Despite loud arguments about spending, budgets and business strategy, the Mets still have a roster to fill. Whether payroll goes up or down, Opening Day is fewer than 100 days away, and nothing is going to change that.
Here are 12 rumors and ideas I've heard direct from MLB insiders during the last week:
There is still an available supply of quality mid-level relievers in the free-agent market, all of whom are likely to accept a one year deal in the range of $4-8 million. However, on the trade front, the Padres would rather keep reliever Brad Hand and field offers at the trade deadline. The same can now be said for the Tigers and Shane Greene.
The Giants have interest in signing Bruce, but they are more focused on finding a center fielder.
I also think teams would rather sign Carlos Gonzalez to a one-year deal than ink Bruce to a three-year contract.
The Mets appear to be the only active team looking for a second baseman, though the market is well aware they have an internal fall-back option with Asdrubal Cabrera. The Dodgers, Jays and Brewers have also checked in on second baseman, but it's far from their top priority.
The Rays may be Sandy Alderson's backup option to trade for a second baseman.
The Phillies do not want to trade Cesar Hernandez for prospects. Instead, they want to package him with a prospect and acquire a high-quality pitcher under team control. If they don't get the right pitcher back via trade, I suspect they'll start playing him at third base sometimes next season to make room for elite 2B prospect Scott Kingery.
By the way, I'm hearing Todd Frazier is pitching himself to teams as a character guy capable of playing corner outfield, first base, third base and, you guessed it, second base.
If the Cardinals are unable to trade for Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson, it doesn't mean they'll move sign Mike Moustakas. I think they'd rather stick with Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter than add Moustakas and a long-term deal.
Jacoby Ellsbury may be a nice platoon partner for Juan Lagares, but the Yankees are only willing to pay one-third of his salary, which would only reduce him to a $15 million player. Ellsbury struggled after suffering a concussion in late May. However, during the season's final 33 games, he hit .327 with a .417 OBP, 13 extra-base hits and six stolen bases.
Ellsbury is 34 years old and under contract the next three years at $21 million each season.
The Pirates will likely trade Andrew McCutchen this winter. He rebounded to be worth double the $15 million salary he earned. He'll earn another $15 million next season, after which he's a free agent. They tried to move him last winter, but no one wanted to take the risk. If the Pirates wait and he struggles to start next season, again they'll be unable to trade him.
The Marlins hope to package Martin Prado and his two-year, $28 million contract in any deal for outfielder Christin Yellich, who will still cost a team top prospects.
The Padres are the only team seemingly interested in giving Hosmer a multi-year deal. As a result, I'm hearing speculation Hosmer may need to settle for a one-year deal and return to the Royals. At that level, though, I can envision the Mets, Yankees and Cardinals showing at least some interest.
Hosmer's agent, Scott Boras, has spent all winter talking up Hosmer's fielding and leadership skills, which speaks to his struggle to create a perfect fit.
Free-agent catcher A.J. Ellis would be a great mentor to Travis d'Arnaud.
I feel bad for Lucas Duda, who has been waiting seven years to be a free agent only to end up in the worst free-agent market for first basemen and designated hitters that I've ever seen.
Duda, 31, hit nearly 100 home runs over the last four years yet could be looking at a one-year deal paying him the same (or less) money he earned in 2017.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!