Karpin: Mets Need to Haul in This Big Fish

If the Marlins are willing to trade center fielder Christian Yelich to a team within the division, then the Mets need to be involved.

Miami Herald cited several sources saying the Marlins have been listening to trade offers for both Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto. According to one source, the team is “not shopping the two players but is listening” while another source is quoted as saying “they are available for the right price.”

Clark Spencer, who is the Marlins’ beat reporter for the Herald, tweeted Friday morning that the Marlins have spoken to the Phillies about Yelich and “have a wealth of intriguing prospects that could interest Miami.”

Yelich is under control until 2021 with a $15 million dollar club option for 2022, an absolute, no doubt about it, bargain in today’s market. Realmuto is under control through 2020 which would be another “score” for a team that needs a catcher.

The Mets are in a “win now” situation, whether they admit it or not. They’re relying on a still young starting rotation to rebound health wise but, even if things go according to plan, they’ll need to support that pitching with a solid bullpen and better offense than they’ve produced in recent seasons. The entire negative perception of the Mets’ off season would change if they could acquire a player of Yelich’s caliber. The Mets could move Michael Conforto to right field and the outfield would look quite good.

Of course, we’ll hear that the Mets don’t have the prospects that Miami would want. The Mets need to get creative and may have a chip that is “intriguing” enough to be the start of a package and that is Amed Rosario. Would you trade the young shortstop if you could acquire a player like Yelich. I know it opens another hole in the infield but there are a couple of free agent shortstop options out there in J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar, who would not be expensive. Those two names are not what GM Sandy Alderson would prefer because they don’t possess high on base percentage numbers but as I mentioned previously, the Mets, and Alderson, need to get creative if they hope to put a competitive team on the field in 2018.

Veteran baseball writer Bob Klapisch reported the talks between the Yankees and Pirates for pitcher Gerrit Cole went “nowhere” and were really never that close. Fan Rag Sports Jon Heyman reports the Yankees are showing interest in free agent right hander Yu Darvish, if the price is right. If the Yankees are going the free agent route to enhance their starting rotation they may want to look at right hander Alex Cobb who has been successful pitching against the AL East teams.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi cited a source saying the Orioles “continue to hear from multiple teams” concerning a potential trade for Manny Machado. The Orioles are playing coy with Machado but from speaking with people in the know, they are “surprised Macado hasn’t been traded yet” and “he will be (traded) by the end of January.” I get the feeling Machado ends up with the White Sox.

Speaking of the free agent market, expect a rush of signings. As the off season dwindles down, so will the prices for some of the big name free agents.

One of those signings occurred Friday morning when the Rockies announced they came to terms with free agent reliever Wade Davis on a reported three year, $52 million dollar deal. Colorado is loading up on the bullpen to support their young starting rotation but they’re approaching this with the belief that they’ll get the same production from their starters who could take a step backwards.

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was shut down from playing winter ball after he suffered a hand injury earlier this month. Marte, who was suspended last season, cut his left hand and the Pirates ordered him to be shut down. It doesn’t sound like an injury that would curtail Marte’s season but it provides an interesting sidelight to the Pirates’ off season in that they are still trying to work out a deal for Andrew McCutchen.

It was this time last year when the Pirates planned on moving McCutchen to right field and have Marte take over in center because the defensive metrics (which can be useless at times) indicated “Cutch” was going backwards defensively. Turns out Marte was suspended for half the season for testing positive for PED’s and McCutchen was back in center. He started slow last season but came on like gang-busters and was solid defensively.

If the Bucs do trade McCutchen, I will reiterate what I wrote in my column a year ago and that is the 31-year old still has a lot left in the tank and will be an excellent pick up for the team that gets him. The Giants were reportedly showing interest but they appear to be closing in on a deal for Billy Hamilton.

Pirates will likely deal Josh Harrison who would also be an interesting acquisition. Harrison is versatile and though his numbers don’t show it, he is a situational player, aka a winning player.

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