The Mets need a closer, or a relief ace, or whatever, and there's a hodgepodge of names floating around to whom they have been connected, however tenuously, over the past few days. To wit:
Jonathan Broxton, who just signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals, was ultimately persuaded to join Kansas City because of a recruiting effort by Jeff Francoeur. The capper was a day of bow-hunting at the Georgia property of "comedian" Jeff Foxworthy. Considering that Broxton threw just a few more innings in 2011 than I did and will make nearly $4 million more than me in 2012, I'd say this was an opportunity the Mets wisely passed on, if they were even interested in the first place.
The Mets are reportedly in the running for erstwhile Met Octavio Dotel, seen most recently winning the World Series with the Cardinals. Now that he's learned how to win, why wouldn't the Mets come calling? Dotel had the best walk rate of his career — albeit in just 24 innings — with the Cards last year, and his strikeout rate was his highest since 2008. He turned 38 last week and made $2.8 million in 2011, and though he has a history of control issues and a propensity for allowing home runs, he should be productive and inexpensive enough to help the Mets next season while his status as a Proven Closer™ and a Winning Player™ should amply satisfy traditionalists.
Mike Puma's sources indicate that Brad Lidge and Jon Rauch are also being considered. Lidge hasn't walked fewer than four batters per nine innings since 2005 and his velocity has fallen precipitously over that span. Like Dotel, Lidge is a Winning Player™, closing games for the World Chamption [sic] Phillies in 2008. He's also a Choke Artist™, serving up that mammoth home run to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS. He made $1.5 million with Philly last year and figures to make about the same in 2012. Should the Mets care? Should I care if they care?
Rauch is 33 and made $3.5 million with the Blue Jays last year. He's enormous at 6'10" and a perfectly cromulent reliever, but I'm just not sure that he's Closer Material™, and if he's not then it can't be prudent to spend in excess of $3 million on him. If he's willing to take a steep pay cut then I'm sure the Mets would be happy to have him, but they're in no position to spend lavishly on middle relief.
- The Mets also have eyes for Athletics closer Andrew Bailey, who is a New Jerseyan, will turn 28 in May, and won the Rookie of the Year in 2009. He has great across-the-board peripheral stats, striking out nearly a batter an inning, walking less than a few, and seldom giving up home runs. Bailey is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason, but the A's will be looking for a considerable haul, and anything more than a middling prospect or two is more than the Mets should be willing to part with given their likely outlook for 2012.
Rest assured that we'll continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of any and all once-interesting relievers the Mets may or may not be pursuing this offseason.