Karpin: After The Holiday, Mets Want Seconds From Hot Stove Menu

On the day after Thanksgiving, the Mets are looking for seconds, or should I say, a second-baseman.

The Mets have been linked to a potential deal for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. As we reported last week in this column, Kinsler is also being pursued by the Angels. The 35 year old will make $11 million dollars in 2018 and is a free agent after next season.

If the Mets really want to make a splash, GM Sandy Alderson may want to pick up the phone and call the Twins. Second baseman Brian Dozier was nearly traded last off season and is a free agent after next season. Minnesota is looking for starting pitching and would be looking for an arm or two that could fill the bill right away. Dozier is a productive lead off hitter (something the Mets dearly need) and a gold glove second baseman

Even with their injuries, some of the Mets’ starters still have value in this market. Twins owner Jim Pohlad indicated to the St. Paul Pioneer Press that it would be difficult to deal a player as popular as Dozier, but the organization may feel that they couldn’t re-sign the 30-year old and would use him as a chip to improve the club’s pitching. “In some cases, you know you need to get something and sometimes you have to give something up,” Pohlad told the publication. The Twins have reportedly had talks with the Pirates for right hand pitcher Gerrit Cole and the Rays’ Jake Odirizzi.

NY Post Mets’ beat reporter Mike Puma is hearing the Mets are in on free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. With new manager Mickey Calloway having worked with Shaw in Cleveland, It would make sense that the right hander would want to reunite with his former pitching coach.

If Jay Bruce lowers his asking price, look for the World Champion Astros to get involved. As a left hand bat, Bruce (who hails from Beaumont, Texas which is less than 90 miles from Houston) would add more balance to an already potent lineup. Houston went on to win despite a lack of production from their left handed hitters. Bruce was reportedly seeking a five year, $90 million dollar deal but that request may change if being closer to home would be one of the fringe benefits.

Now that Shohei Ohtani will be posted on December 1st, many industry observers feel the Yankees are almost a lock to sign the Japanese star, but they may be getting some competition from the Mariners. Seattle has made it known that they would give Ohtani the opportunity to do both. On the team’s weekly podcast, General Manager Jerry DiPoto said he “would be willing to play designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the outfield several times a week to open a spot for Ohtani to hit.”

We’ve all heard about Ohtani’s prowess as a two way player but would that and can that translate to the major leagues? A major majority of scouts feel the 23-year old would not be able to pull it off. A National League scout told me, “pitching and hitting between starts would be a disaster.”

Ohtani has hit 100 MPH on the radar gun but that’s in Japan where the baseballs are smaller than the major league balls. (No jokes about being juiced, please) Scouts say 100 MPH in Japan is equivalent to five miles per hour less in the major leagues so he may top out at 95 MPH. My point is, we won’t really know how good Ohtani is as, either, a major league pitcher or hitter.

In a subtle, but important move, the Yankees maneuvered their 40-man roster so they could protect a couple of valuable pieces from the upcoming “Rule 5 Draft.” The Yankees dealt 1B Garrett Cooper and left hand pitcher Caleb Smith to Miami and right hand pitcher Ronald Herrera to Texas and filled the openings with six players including highly touted right hander Albert Abreu (who came over last year from Houston for Brian McCann) and the #1 prospect in all baseball, infielder Gleyber Torres.

Another name that wasn’t on that list may be an intriguing prospect. 6’5” right hand pitcher Cody Carroll pitched well at AA Trenton last season. Carroll is a 25-year old, hard throwing reliever who has pretty good stuff but has struggled with command. The 22nd round pick of the 2015 Draft has a live fastball and a pretty good slider, but he’s had trouble repeating his delivery which leads to control trouble. If Carroll can cut down on the walks, he could be an effective piece of a major league bullpen. Don’t be shocked if he’s claimed in the “Rule 5 Draft.” The Yankees, who are loaded throughout their farm system, can only protect so many players.

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