The Mets are among roughly 10 teams expressing interest in free agent 1B Carlos Santana, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Along with the Mets, the Angels, Phillies, Red Sox, Mariners, and Indians are also interested in Santana.
Santana, 31, earned $12 million last year for the Indians while hitting .259/.363/.455 with 23 HR, 37 doubles, and 79 RBI in 154 games. He was also worth 10 DRS at first base and was a finalist for the Gold Glove award.
The Mets are not prepared to hand the first base job to 22-year-old Dominic Smith, GM Sandy Alderson intimated on Monday while speaking at the GM meetings in Orlando.
"He didn't win it in September, let's put it that way," Alderson said about Smith, later noting that Smith needed to be "careful" about his conditioning.
"Dominic's going to have to be careful about his conditioning, certainly in the next few years if not throughout his career," Alderson said.
Smith hit .198/.262/.395 with nine HR, six doubles, and 26 RBI in 49 games with the Mets in 2017, during what was his first taste of the majors. Smith only made two errors in 46 games with the Mets, but his positioning was awful at times. And there were also instances where he seemed legitimately confused as to what was going on around him in the field. Overall, he was worth -7 DRS in 378 innings.
Earlier this month, SNY contributor and former Mets GM Jim Duquette listed the Mets as being interested in nearly every free agent first baseman on the market.
Similarly, SNY baseball insider Andy Martino wrote Monday that the Mets were "seeking insurance at first base" and that they would love a Jay Bruce-type who can play first base and the outfield.
Santana would be terrific at first base for the Mets. I'm suspicious of this rumor, though, because everyone I talk with tells me he and the Indians want to stay together. And, when that happens, it makes me think the player's agent is trying to create the perception of more demand than there is in hopes of getting, in this case, Cleveland to up their offer and get a deal done.
That said, Santana would be amazing acquisition for the Mets. He would have a meaningful impact on multiple corners of the roster. For instance, in addition to being capable of hitting 25-30 home runs, he's also a Gold Glove winner and would help slow down and solidify the team's overall infield defense. Also, he's a switch hitter and has started experimenting with playing the outfield, which is something that will also be attractive to the Mets.
I'm still not convinced that Sandy Alderson is willing to give a three- or four-year contract and allocate roughly $15 million of his $40 million budget to one player. But, if there's a guy worth doing it for, it might be Santana.
By the way, it's also worth noting that this is yet another bit of evidence that Smith is not in a great position. If the Mets are legitimately interested in Santana, it would suggest Smith may be more out of favor than had previously been reported. I still think the Mets have faith in him, but maybe they don't. Or, maybe they do, and they're simply planning to acquire his replacement in advance of dealing Smith to get a player that fills another need.