It’s been a slow free agent period and that was expected but the Mets and billionaire owner Steve Cohen will not remain silent. Business will pick up after their first two free agent signings of pitcher Trevor May and catcher James McCann.
As one insider informed me, “The market has changed. Usually business picks up in January and the baseball world is watching the Mets.”
Watching the Mets now was not un-expected. They have the money and the resources to change a landscape of the NL East. The Mets have the resources to become the big winners this offseason while they will also have room to work under their salary threshold. That means flexibility at the trade deadline.
McCann’s contract of $40.6 million, as of now is the big splash in a slow market and was a bargain when you factor in the four years that he will provide the Mets. Did you say why not J.T. Realmuto?
Well, Realmuto has not signed yet and that could be attributed to a high asking price and teams feeling the financial crunch of a 2020 season of lost revenue with no fans in the ballparks. Regardless, the Mets are not done and will spend. Though, as much as Steve Cohen has the money, the Mets will be cautious.
I have asked sources about the status of George Springer, Trevor Bauer, or any other of the top free agents on the market. The same sources confirm what has been heard about Springer and Bauer.
Springer is centered around the Mets and Toronto Blue Jays. Bauer is all speculation and a source said the Mets are not out of the hunt in their attempts to add the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner to their starting rotation.
A good Mets offseason is the signing of McCann and Springer. The perfect offseason is signing the trifecta of McCann, Springer, and Bauer. Either way, signing two of the three is a success. In between, and as slow as it has been, the Mets are not looking at giving away their better prospects or draft picks with a major trade.
So all of the Francisco Lindor trade talk with Cleveland, as good as it sounds, should not be taken seriously. A trade of that magnitude would require parting with the prospects that Sandy Alderson has vowed to keep on board.
The Mets are looking to rebuild their depleted minor league organization, that saw those rapid vacancies as part of trades under the previous GM. No need to recall names of the valuable draft picks and prospects that were sent to Seattle as part of a trade that delivered Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets, but this is a different front office. They have a different strategy and the resources to work with, and that has the baseball world watching.
What will be the Mets next big splash?
Let’s assume Springer is that next big splash. If so, the Mets, as I stated, can look at the offseason as the winners. The Blake Snell trade from Tampa Bay to the Padres, an obvious salary move, has no impact on the Mets or the NL East, at least not in the regular season.
So when you look at the Braves, Nationals, Phillies, and Marlins in the NL East, the Mets are ahead of the game. Realmuto is centered around the Nationals but they may not have the resources to offer that big contract in their needs for a catcher.
The Braves signed Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to one-year deals of a combined $26 million that added to their rotation depth. Marcell Ozuna is their emphasis to re-sign and that would be a nice catch for the Mets to pursue. All signs point to the Mets wanting Springer to be their outfielder.
The Phillies, a team with holes to fill, (unless they can get Didi Gregorious back on board) are full of questions and Dave Dombrowski is asking around as the cost measured head of their front office is settling in.
The Marlins are full of youth. They are not expected to make a splash, though Kim Ng, the first female GM in baseball, does come from the Yankees’ habit of spending when you have to, but, in the end, it’s up to the Derek Jeter budget conscious criteria.
So right now, as December concludes, the Mets are the winners when it comes to making a splash in free agency. January and a new season are right around the corner.
As we all know, no matter what resources you have at your disposal, the game is won on the field and not on paper.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso Sports With Rich YouTube. Like, Comment, Subscribe