Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicted the Mets will sign Stephen Drew, Curtis Granderson, Bronson Arroyo, and Roy Halladay.
Of course, it is impossible to predict where almost any given free agent will land, let alone fifty of them. Still, these predictions have proven to be a solid barometer for which teams are aggressive or passive in the offseason. Dierkes predicted last year that the Mets' offseason would be relatively dormant, listing Joel Peralta as the only Met free agent acquisition that qualified for his Top 50. In reality, Peralta returned to the Rays, but the Mets did indeed only sign one of Dierkes's Top 50 free agents in Shaun Marcum.
The signing of Stephen Drew seems to be the best fit for the Mets. Although most of the attention has been focused on the Mets' corner outfield vacancies, the team's most pressing need may well be at shortstop. Ruben Tejada is slated to start at the position, but he was alternatingly injured and awful in 2013. Drew, while significantly older than Tejada, would allow the Mets to have a true top-of-the-order threat from the shortstop position. Although Drew is a left-handed hitter and Citi Field tends to sap lefty power, Drew relies mainly on hitting the gaps to fuel his offensive game, which should play nicely in Citi Field. His weakness against left-handed pitching could even provide some opportunities for Tejada or Wilfredo Tovar to strut their stuff. Mix that together with superior defense at short, and Drew seems like a natural fit. The only drawback is that Drew has been extended a qualifying offer by the Red Sox, and will therefore cost a second round pick for the Mets. Jhonny Peralta, who was not given a qualifying offer from the Tigers, makes for an interesting alternative to Drew, but his BABIP-inflated 2013, strong playoff showing, and lack of pick compensation may significantly inflate his next contract. That hasn't stopped the Mets from meeting with Peralta this week.
Bronson Arroyo seems like a decent fit for the Mets, but arriving at an appropriate contract length and value might be challenging. The Mets could use a workhorse like Arroyo who seems to be immune to his surroundings, pitching in hitters' domains since 2003 and building a respectable career while doing so. The fact that he is not tied to draft pick compensation is an added bonus, but it is tough to see the two parties finding common ground on a deal. With Harvey slated to return in 2015, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero well on their way, and Jenrry Mejia also looking like a strong rotation candidate, it is hard to see where Arroyo will fit in the Mets' rotation by July 2014, let alone any season beyond that. Where the Mets see a one-year contract possibility, Arroyo may be looking for three, and that will likely lead the Mets to look elsewhere for starting pitching help.
Roy Halladay fits the bill of a one-year gamble with a chance for a solid payoff, and he may very well find himself in New York, but there may be too much risk attached for the Mets to get involved. Halladay has pitched with severe shoulder troubles, including labrum fraying and bone spurs in his shoulders. Combine that with the fact that the former ace will be 37 next season and it's evident why his average fastball velocity dropped more than 3 MPH from 2012, and dipped below 88 MPH in August and September 2013. Doc has also had serious trouble finding the strike zone of late, as his first-pitch strike rate dropped by a whopping 10% from previous seasons, and he has also struggled getting hitters to chase pitches out of the zone. Tinkering with his release point has only exacerbated his issues, as he has had trouble maintaining a consistent release on all of his pitches from start to start. I believe that this is a project the Mets are best left passing on.
Finally, Curtis Granderson seems like the antithesis of what the Mets would want out of a new right fielder. Although the team is looking for some pop, Granderson is a rather one-dimensional offensive player. The former Yankee center fielder is an all-or-nothing power hitter who could have his offensive game significantly damaged by moving from the bandbox of Yankee Stadium to the wide open spaces of Citi Field, and he may find that right field is a bit more difficult to cover. His Ike Davis-like strikeout rates also make it hard to imagine that he'll do much to alleviate the team's whiffing issues.