The Mets are still very much engaged in trade talks with other teams, according to rival sources.
Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters this past week that, while he intends to keep his eye on all markets, he's more likely to sign a player to add depth than sign a major free agent.
Interestingly, according to multiple reports, the Dodgers continue to shop speedy centerfielder Joc Pederson, and the Cubs may now be talking with teams about super-utility player Ben Zobrist.
The Braves and White Sox are among recent teams to engage the Dodgers about Pederson, FanCred's Jon Heyman and Chicago reporters tweeted this past weekend. Since then, though, the Braves have re-signed OF Nick Markakis, according to multiple reports.
Meanwhile, the Athletic reports that the Cubs have discussed moving Zobrist so they can shed payroll and afford at least one high-priced free agent.
It's possible Van Wagenen has interest in Zobrist, who is due $12.5 million this season, after which he will be a free agent. Van Wagenen already inked Jed Lowrie, who can play every day at multiple infield positions. Zobrist, on the other hand, can also play corner outfield, which would give Mickey Callaway the option to rotate five people (Zobrist, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton) in and out of three spots.
In terms of the overall roster, since Zobrist can also play on the infield, he, Jeff McNeil and Lowrie would give the Mets three guys who can play every position on the field except catcher. The trio is the definition of versatility and depth, which is a quality every team is trying create given the recent success of the Cubs, Astros and Red Sox.
To get Zobrist, though, the Mets would need to take on all of his remaining money since Chicago's goal in moving him would be to free up spending cash. If the Mets have this left in the budget, my hunch is Van Wagenen would prefer to spend it on adding to his pitching staff as opposed to his lineup and bench. That said, if Van Wagenen still wants a complete outfield and the market for A.J. Pollock and other options is stuck, Zobrist would solve his problem with a short-term solution unlikely to cost much in trade.
I'd prefer Pederson, though.
Similar to the Cubs, the Dodgers are reportedly looking to shed money from their payroll to keep from exceeding the luxury tax, while still being able to sign Bryce Harper or another elite position player.
Pederson, 26, is probably best suited being a left-handed hitting platoon mate in left or right field at this point. On the Mets, though, he could qualify as an everyday center fielder -- especially if Van Wagenen can find a taker for Juan Lagares, who is due to make $9.5 million this coming season.
In both cases, considering what they'll be paid, their recent and projected production and cost in trade, both Zobrist and Pederson can actually be considered a bargain. Pederson is due $5 million this coming season, eligible for arbitration and under team control a final time in 2020, and was worth $20 million in 2018, according to WAR-based calculations by FanGraphs. Similarly, FanGraph's indicates Zobrist was paid roughly half of what he was worth to the Cubs.
Ideally, the Mets stop tweaking the edges of the roster and, instead, hold their breath and dive in on Harper or Pollock, who would be bold, productive, everyday players that would allow them to lock in all three outfield spots. That said, if the Mets aren't going down that road, acquiring Zobrist or Pederson would end the need for another position player and -- for an affordable price -- create all sorts of combinations for Mickey Callaway.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!