Billy Eppler the Mets GM could not elaborate on what went wrong regarding the multiple attempts to sign Carlos Correa, because of the sensitive medical reports and restraints with legalities of a contract that did not materialize.
Eppler said on a conference call Tuesday, the Mets lineup was strong and deep, which always was a prevailing opinion without Correa, but there is reason to add more improvement with possible additions to the bullpen and outfield.
“I’m still engaged in the market,” Eppler said. “Talking to representation in both spaces, the outfield and the bullpen. Whether anything actually comes to fruition remains to be seen. But definitely still having the conversations.”
Yes, the Mets have moved on without acquiring Carlos Correa, though, having his presence in the lineup and in the infield with Francisco Lindor did look pretty good. But Eppler kept his word as the Mets kept moving for more.
Tommy Pham, the 35-year old veteran was reportedly acquired Wednesday morning. It’s a one-year, $6 million deal that reinforces their outfield with Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha and Starling Marte. Another good move as Eppler and the Mets continue to fill their needs.
Andrew McCutchen and Adam Duvall were off the market, but Pham, the right-handed hitter with good numbers against left-handed pitching, can also play all outfield positions. Indeed, the Mets have fortified their bench.
A longtime NL scout said the Mets got a player that fits in well. Pham gets on base, does not chase pitches, and has speed on the basepaths. The Mets are mixing in some good veterans and they continue to move along with the youngsters as they cautiously spend to win.
Indeed, it was a continuing offseason of moves for the Mets as owner Steve Cohen took his payroll to epic proportions after a 2022 season of 101 wins. Eppler made it known about a commitment to making improvements, getting over the hump and bypassing the Braves. It’s not just the Braves. These moves are being made with the NL champion Phillies in mind as another obstacle in their quest to win, what is likely the best in baseball.
Pham is a component to supplement a lineup that is built to win, one of 25 players currently with 100 career home runs and 96 stolen bases. He also brings power hitting double digits in home run production the last five years.
There is definitely a sense, more so now, the Mets will continue to make moves. There will be a number of supplemental moves (beginning with Pham) because Correa went out the window. The prevailing opinion, as most baseball insiders are aware, is that an owner and richest one in baseball, will use his resources to make the moves necessary to bring home a winner.
And waiting for contract extensions, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeill. They are two of the major components of this deep lineup that Eppler would anticipate to sign long term soon. This time, the Mets have an owner that can easily assure their contracts become long term at Citi Field.
“This goes without saying, and I’ve said it in the past relating to any one of the areas of the organization, you can always be better,” Eppler said.
Based on the medical reports, the Mets felt not taking on Correa, after they agreed to terms, was a wise decision. It was a risk Steve Cohen would not take, give or take a contract that reportedly looked beneficial for both sides. Then again, we are talking about the super agent (Scott Boras) who was the deciding factor and Correa ending up with a six year deal with the Twins.
For sure, though, Eppler did not have to offer any reasons why Correa is not with the Mets. For sure, Eppler did not hesitate to continue this move of improvement because Eduardo Escobar is slated to start at third and Brett Baty, the Mets No. 2 prospect, could earn the opportunity to man the hot corner.
Baty got the call because of a need from the injury bug that hit the Mets down the stretch. And there was that need for help in the lineup, though Baty would also sustain a season ending injury and got that early cup of coffee.
Regardless, Escobar and Baty will have their opportunity. It will unfold when pitchers and catchers report to Port St Lucie in 29 days, though Escobar is expected to be one of many Mets with limited time in camp as a participant for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
“Escobar had a really strong year last year,” Eppler said. “Brett’s callup was born out of necessity. I don’t want to forecast what will come at the end of March. That’s why we’re going to go down to Port St. Lucie and that’s why we’re going to see what we see.”
Expect another move soon, an arm for the bullpen. Sources have informed me, as many have confirmed, lefthander Zack Britton, a favorite of manager Buck Showalter from their days in Baltimore, is certainly on the Mets free agent radar.
It all adds up to what Eppler said. They are engaging in conversations and always seeking ways for improvement. And without Carlos Correa.
Rich Mancuso:Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and co-host Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube