Karpin: Mets May Open the Checkbook

Maybe, just maybe, the Mets are ready to do something this off season.

Up until now, there has not been much news concerning the Mets, but at least now there are some “morsels.”

NY Daily News baseball columnist John Harper cited sources with knowledge of the Mets’ plans as saying “the front office will do more to improve the team this winter than is being portrayed publicly.” The cynical Met fan won’t believe anything positive concerning the team’s spending habits but maybe Harper’s report has some real validity.

According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Mets have spoken with the Pirates about a deal for Andrew McCutchen. Reportedly the talks have not progressed to being close to an imminent stage but at least the Mets are inquiring and not settling for just a low level and inexpensive talent.

That’s not all.

Morosi cites sources saying the Mets are showing interest in free agent third basemen Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier. Of course, there is a stipulation. According to the report, their interest is based on “if the price drops on either.” Morosi also reported a Mets’ interest in free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy which tells you that they are not satisfied with their current tandem of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Nationals are looking for a catcher and inquired about Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto but may shift gears and focus on Lucroy. The 31-year old is coming off a down season but he may be just what the Nats need. It would be interesting if a Lucroy signing came down to the Mets and Nationals.

McCutchen’s value on the trade market has suddenly taken an upward turn. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi cited a source saying the Giants and Pirates have held discussions about a trade for McCutchen. San Francisco desperately wants to add another bat and they’ve been poking around the free agent market and trade route. They’ve already dealt a top prospect (Christian Arroyo) to get Evan Longoria from Tampa Bay and according to the report, Pittsburgh is asking for one of three top prospects but “a deal is not imminent.”

Giants were reportedly in on free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain but ESPN cited a source saying the Rangers have “ramped up their pursuit” of Cain. Ken Rosenthal cited a source saying the Brewers were also interested in bringing back their former player who played there in 2010. Milwaukee dealt Cain to Kansas City as part of the blockbuster trade for Zack Greinke following the 2010 season.

Interesting note out of Chicago. Free agent pitcher Alex Cobb reportedly followed the advice of his agents (ACES, Sam and Seth Levinson) and turned down a three year, $42 million dollar deal from the Cubs. What’s interesting is that speculation had Cobb signing with the Cubs because of his connection with Manager Joe Maddon who he played for in Tampa Bay. The fact that he turned down the Cubs’ offer tells me two things. One, of course he wants more money and two, he hopes to get it from the Yankees.

Where are the Orioles right now?

The rumors of a proposed Manny Machado deal have dominated the off season headlines in Baltimore and they continue to do so but this is a team with many holes to fill as they try and compete with the “two-headed beast” of the AL East in the Yankees and Red Sox. Reportedly, the Orioles are asking a high price and have not veered off of it if they were to trade the third baseman/shortstop. If Machado is dealt before the season, look for him to end up with the White Sox. The O’s farm system is barren but they may have one interesting prospect who could stick this upcoming season.

Rich Dubroff of pressboxonline.com writes an interesting piece on Orioles’ 22 year old catcher Chance Sisco who made his major league debut with the September call ups last season. Sisco, who is highly regarded for his offensive skills, played in only ten games last season but was 6 for 18 with two home runs and four runs batted in.

Sisco was the Orioles second round pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft as an 18-year old out of high school in Corona, California. He only began catching in his senior year so, naturally, he would lag behind others who have a little more experience at the position. He is projected as an offensive threat but his defense has improved as he’s gained experience with the position. Scouts that have watched Sisco say his defense has improved, although he still has trouble throwing out runners. Improved footwork could help Sisco in that department.

Unlike the Orioles with Machado, the Marlins have been weighing offers for center fielder Christian Yelich and Realmuto but they’re in a unique position in that they are not “under the gun” to make a deal for fear of not getting anything in return for impending free agents. Those two are under control for a few more seasons so the Marlins can take their time. Miami could play it like the Yankees did with their relievers at the trade deadline in 2016. Can you imagine if a contending team with a real shot at the World Series is a bat or a catcher away and would be willing to part with a top prospect? Miami could still be choosy at next July’s deadline and decide not to deal those two with the idea of making a more palatable trade during the next off season.

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