The New York Mets enter the 2020-21 off-season so much new excitement with Steve Cohen as the new owner. These next few months should be very different as Cohen has been adamant about spending his money. Cohen has said he would not spend like a drunken sailor. Instead, he is more interested in putting the best group of players on the field. The only question is which ones should the Mets go after.
Suppose the Mets do not make a trade, there are three big free agents on the market. Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and George Springer are always three names the Mets are linked to. The likelihood is that they sign at least one of the players. They all fill a need for the Mets. Sandy Alderson will have the task of picking which ones make the most sense for the Mets.
With Marcus Stroman accepting the Mets qualifying offer, New York will have two front end starters in Jacob deGrom and Stroman until Noah Syndergaard returns from Tommy John surgery. Bauer, who won the 2020 NL Cy Young Award, would add even more to a strong rotation, but the question is what kind of contract he will want.
Bauer already rejected his qualifying offer of 18.9 million dollars. If the Mets are to sign Bauer, it would have to be more than the qualifying offer. In April, he said he would only sign one-year contracts, but if the Mets were to offer him a very lucrative five-year deal it would certainly be tough to turn down.
There are other options that they can try and sign. Charlie Morton was an ideal fit for the Mets, but he has already signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Pitchers such as Corey Kluber, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jake Odorizzi are all possible players to sign to fill the back end of the rotation with Steven Matz and David Peterson. That is assuming Matz is still in the plans as a starting pitcher.
It has been quite some time since the Mets have had an All-Star catcher. Realmuto would certainly fill that need, but will likely come at a very steep price. He has had 10 homers in every full season in the big leagues and is a lifetime .278 hitter. He also is terrific defensively and could help the Mets’ pitching staff limit the stolen bases.
However, Realmuto will turn 30 prior to the start of the 2021 season and has had a history of hip problems and would be a bit of a gamble to sign long-term. Additionally. the Mets have one of their top catching prospects, Francisco Alvarez, not too far away from the big leagues.
While there aren’t many other names out on the market, a short term solution could be someone like James McCann. Since he has been with the Chicago White Sox, he has seen his power increase as he has hit 25 home runs in 536 at-bats over two seasons. McCann is also elite defensively and could work as a strong tandem with Tomas Nido until Alvarez is ready.
With the stunning news of Robinson Cano testing positive for performing-enhancing drugs for the second time in his career, New York’s plans for their infield has changed. They will be saving $20.25 million this season that was supposed to go to Cano and now could potentially be spent on someone like DJ LeMahieu.
The Mets have a plethora of MLB shortstops on their roster which include Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, and top prospect, Ronny Mauricio. It is almost certain the Mets move one of their infielders. and three of these players could potentially be in play for a trade for Francisco Lindor or Nolan Arenado.
Jeff McNeil’s versatility gives the Mets some options. It won’t matter who they sign or trade for. McNeil will have a spot somewhere on the diamond. The signing of LeMahieu or the addition of a superstar may limit their chances on someone like Springer. Still, a player like Marcell Ozuna could fit if New York feels comfortable playing either Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto in center field.
Every team in the league will always be looking to improve their bullpen. But the New York Mets need to cement the back end of the bullpen. Edwin Diaz had a bounce-back year though New York did not get great seasons from Dellin Betances or Jeurys Familia, who will both be back next season.
Brad Hand would be an ideal fit for the Mets after he was released from the Cleveland Indians. Hand would give the Mets a quality left-hander out of the bullpen in any role. Sandy Alderson said he would have been in on Hand when he was waived if the sale was official. Additionally, he said maybe the 10 million dollar contract would have been a little high.
Keone Kela had a rough 2020 season, but a pitcher like that could be an option for the Mets as one of the younger relief pitchers out on the market. The same can be said for someone like Andrew Chafin, a talented left-handed pitcher that New York could use on certain left-handed hitters in the NL East.
While it has been a slow start to the off-season, the Mets have signed players like Arodys Vizcaino, Mallex Smith, and Jose Peraza to minor league contracts. Once the first. big-name signs, the. dominos should start to fall. But there are plenty of areas where the Mets can get better. The Steve Cohen era has begun and he has vowed to bring a championship back to Queens.
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