While the Mets have reportedly previously held serious trade talks involving Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo, there is also skepticism that the two sides will agree on a deal, according to Newsday's Marc Carig.
While Kipnis is currently believed to be the most attainable second baseman on the trade market given Cleveland's goal to dump salary, the Indians have appeared more reluctant to deal Kipnis since they would want to acquire a key prospect or player in return and not merely use Kipnis as a straight salary dump, the New York Post's Ken Davidoff reports.
"If the Mets can't pull together a deal when the Indians seem motivated to move his salary, in my opinion, it's hard to see them making any trade at all," Carig wrote about Kipnis, who is owed $30.5 million in 2018 and 2019.
Kipnis, 30, hit .232 with a .291 OBP and .414 slugging with 12 home runs in 90 games during 2017, while also dealing with injuries and transitioning to center field.
Kipnis played in 141 games in 2015 and 156 games in 2016, during which he hit .275 with a .343 OBP and 23 combined home runs. However, he dealt with a shoulder injury prior to this past season, after which he landed on the disabled list twice with a hamstring injury.
He will earn $13.5 million in 2018, $14.5 million in 2019 and has a $16.5 million team option for 2020 that can be bought out for $2.5 million.
In addition to the Mets, the Brewers and Giants are reportedly also looking to acquire a second baseman.
The Mets have also held trade talks with Pirates regarding 2B Josh Harrison, SNY contributor Andy Martino wrote last week after MLB's Winter Meetings in Orlando.
I believe Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez is actually Sandy Alderson's top target. It sounds to me like Hernandez is still very much available in trade, despite the Phillies signing Carlos Santana to a three-year deal a day after trading infielder Freddy Galvis to the Padres. The thing is, the cost in talent for Hernandez has been sky-high throughout the last year and I see no evidence that it has come down. I'm sure Harrison has a similar price tag, too.
The easy answer is to trade a mid-level prospect or two for Kipnis, add his salary, and move on. But, because the Mets clearly are hesitant about adding big double-digit contracts and intent on stretching every penny to cover as many roster spots as possible, the deal has yet to get done ... and, according to Carig's source, may never get done.
So, if not Kipnis, and if not Hernandez or Harrison, who is playing second base for the Mets next season? Frankly, I'd rather see the Mets sign Todd Frazier or Mike Moustakas to play third, while putting Asdrubal Cabrera at second, then see Alderson sign Neil Walker or Eduardo Nunez or Howie Kendrick and shoehorn Cabrera in at third. However, at this point, I honestly have no sense of what the front office is thinking, so my guesses and ideas are as good as everyone else...