Mets General Manager Omar Minaya has been methodical in his approach to free agency; systematically addressing his needs and not dividing his attention until he's accomplished his goals.
He started with his number one priority: the bullpen; and he wouldn't look at starters until he acquired his closer.
Now Minaya is zoned in on starters; with both Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez gone he needs at least one guy who is good for at least 150 innings. This could come on the high end via a Derek Lowe or the return of Ollie. Or on the low end with Randy Wolf or Tim Redding. The key is Minaya is not looking at bats until he has another starter to ink into the rotation.
On one hand this makes sense; the Mets were tied with the World Champion Phillies for second best offense in the National League. Offense was not the reason they didn't make the playoffs.
On the other hand, all this rational analysis applied before we saw how the economy would affect the market. Now we know you can get a designer bat for discount prices. The recent signings of Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell set the market at $8-$10M/year. As a comparison Carlos Delgado is slated to make $18M.
There's four more big names left in the corner outfield market:
Ken Griffey Jr.
While all these guys come with different pros and cons, all -- with the exception of Griffey -- would be a clear upgrade over Fernando Tatis, Dan Murphy, The Ghost of Moises Alou, or any of the other things we saw in left field over the course of 2008. And not be any more expensive. Pat Burrell just signed for the kind of money Moises Alou got a couple years ago.
Adam Dunn in particular looks like a nice value signing. A player who was rumored to be looking for $100M, and has an OPS comparable to Carlos Beltran, is now probably looking at about $30-40M (Bradley got three years for $30M). Signing Dunn would also prepare the Mets for losing Delgado after this season; they'd have an incredible lineup this year, and presuming they don't add anyone else would save money at the 1B slot in the future.
Minaya has a strategy that makes sense, but sometimes you have to grab a great deal while it's in front of you.