The Ankiel signing by the Nationals concerns me. For the first time, I am now questioning whether the Mets are even practicing fair negotiations with these players. Cody Ross and Jeff Francis laughed at the numbers the Mets were discussing and Matt Tuiasosopo just excepted a minor league contract without an invitation to spring training. With Ankiel, it was either the Mets had no interest or they gave another insulting offer. If all that is true, the Mets will not be in the market for Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Jon Garland, Rich Harden and perhaps even Kosuke Fukudome. Brad Penny would rather pitch in Japan that listen to what the Mets have to offer. Relief pitchers Scott Linebrink and Mike Gonzalez will soon be signing with teams not named the New York Mets.
The sad thing is that this is no longer a matter of overspending. All the critics who have complained every time a player signs a contract have nothing to say here. This is the part of the offseason where teams strictly sign players to minor league contracts and for a guy like Sandy Alderson, he should be in his glory. He very much likes to add players who are clearly taking contracts for less than their worth. This should be his time to shine.
That being said, it still is time to dig deep into the free agent pool and mention some players who may be willing to take a standard minor league contract with a league minimum salary if they make the big club. At this point, there is no reason that they can't take a chance on INF Aaron Miles. Other infielders who may be worth taking a chance on are 2B/SS Felipe Lopez, 1B Scott Thorman, 1B Nick Johnson (though he may be no more than a pinch hitter now) and Russell Branyan. Outfielders who may take such contract are Reggie Willits and Conor Jackson. Even Xavier Nady will probably get more incentives in a minor league deal than the Mets are willing to include. Remember, this is strictly a minor league contract with a spring training invite and a league minimum salary if they make the team.
Some potential pitchers that may take such a deal are former Cubs and Pirates pitcher Kevin Hart, former Braves and Royals pitcher Kyle Davies, Manalapan, NJ product Jason Bergmann and former Marlins LHP Dan Meyer. There is no reason for a Mets fan to be excited about any of my suggested moves. The truth is, nobody of any known name is coming to the Mets for what they are offering. This idea of a minor league deal for around $1 million if the player makes the team is becoming less and less believable as the days go by. I hope I'm proven wrong, but if I'm not, I'd like to see the Mets at least bring in a couple of the before mentioned players which will give them move depth than they have right now.