Position players on category one start with current free agents and former Mets Scott Hairston and Willie Harris. Both can be had for a relatively low base salary if they were interested. Obtainable infielders include former Rays IF Willie Aybar, former Braves IF Troy Glaus, former Brewers IF Craig Counsell, Orlando Cabrera, Melvin Mora and perhaps even Omar Vizquel. All could provide depth off the bench as well as leadership. Former Mets catcher Ramon Castro and OF Endy Chavez as well as veteran OF Corey Patterson could also provide bench depth. "Dollar rack" starting pitchers include Erik Bedard, Zach Duke, Vincente Padilla, and injured pitchers Brandon Webb and Chris Young. Helpful relievers include Todd Coffey, Mike MacDougal, Chris Ray and Joel Zumaya; all of whom could provide depth in the bullpen.
The most interesting part of this list is category two which consists of players who are coming off of well paid contract and will not get anything close to what they made previously. Some may retire than take the contracts that will be offered and I predict a similar base salary to the players in category one. Carlos Guillen still has a little power though his injuries have kept him from being an everyday player. If JD Drew is healthy, he could provide depth as a forth outfielder assuming he wants to play. Mark DeRosa is coming off of two injury plagued seasons and, if healthy, could be a steal considering his versatility. Brad Hawpe is a former all star who, though not an every day player anymore, can back up both in the outfield and first base. Jeremy Bonderman once had ace stuff before injuries held him back. If he is ready to pitch, it would be worth it to see what he has left. Aaron Cook has finished a contract that he didn't live up to. The one time Colorado ace wasn't in the rotation at the end of last season and will be playing for a lower base this season. One who I find very intriguing former Angels RHP Fernando Rodney, who will probably get a one year contract worth considerably less than the $5.5 million he made last season.
Finally catagory three is players that should be obtainable on minor league contracts. Some players have fallen off during the years while others have not played in the last year or so. It may be worth it to the Mets to take a perhaps brief look at these players in spring training to see if they have anything left. If not, the Mets have nothing to lose by letting them go. Infielders Alfredo Amezaga and Khalil Greene may be worth a look. Former Astros and Rockies prospect Jason Hirsh could help out. One time top relievers Scot Shields, Ryan Franklin and David Riske can at least throw a couple of the spring training innings the Mets gave Oliver Perez last year. Maybe even a couple of power arms that have not flourished in the majors such as Manny Delcarmen and Juan Gutierrez. And how about bringing back Raul Valdes, the former Mets reliever who finished last season with the Yankees?
So, there you go. Not the star studded list any baseball fan would like to see. But the cost on all these players are extremely minimal and will keep the Mets well within their "budget." Even if all the preceding players were brought in to spring training, there is still no guarantee that any of them will pan out. But thats the risk you got to take if you don't want to add players that are to be paid as they deserve.