one that helps the Mets in 2013. Nor would a Wright deal help the present, even if it opened up the chance to add Cody Ross and another, smaller free agent piece, such as Melky Cabrera, only available because a drug suspension has cratered his value.
Instead, the Mets are going to need to wait and see which free agents are left with few, if any, other options, before they can plan to go after and sign them. For a team with little to offer financially, the Mets only have the leverage to sign players who were left out of the free agency musical chairs late this offseason.
They'll get the winter's remainders. There's no targeting players for the Mets, unless and until they deal Wright and/or Dickey, which would of course make it even harder to sell a veteran on playing for a team that much less likely to contend in 2013.
The Mets went 74-88 in 2012, have no outfielders, starting-caliber catchers, or many strong bullpen options. Their only real trading options are to deal their lone first baseman, Ike Davis, more irreplaceable to the Mets than ever with Lucas Duda suffering a broken wrist while moving furniture, or two reliable returning starting pitchers, Dickey or Jon Niese. Duda, incidentally, is probably the incumbent left fielder now too.
Lots of players could help the Mets. But the Mets don't have the funds to help themselves, beyond picking up whatever's left when the teams whose owners aren't in a financial hole are done shopping.