Top 5 Free Agent Targets For New York Mets

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New York Mets: Top Free Agent Targets

Brad Penner - USA Today

The New York Mets have said that the team will be more aggressive this offseason. However, how aggressive is a question that has yet to be answered. There is no doubt the team needs to add some more star power in order to be a contender in the 2014 season. Without Matt Harvey, that task is harder, but can still be attainable.

So far, teams like the Minnesota Twins, who have become a regular 90-loss team, have come out looking to make their team stronger. Even though the extra wild card spot is a couple years old, more evidence of how that affects the league is shining through. The Twins are just one example. Lately, teams that haven’t been winning are hanging on to guys that would usually have been traded. Josh Willingham, Carlos Quentin and Jeff Samardzija could all be examples.

Last year, the Kansas City Royals made the trade for James Shields, giving up top prospect Wil Myers, to attempt a playoff run. A few good signings can turn a team around. As for the Mets, finishing 22 games out of first place doesn’t leave much room for optimism. But if one thing was shown, it’s that the National League East wasn’t as strong as predicted.

To make the playoffs, the Mets need a big improvement from the offense, bullpen and with no Harvey the rotation. There aren’t many big prizes to be had on the market this year, but there is plenty of value. For the Mets, it may be about not spending big money.

Here are five guys that stick out who won’t cost a fortune and can drastically improve the team.

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5. Nelson Cruz

Cary Edmondson - USA Today

Nelson Cruz tips off the list because of his impact bat. Cruz isn't exactly graceful in the field, but his offensive power can add something to the lineup. Besides David Wright, the Mets lack any type of power, and Cruz can be the answer. A contract of five years for $80 million would make sense.

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4. Michael Morse

Brad Penner - USA Today

Michael Morse had an awful 2013 season, and the injuries he suffered didn't help. What is good about Morse is his versatility. Sliding over to left field would be no problem, and if Ike Davis continued to struggle, playing first is also an option. Morse is a solid hitter that slides right into the middle of the order. A four-year contract worth $38 to $42 million makes sense.

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3. Jhonny Peralta

Jim Fuller - USA Today

Shortstop is always a tough position to fill. Jhonny Peralta is a guy who can fill that hole for the Mets. Although he lacks speed and isn't exactly Mr. Gold Glove, Peralta is a good hitter with some home run strength.The Mets' main concern should be offense, and that's why Peralta fits. With more consistency underneath him, a four-year contract upwards of $45 million is doable.

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2. Jacoby Ellsbury

Robert Deutsch - USA Today

If the Mets were to go for one, big free agent, Jacoby Ellsbury would be a smart move. Ellsbury is a solid centerfielder who can possess surprising power. He's a great fielder and a nightmare (in a good way) on the base-paths. With injury issues, it would be a gamble, but if the Mets are ready to make an impact, Ellsbury awaits. A seven-year deal upwards of $110 million may be what it takes to get him in New York.

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1. Ryan Madson

Mark J. Rebles

The Mets' bullpen has seen improvement, but with Harvey out, it would be a good idea to create a top bullpen. Signing an impact starter would require a multi-year deal. However, signing a fill-in for a year might be a better option. Ryan Madson in the bullpen may add more value than any fill in starter. Missing each of the past two years makes Madson cheap, very cheap. He's a wild card, but that's what makes him valuable. A one-year deal worth no more than $2 million is likely.

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