Samuel Choi, a reader of MetsBlog.com
I was wondering if there was ANY possibility the Mets could still sign Shin-Soo Choo, since all indications are his suitors are dropping like flies?
11:45 am: The Rangers have agreed to sign Choo to a seven-year, $130 million deal (Grant, Dec. 20).
Michael Baron, ContributorUpdated from 10:34 am: Obviously, there’s no chance of it happening now, but Choo is and always will be an ideal fit for the Mets offensively. They still do not have a natural, full-time leadoff hitter, and Choo would definitely fill that void at a high level.
There are a couple of problems which likely prevented the Mets from investing in Choo. First, their payroll is currently between $78-83 million for 2014, leaving no room to sign a player who will earn eight figures next season. Of course, clearing payroll space by trading Ike Davis could add some more flexibility, but I wonder if that window isn’t closing on the Mets for now. Second, Sandy Alderson said early on this winter it’s unlikely he will sign a player to a $100 million contract. Once Hunter Pence got his five-year, $90 million deal with the Giants in September, it was clear the prices in free agency were going to skyrocket this winter (and they did). This likely pushed Choo past that $100 million price point for the Mets and many other clubs very early.
Based on what Jacoby Ellsbury got from the Yankees, Choo should have only gotten a little less, which is what Texas gave him. Choo is a premier player in this market, and so it was simply a matter of time before someone stepped up and made a deal with him. He did well, considering his age, skill set, and likely decline in the early part of the contract.
Outside of a possible acquisition at shortstop, the Mets are likely done adding primary position players this winter. I thought there might be a chance they could add a left-handed compliment to Chris Young, but it seems they’re now focused on adding starting pitching depth on minor league deals to compete with Jenrry Mejia, and also improving their bullpen on the back-end.
This doesn’t mean the Mets don’t have needs remaining offensively – obviously, they do. However, Sandy Alderson has acknowledged publicly they could go into camp with continued weaknesses on the roster. They could conceivably protect these weaknesses by creating platoons with in-house options – such as first base – but they’re expecting growth from their current holdovers once again, which is necessary regardless of their investments in the external markets.