The official start to the Hot Stove was at 12:01 yesterday morning when free agents were able to sign with any team they choose. The free agent class for this season appears to be weak and with the economy being the way it is I don't think teams will be rushing to sign anyone and these players may just have to take some deals quick otherwise risk being out there in January without a job much like last year. I am going to start off with the New York Mets since they have many holes to fill and a lot of work to do. The Mets need a leftfielder, starting pitching, a setup man, possibly a first baseman and a catcher. I think the best thing the Mets can do if it is possible is trade for Roy Halladay this would give them a very nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Santana and Halladay and would energize their fan base. These fans need a reason to come back to Citi Field next season and right now they don't have one, they aren't going to want to hear that they will get their players back healthy next year. Omar Minaya and the Mets need to make a big splash. If they can't get Halladay then they really need to look at signing John Lackey. The Mets also may need to sign a Jason Marquis or Joel Piniero and that is fine but only if they get one of the other pitchers to put behind Johan Santana. They can't go into next season with John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey and whoever else behind Johan Santana, that would be a very questionable rotation and they can't have that.
I think for leftfield the Mets need to sign Holliday or Bay. I know people will say that is a lot of money to spend but the Mets have to stop acting like they are a small market team, no they can't compete with the Yankees but no one can. The Mets are the only ones that know if they got hurt by Bernie Madoff but if it is true that they didn't lose money then they have to step up to the plate and spend it. The Mets farm system is a mess and they have to build the big team up first and at least get the fans interested again. I do think the Mets really have to flex their financial might in the international free agent market and also the draft like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox do. This is what really hurts their farm system when they aren't willing to overslot guys in the draft.
If the Mets can unload Luis Castillo which I don't think they can then they could sign Chone Figgons or Orlando Hudson. I am not sure what they can do for the bullpen but Mike Gonzalez and Rafiel Soriano are out there as good options for the bullpen, maybe they will resign J.J. Putz. First base is intersting, they may resign Carlos Delgado if they think he is healthy or they could explore trades or maybe get a Mark Derosa or someone like that as a stopgap. They feel that Ike Davis their big prospect may be ready in 2011.
The New York Yankees are coming off a World Series Championship and really don't have many holes. They could use a starting pitcher but if they don't they have Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain ready to become the 4th and 5th starters. I think they want to resign Andy Pettitte for one year and I think he wants to come back. If they have CC, A.J. and Andy at top they are in pretty good shape. I think they will explore Roy Halladay but he is going to cost a lot in money and prospects and unless they jump in because it looks like the Red Sox might get him I don't see the Yankees getting him. I could see the Yankees signing a Randy Wolf or Jason Marquis or someone like that as a 4th starter and then having Hughes as the 5th and keeping Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. I also thik it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with Chien-Ming Wang. If they do sign him and he comes back healthy then they could have a really strong top 4 but that is very questionable if he can come back and be close to what he used to be.
The Yankees will try and resign Johnny Damon for leftfield and I see them giving him either a one year deal with a option or a 2 year deal. I could see 2 years 20 or 22 million. I think Hideki Matsui will be let go and they will use the DH spot for Posada, A-rod, Jeter, Damon. I can see the Yankees signing Mark Derosa who went to Bergen Catholic and would serve them well as a super utility guy. The only way I see the Yankees in on Bay or Holliday is if Damon doesn't resign.