Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
If you're handicapping what's next for the Mets now that they've celebrated returning free agent Jay Bruce with a Citi Field press conference, here's the way Sandy Alderson looks at the rest of the Met winter:
He'd rather sign a free agent than make a trade to improve the club. He says he could offer a potential free-agent infielder a "significant" contract. He doesn't agree with the hot takes that peg the Mets' farm system as mostly-devoid of desirable players, nor do he and his lieutenants believe the Mets need to add another bullpen arm.
Oh, and Alderson likes Brandon Nimmo's skill set an awful lot.
With all that in mind, now we'll see what develops for the Mets the rest of this off-season.
Josh Harrison, who asked the Pirates to trade him, could be a nice fit in Flushing. He's got three years of control remaining, including two team options, for $32 million. The Mets have also been linked to free agent infielders such as Todd Frazier, Eduardo Nunez, Neil Walker and Jose Reyes.
"I think we'd prefer to sign a free agent, only because it doesn't require us to give up talent," Alderson said Wednesday after re-introducing Bruce. The GM was not answering specifically about the above mentioned players.
"We have talent to give up," Alderson continued. "It's not like we don't have players that anybody wants. There's been talk about our farm system. It's not as strong as it used to be, but we've got plenty of good players that people want. I've never been big on giving up young players, anyway.
"We'll just have to see how it shakes out."
Asked if he were committed to adding an infielder, Alderson responded: "I wouldn't say committed. But we come to work every day."
When a reporter asked Alderson if he had the capability of making a "significant" contract offer to a free-agent infielder, Alderson said, "I think so, mm-hmm."
The Mets have added Bruce and reliever Anthony Swarzak as free agents this winter and have taken a flyer on Adrian Gonzalez, who figures to push Dominic Smith at first base, if Gonzalez is healthy. What's on the rest of the GM's to-do list?
"We're constantly looking to make the team better," Alderson said. "Some have talked about the bullpen, how we need to add a bullpen arm. I'm not really convinced we do. Nor are a lot of people in the organization.
"On the one hand, you want to have demonstrated performers. On the other hand, you want some flexibility in the pen, too. We kind of like where we are, too, but that doesn't mean we don't continue to look and see what's available to us."
Not even including the deal for AJ Ramos last year, the Mets added seven bullpen arms in five trades after it was clear they weren't contenders. Perhaps Alderson believes the Mets will have bullpen inventory from that group.
If the Mets pivot to making a trade, it's clear that Alderson considers Nimmo an asset, though he acknowledges he could be a chip to use in a deal, too.
"Nimmo's an interesting guy," Alderson said of the outfielder who was the GM's first first-round pick, 13th overall in 2011.
"First of all, he has almost an .800 OPS in limited playing time (.797 in 69 games last season). He's shown a real ability to come off the bench and have good at-bats for us. He plays with energy and enthusiasm.
"He's kind of the poster boy for the kind of offense we, and a lot of other people, are trying to create. Every player has some limitations, but Brandon is a player we like and I think a player a lot of other teams like as well.
"We're happy we still have him."