With the news last night that Jose Reyes most likely will need surgery and tons of questions in the air about his return date and the effect of his surgery on his game I started to cruise through the available FA list.Â Yes we have mentioned the effect of a Bay or Holiday, a Lackey or Piniero.Â Those players will be difference makers and I can see going in either direction.Â We will need a new setup man and there are tons of available options both expensive and cheap risk.Â However, after looking at the FA list there was ONE name that stood out to me more than any other as now a necessity for this team.
Felipe Lopez: Felipe Lopez if you are unfamiliar with him, is a utility player who will be 29 years old to start next season. This season Lopez played primarily 2B but in 2008 played 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF.Â What’s that?Â He played SS?Â Yes Lopez has logged 602 games at SS and nearly 5,000 innings.Â Lopez signed a 1 year contract this past off-season with the Dbacks for 3.5M and was traded to the Brewers during the season.Â While with the Brewcrew Lopez put up the following line:Â .318, .406, .449, .855 in a half season’s worth of work.
So why does Lopez fit so perfectly into the Mets plans? Defensively not only can he play a passable SS if Reyes is out for any length of time he also provides insurance for Castillo while playing every position besides CF and Catcher.Â Offensively, he has hit lead off for most of his career including this season.Â If Reyes is out a lineup starting with Lopez, Castillo will not replace Reyes but will provide adequate table setters with some speed.Â If Reyes is healthy then Lopez can slot in the 2nd spot for Castillo or as a switch hitter could hit lower in the order to break up RH players as his splits are near even.
Lopez is represented by Scott Boras but as a Type A FA may find many teams backing away from giving up a top draft pick.Â The Mets because of a lost 2009 will have a protected pick and are expected to sign at least 1 other Type A FA thus Lopez would cost them a 3rd round pick at best.Â If he wants 2 years with an option, that’s not a big issue because of his trade value, age, versatility and option of trading Castillo at some point with a built in replacement.
I present to you:Â Felipe Lopez.