Ben Zobrist to the Chicago Cubs earned the New York Mets a failing grade. Starlin Castro coming to the Bronx got the Yankees the “A” in two of the biggest transactions at the baseball Winter Meetings Tuesday in Nashville. The Yankees get younger and more athletic and the Mets are left with many questions.
Welcome to the continuing drama of the baseball offseason. There is more to come before the first pitch is thrown and start of a new season in early April.
It is always a guessing game and Zobrist, who would have filled the Mets needs was an answer. To say that GM Brian Cashman, with a surprising move, made the Yankees better is credible. To say that Mets are going into 2016, and lacking an impact player is even more credible at the moment.
However with a day remaining in Nashville, and with two months before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the complexion of both New York teams has plenty of time for change. So one move for the Yankees possibly opens the door for more wheeling and dealing, and one player off the board for the Mets does not mean the door is closed.
And there is more speculation now for the Mets who should not be criticized in their failure to get Zobrist. Early Wednesday morning the shift was on, in other words a direction to possibly open the door for bringing Daniel Murphy back to Citi Field, assuming the price is right. If not, it is back to a plan that may or may not have been in place and this is going with the youngster, Dilson Herrera at second base.
Mets assistant GM John Ricco said they have been in contact with Murphy and his agents and that there is room for discussion.
Again if the Mets come up short out of Nashville, time is still on their side.A history of the meetings has shown that plenty of dialogue remains when the GM’s leave town and go home. That second tier of free agents remain on the table and the role of a baseball GM leaves little time to remain idle with the competitive nature and balance that has consumed their time.
Yoenis Cespedes? Don’t rule out ongoing communication with the Mets and his reps from Rok Nation Sports but with the Mets it is a matter of economics and the price may not be right, though with the Zobrist pitch there is every reason to believe the Mets won’t take Cespedes off their radar. Assuming of course that Cespedes was content with his surroundings, and that is that core of young pitching and a World Series, there is every reason to assume there is room to negotiate.
A high ranking NL executive, and with knowledge of the Mets strategy said late Tuesday night, “They may have not had a plan B with the failure of Zobrist.” He added, “Ian Desmond is someone that has quietly been in the discussion,” referring to the Nationals free agent infielder who could come at the right price.
Desmond, recall was subject of trade talk before the late July deadline. Of course, Cespedes became the rental player and from the beginning there was always hope the Mets would do their best to retain him. But the price had to be right and that quickly became a thank you for your time and good luck.
Baseball economics has to be right for the Mets, and now the Yankees have a similar strategy because long term and lucrative contracts have not proved to bring championships to the Bronx.
As was seen Tuesday, don’t rule out anything. The Yankees are getting younger and making that splash in the free agency pool is not the agenda. Obtaining Castro is their compliment of the Didi Gregorius acquisition of last offseason, even at the cost of trading Adam Warren, a versatile righthanded pitcher.
And with the Yankees new philosophy, getting younger is going in the right direction. That same executive said, “Cash,(Cashman) is not done.” If that meant a possibility of outfielder Brett Gardner going as part of a package to obtain a frontline starter for a questionable Yankees pitching rotation, he said, “That name and contract are doable for the Yankees to make the right move.”
In other words, stay tuned. This is only a beginning before the first pitch is thrown in early April.