Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With a new manager in Mickey Callaway and a coaching staff in place, Sandy Alderson can now focus his full attention on the Mets' roster.
This is a significant offseason for the GM, who is in the homestretch of his tenure, and who must return the franchise to the relevance it enjoyed in 2015 and 2016.
That work will accelerate this week in Orlando, Fla. The GM meetings kick off baseball's offseason, and serve as a miniature version of next month's winter meetings, that annual extravaganza of trades, free agent signings, and grizzled old managers at the hotel bar. The GM meetings are more low-key, but represent an important first step in the hot stove action.
This week and beyond, the big national story figures to be the Giancarlo Stanton trade sweepstakes (neither New York team is expected to be a major player there). The Yankees are interviewing managerial candidates, making their GM, Brian Cashman, a person to watch in Orlando.
Meanwhile, Alderson and his staff will meet with player agents and executives from other teams, and accelerate their work on various fronts. With the Mets unwilling to trade starting pitching or Juan Lagares, free agency is the more likely path for them to add players this winter.
According to my reporting, the Mets' offseason priorities are as follows.
Find a second baseman
The team will be looking hard for appealing second base options. Brian Dozier (Twins) and Dee Gordon (Marlins) are the most intriguing trade candidates (if the Twins make Dozier available), but the Mets are not initially optimistic about finding a match with Minnesota or Miami.
The Mets could also seek a reunion with free-agent Neil Walker. Jose Reyes is a maybe. The Mets know he wants to return, but they're not in a particular hurry to a deal done.
Find a late-inning reliever
The Mets believe that they have three reliable late-inning options: Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins. They want one more. Bryan Shaw, anyone?
Find a first baseman/corner outfield type
The uncertainty around Dominic Smith leaves the Mets seeking insurance at first base, and they would love a Jay Bruce type who can move between that position and the outfield. But my understanding is that the team does not expect to pursue Bruce himself. That would only change if a market fails to develop -- unlikely, because Jay Bruce is good at baseball. Logan Morrison would work, but there seems to be heat around Morrison and the Royals. Also, the Mets are comfortable with Wilmer Flores playing significant time at first base.
Maybe find an innings-eating starter
But also, maybe not. Bullpen is a higher priority.
This list represents the Mets' internal thinking at the moment. Could it change? Sure. Each offseason market has its own surprises (remember how the Mets were ready to move on from Yoenis Cespedes, until they looked around and realized that no one else was bidding on him?).
My understanding is that they're not looking for a 1B/3B type like Todd Frazier, and are expecting Asdrubal Cabrera to be the third baseman in 2018. I wouldn't be shocked if that changed, once the market clarifies. Same with center field. Right now, that's not front burner, but what if a center fielder ultimately represents better value than a corner guy? Could happen.
It's all theoretical until the hot stove season begins … and the hot stove season begins in earnest this week at the GM Meeting is Orlando.
I'll be in Orlando covering the GM meetings. For reporting and analysis, watch this space -- and tune in to Mets Hot Stove and Baseball Night in New York at 6pm every night on SNY, and GEICO SportsNite at 10:30 p.m. You can also follow me on Twitter at @martinonyc.