From the Mets perspective, there could be as many as four players who are non-tendered, perhaps Mike Pelfrey, Ronny Paulino, Mike Baxter and Manny Acosta. First of all, Mike Pelfrey is not getting non-tendered. As much as Mets fans want him gone, he has more value to the Mets then he could be had in a trade, and is not worth just dumping. Manny Acosta was decent for the Mets in the second half of the season and will not cost the Mets through arbitration. Baxter is a possibility, but only in terms to a roster spot. Similar to Chris Carter last season, it may free the team of another spot that they may want to fill down the road. Paulino, to me, is the only lock to be non-tendered. Paulino, for the lack of a better description, did not do his job last season. He was brought in because of his reputation of handling pitchers and throwing out baserunners. He did neither well and he also didn't hit; where he was known to be a gap hitter with some power. He was a singles machine and quite frankly, was no help to the team last season. The Mets would rather go with Jose Thole and Mike Nickeas than use Paulino next season. And in the end, he will be the only Mets player non-tendered.
There has been much talk about who will be non-tendered. Heres my top five fits for the Mets, assuming they becoming free agents tonight.
5. Jeff Keppinger, 2B, San Francisco: Though he is a candidate, I think he may not be non-tendered. But if he is, he'd be a fit for the Mets. A legitimate hitter who can play both infield and outfield as well as shortstop, if needed, could provide some veteran depth among the middle infield. He could also play every day, if necessary, which may drive the price up a litte bit. I like him, but obviously for the right price.
4. Andy Sonnanstine, RHP Tampa Bay: Sonnanstine may very well be non-tendered because its been a couple of years since he's had an impact on the Rays. He hasn't been in the team's plans over the last two years, due to the fact that the Rays have had tremendous young pitching. With Matt Moore playing a major role with them next season, Sonnanstine is not needed. The Rays financially probably feel he is not worth what he may get in arbitration, because he is essentially a long reliever. He could play two roles for the Mets. He can either be the teams fifth starter, if worthy, or be the team's long man and spot starter for days Johan Santana cannot pitch.
3. Chris Volstad, RHP Miami: There are chances that Volstad is tendered a contract, but he may become a free agent. If he does, he has a huge upside that the Mets should be interested in. He could legitimately make a case for a spot in the rotation, and if he does, give the Mets depth that they haven't had in a while. Downsides, he has not reached full potential and does have to make adjustments going through a batting order a second and third time. He will also be affordable.
2. Jesus Flores, C, Washington: Heres a chance for the Mets to right a wrong. Apparently the Nationals are leaning heavily to non-tendering Flores giving the Mets a chance to get him back. Of course, he was left unprotected a couple years ago and taken off the Mets in the Rule 5 draft by the Nationals. Wilson Ramos has taken over as the everyday catcher for Washington. Flores brings a very good glove and has become a good game caller, which is something the Mets need desperately. He has the ability to become a better hitter, something he has not done since his rookie season with the Nationals.
1. Skip Schumaker, OF, St. Louis: Another uncertainty as far as non-tender but if he is, the Mets should add him. He has experience playing everyday as a CF, RF, and 2B. He has helped the Cardinals batting at the top of the order as well as the bottom. All needs the Mets have. The only issue is will be his demand if he is let go. Other teams will see his value and the price may move out of the Mets range. If the dollar figure is ok, he is a must sign for the Mets.
The non-tender deadline will probably drop the prices of a couple of free agents. Pitchers Jon Garland and Jason Marquis may put themselves back into the Mets financial plans due to the expected non-tendering of some decent starting pitchers.