Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
So … is the offseason ready to start now?
This isn't just a Mets question, but an MLB question. Other than the quixotic Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton situations -- Ohtani chose the Angels on Friday, and the Marlins are still working overtime to find a suitor acceptable to Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause -- the early part of the winter has been light on Hot Stove action.
Agents are privately conceding that teams have been very slow to pursue their clients this year, particularly hitters. And teams are saying that many relievers are still seeking four-year deals, turning off potential suitors.
The former is at least partially related to Stanton clogging the hitting market. One executive noted that the Giants and Cardinals, two teams distracted by that pursuit, are typically aggressive in free agency. Because they're tied up in trade talks this year, perhaps they've slowed the whole league down. The latter is a function of so many teams looking for bullpen help; so far, that's a seller's market.
As the winter meetings begin, the Metsies are proceeding at the same deliberate pace as everyone. The are still looking for a second baseman, a 1B/OF-type, and late-inning reliever. Here's where it all stands, according to major league sources:
Detroit's Ian Kinsler is still a target, and a more likely trade candidate than Cleveland's Jason Kipnis. The Mets have gotten further in discussions with the Tigers than the Indians, mostly because Detroit is unambiguously willing to move its veterans, and the teams aren't that far apart on players. Kinsler, 35, is under control for one more season. Keep an eye on him. Free agent Neil Walker also remains a possibility.
As noted above, relievers want big money, and in many cases four-year contracts. Mike Minor receiving a three-year, $28 million contract from Texas last week (he might be a starter there, but other teams pursued him as a reliever), did nothing to deter agents from seeking big money.
The Mets are not signing a reliever to a four-year deal. They like former Indian Bryan Shaw for his connection to Mickey Callaway, but certainly won't get into a bidding war for him.
Sandy Alderson has been happy in years past to wait until late in the offseason to sign relievers rather than overpay, a strategy that worked out well last winter with Jerry Blevins, and not as well with Fernando Salas.
A trade is also possible. The Orioles, for example, might be willing to move Darren O'Day.
There is mutual interest between the Mets and Jay Bruce, but a potential reunion would likely not happen until later in the offseason, and only if Bruce does not find a four-year offer elsewhere. The Mets are highly reluctant to go beyond three years for him. Bruce is drawing interest elsewhere, and is a possible backup option for the Giants, after they miss out on Stanton and Ohtani.
The Mets are not currently interested in Logan Morrison, by the way. This market could take a while to shake out.
I'll be reporting from Orlando all week. Watch Hot Stove Sun-Thurs at 6 p.m., where guests will include Mickey Callaway, Sandy Alderson and others. Steve Gelbs and I will also be doing frequent Facebook Live updates, and I'll be writing columns.