Karpin: Hot Stove Cooking

The off season kicks into another gear with the General Managers’ meetings next week in Orlando, Florida. This is where trades are discussed and sometimes, even completed.

While the Mets hired a manager to essentially fix their pitching staff, there is a great need for the team on the field.

Second base and third base are question marks, the outfield is not set at two spots and the catching position is up in the air. Travis d’Arnaud had a very good September but can the Mets firmly believe that those numbers will be the norm for him. Kevin Plawecki showed some progress but it would serve the Mets well to deal one of them and sign a veteran backstop who is known for his defense. Free agent Carlos Ruiz may be worth a shot in that regard.

The Mets picked up the option Asdrubal Cabrera’s contract because of his versatility in the infield but also because they want him to be a mentor for young shortstop Amed Rosario. The 21-year old will be the Mets’ starting shortstop next season but he’s a raw talent who will benefit from having Cabrera on his left or his right.

The big question with the Mets is will they surprise their doubters and actually spend some money on a quality free agent. One thing is for sure, they’ll need to be creative to improve their roster and their chances in 2018.

The Yankees are taking their time in naming a new manager but there is other business to attend to, like next year’s roster.

The Yankees have some trade chips on the major league roster. Look for the names of Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro to show up in trade talk.

Jacoby Ellsbury has a full, no trade clause in his contract but may be willing to waive it. According to “Cot’s Baseball Contracts,” Ellsbury has three years, $63.5 million dollars remaining on his contract that runs through 2020 with a club option for 2021 that features a $5 million dollar buyout. After the playoffs, Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, in an interview with NY Post Yankees’ beat reporter George King, criticized the team for not using his client more in the post season. Boras said, “I do know this, Jacoby is a player you want to be out there in the post season.” The Yankees would probably have to pick up some of the remaining money but it sounds like Ellsbury would be amenable to a trade.

Gleyber Torres’ elbow injury that cut short his minor league season was a set back for the soon to be 21-year old, but it was also a setback for the team. You have to figure that if he was healthy, Torres (who is considered by some outlets to be the #1 prospect in all of baseball) would’ve gotten a look with the big club which may have given the Yankees more of an assessment of where he fits in with the club’s near future plans. The Yankees may want to give him some time at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to begin next season but whether he plays second or third base remains an unknown. With Todd Frazier unlikely to return and the uncertainly of Headley’s status, the Yankees may be looking to bring in a third-baseman, or even a second-baseman if they decided to use Starlin Castro as trade bait.

The Red Sox are looking to add a power bat to their lineup. The loss of David Ortiz proved to be more costly than first thought, especially in the post season. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Boston may have interest in signing free agent first-baseman Eric Hosmer or free agent outfielder and slugger J.D. Martinez. It has already been reported that the Red Sox are in the fray for Giancarlo Stanton. GM Dave Dombrowski is not afraid to pull the trigger on a blockbuster and the Red Sox are one team that is in play financially. Don’t think Boston hasn’t taken notice of what’s going on in the Bronx, another factor that could play into their thinking. The Cardinals have also been mentioned as showing serious interest.

Miami will be the most interesting team to watch in the off season because the moves they make could shift the balance of power around baseball. Stanton will go somewhere while Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon could also be moved. The Marlins want to lower the payroll but there’s also a desire to build up a barren farm system.

A number of teams will keep an eye on the Blue Jays to see if they put third-baseman Josh Donaldson on the market. Donaldson is a free agent after next season but he’s made it clear that he would be willing to sign an extension to remain in Toronto. The 31-year old could bring back a package that would help a Blue Jays team that is in transition and trying to keep up in the AL East. Reportedly, the Cardinals are interested and would have (a highly rated pitching prospect and a player off of the major league roster) what the Jays would be seeking in a deal for Donaldson, if they couldn’t swing a deal for Stanton. Toronto is looking for an outfielder and will be in play for free agent Jay Bruce.

Next week, baseball will announce it’s major award winners so here are the picks:

AL ROY: Aaron Judge

NL ROY: Cody Bellinger

AL MOY: Paul Molitor

NL MOY: Torey Lovullo

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer

AL MVP: Jose Altuve

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton

Hot Stove Cooking” will be featured every Friday on nysportsday.com.

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