Unfortunately, the top three players on my list were offered arbitration, meaning they will return to their respective teams for the 2012 season. In fact, Skip Schumaker signed a two year contract to remain in St. Louis. Jesus Flores will return to Washington and the same for Chris Volstad and the Marlins. Andy Sonnanstine of the Rays and Jeff Keppinger of the Giants were non-tendered, making them free agents and both would be solid acquisitions for the Mets.
Now that they are official I have composed a new list of the top 5 fits for the New York Mets. Unlike yesterday, when the players were non-tender candidates, these players were not offered arbitration by their respective clubs:
5. Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP, Dodgers: Kuo has been a Mets killer for years now. Coming off a bad year in LA, he has a huge upside and will be a help to any team's bullpen. Though the Mets could use him, there is no proof he could be an upgrade to Tim Byrdak and even Daniel Herrera. Just two years removed from being an All Star, he'd be a steal if he could return to that form. More than likely, the Mets will pass; being they have Byrdak and Herrera.
4. Peter Moylan, RHP, Braves: I know the reaction is, Why more relievers, the team just added three? With Moylan coming off an injury, his value is a lot better than what he would be asking for on the open market. He also has the ability to be a reliever that is actually known for getting right hand hitters out. Not like Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta, who are not the quintessential ROOGY. The more relief depth will allow the Mets to use the depth to 1. Set up the best bullpen possible, not everybody performs as expected. 2. Protect against injury, because somebody is always getting hurt. 3. Perhaps use extra relievers to include in trades to help other areas of the team.
3. Ryan Spilborghs, OF, Rockies: Spilborghs can play all three outfield positions and start if needed. He is known to hit left handed pitching well and is not a bad defender. The price is right, so this is a no-brainer. He can play against left handers both in centerfield and rightfield. Definitely adds depth to their bench.
2. Ryan Theriot, 2B, Cardinals: Theriot probably doesn't give the team all the options Skip Schumaker would give, but he provides depth in the middle infield. He has the ability to play every day and will give the team a back up plan in case Ruben Tejada can't play every day or Daniel Murphy can't play second base. Mets could have him on a one year deal, but will probably bow out once another team offers a second year.
1. Joe Saunders, LHP, Diamondbacks: The only question with Saunders would be whether he could be had on a 1 year contract. He would be clearly be worth the $4-$5 million he'd be looking for. Ken Rosenthal reports that Arizona is looking to try to re-sign him. He would fill a similar role to the of what I suggest Volstad would do yesterday, start out as a forth or fifth starter and perhaps move up. He is very similar to Jonathon Niese, but much more polished and would provide depth in the team's rotation.
Comparing this list to my list of yesterday, (1. Schumaker 2. Flores 3. Volstad 4. Sonnanstine 5. Keppinger) Theriot is more of an everyday player than Keppinger, but Keppinger provides depth at more positions including CF. I still like Sonnanstine because he can be a long reliever and a spot starter when needed (Santana) and is a younger, more exciting option than Miguel Batista. Saunders makes the rotation better and Spilborghs gives the bench a right handed edge. (I think an upgrade from Scott Hairston, who did well last year) Imagine Kuo and Moylan added to the bullpen and all the flexability the team will have. They could then move more than one reliever to help other areas of the team. The only negative out of all this: for every player the team signs, another has to be removed from the 40 man roster.