Pat Burrell and Milton Bradley signed contracts today with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Why should Met fans care? Because these signings, along with the previous Raul Ibanez signing by the Phillies, will affect the Mets pursuit of an upgrade in LF. The major options left on the market are Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Manny Ramirez. Let's compare these 6 players based on what they're worth and what some of them have already signed for. The column "WV $ in '08" is how much each player was worth in 2008 based on the win value system at FanGraphs. The column "BtB $ Value" is how much Beyond the Boxscore valued the player at heading into free agency. Neither of these measures is 100% infallible, but they're pretty good for our purposes:
It looks like Burrell and Bradley were signed for less than what they're actually worth. Bradley is a perpetual injury risk (he's played more than 101 games just twice in the last 7 years) and head case, but when he plays he can dominate (163 OPS+ in 2008). The Ibanez contract is at best a fair contract. Though it looks worse and worse after the bargain signings of Burrell and Bradley.
Considering these facts, it appears the Mets are in the driver's seat should they decide to pursue a defensive challenged LF. Could Dunn be had for 2-3 years and $8-9 million per? How about Abreu for 1 year, $7 million? Ramirez already turned down a 2 year, $45 million offer from the Dodgers, so I'm pretty sure he can't be had at a discount. Another option that several other Met fans have kicked around is Rocco Baldelli. He's a right-handed hitter with some medical/injury problems, but might be worth a risk for 1 year and $3 million or so. Plus Rocco seems to have a decent understanding of statistics, which is a plus in my book. I'd love to have Dunn playing LF in 2009 and then 1B in 2010, as I've covered over and over and over again. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like Omar Minaya and the Mets have any interest.