Although we’re still waiting for the official confirmation that Jason Bay passed his physical for the Mets, I started thinking about the repercussions this could have on the rest of the positions that the Mets need to improve. If the Mets couldn’t sign Bay or Matt Holliday, the pressure would have been on Omar Minaya to sign free agents or look for splashy trades to improve other positions in the field.
The biggest beneficiary of the Bay signing could very well be Daniel Murphy. The light-hitting first baseman was a prime candidate to be a victim of an upgrade at his position. But the offensive pop that Bay adds to the lineup could make Murphy a starter in 2010 or maybe a platoon player if the Mets can find a right-handed hitter to compliment him at first base.
The problem for the Mets is that the list of available free agent first baseman is hardly a murderers row. Most of the players that would draw interest are left-handed hitters like Adam LaRoche, Hank Blalock, and Russell Branyan. The one name on the list that does jump out is Ryan Garko. He’s had some success in the American League hitting for average but without the power that was always expected of him.
The aging Kevin Millar is still available but he’s really gone downhill the last couple of years. Last season he only hit .223 in 251 at-bats for the Blue Jays. I doubt that the Mets would consider him a viable option for a platoon.
With such limited options the Mets may very well end up going into spring training with Murphy as the starting first baseman. I’m sure that doesn’t inspire much confidence in Minaya and Jerry Manuel in a season where their jobs depend on early season success. But it doesn’t look like they have many great options to consider.