According to EspnNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, Mets' outfielder Jason Pridie and utility-player Nick Evans cleared waivers on Friday and are officially free-agents. A few days earlier, Pridie and Evans had been outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo which means that now they are off of the Mets' 40-man roster and are free to sign with any team.
Releasing Pridie and Evans is a puzzling move by Sandy Alderson as the one thing that isn't present on the Mets' roster currently is depth at any position. Pridie was mediocre at best last season but played solid defense at all three outfield positions.
Pridie only committed two errors on a total of 124 chances in the outfield in 2011. These numbers amount to a very respectable .984 fielding percentage for Pridie's 2011 season.
Evans, on the other hand, played well on both sides of the spectrum in 2011. In a total of 408 chances while playing at first base, third base, left field, and right field in 2011, Evans only committed at total of three errors. Nick's stellar fielding led him to a wonderful .993 fielding percentage.
Evans was also crucial to the Mets towards the end of last season as he manned first base very well in Ike Davis' absence. Davis, the Mets' starting first baseman, hurt his ankle seriously in May of last season and wound up missing the last four months of the 2011 season.
Evans was able to recoup for some of the power the Mets missed due to Davis' injury by coming through with important hits with runners-in-scoring-position. In RISP chances, Nick was able to hit for a .279 batting average and also drove in 22 runs in these circumstances.
Another reason Evans was a questionable release was his versatility. Last season alone, Nick played a total of four positions (as stated above) and any team, including the Mets, would love to have a homegrown player with Evans' versatility.
All in all, if the Mets are unable to re-sign Pridie and Evans during this offseason, they are going to have to look around for a suitable replacement in the 2011 free-agent pool.
One solid candidate who fits the requirement of versatility the Mets will be looking for is Michael Cuddyer. The former Twin has experience playing at first and second base in addition to the corner outfield positions. Cuddyer would definitely provide some pop for the Mets outfield and is relatively sure-handed in the field.
Another player the Mets could be looking at is former National outfielder Rick Ankiel. Ankiel only plays the outfield in addition to a failed experiment at pitcher which many Mets fans may remember but he could replace Pridie and possibly free-agent Willie Harris, as a fourth or fifth outfielder for the 2012 Mets. Ankiel is a plus fielder and occasionally flashes some power. Ankiel and Cuddyer would be two nice pick-ups for the Mets' front-office should they go in said direction.