Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets left the Winter Meetings having secured two starting pitchers and after having discussions about potential moves involving Starling Marte, Jed Lowrie, Dominic Smith, and others.
But while GM Brodie Van Wagenen said on Thursday that the Mets can now focus on "wants" instead of "needs," the team still has some needs -- both in terms of players they need to bring in and players they should be looking to move on from.
Here's what should still be on their agenda with about two months to go until spring training begins in Port St. Lucie...
Acquire at least one impact reliever
Here's what Van Wagenen said on Thursday while suggesting the Mets might not add an impact reliever and saying the team feels they have the "system in place" to get bounceback years from Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia:
"We can bolster our bullpen by having (Seth) Lugo and (Robert) Gsellman go back to the bullpen along with (Brad) Brach if that's how it shakes out in spring training. It's a good position to be in. We'll sort of adjust on the fly in terms of what other opportunities come in. We have the ability to do wants now that many of our needs are filled."
Here's the reality:
Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are not going "back" to the bullpen since they never left. And while Diaz and Familia could very well bounce back (especially if the seams on the ball are fixed), the Mets cannot count on it.
At this point, the Mets have not added one single potential impact reliever to a bullpen that was the team's downfall last season. That needs to change, whether they go the free agent route (which could be difficult due to luxury tax ramifications) or trade route.
Trade Dominic Smith
This one hurts, but there doesn't seem to be a spot for Smith on the Mets' roster.
First base is blocked by Pete Alonso and left field will likely be occupied unless the Mets trade J.D. Davis. Even if the Mets do trade Davis, it could be as part of a deal that brings in a legit full-time center fielder. And that would (you guessed it) mean the outfield remains full.
Smith looks like he's going to be a good hitter, has an infectious personality, and is very likeable. He is also incredibly inexpensive and is under team control through 2024. Those things would make him very valuable to the Mets if they had a spot for him. But it doesn't look like they do. So they should try to maximize his value now.
If the Mets trade Smith (they've had discussions with the Rangers about him), it could potentially be as part of a larger deal that dumps salary (more on that below) and brings in an impact prospect or reliever.
Trade Jed Lowrie or (gasp) Yoenis Cesepdes
The Mets have been actively looking to trade Lowrie, who is owed $10 million in 2020 when it comes to how payroll is calculated for luxury tax purposes.
Cespedes, who has begun hitting and running as he looks to return after missing the entire 2019 season, is owed $29.5 million in 2020 during what is the final year of his deal.
It will obviously be easier to trade Lowrie, whose commitment is for much less. But the Mets -- as unlikely as it could be to find a taker -- should be shopping Cespedes to American League teams in need of help at designated hitter.
If the Mets could get an interested team to take back half or just $10 million of what is owed to Cespedes, it would make sense to deal him.
As far as Lowrie, he profiles as a very expensive bench piece for the Mets if healthy. Perhaps they can attach a sweetener (such as Smith) to a trade for Lowrie while getting a team to take back a chunk of what he's owed and send the Mets something of value (a prospect or reliever).