Spring Training is just around the corner, but there are still lots of questions when it comes to the 2020 Mets...
The Mets bullpen is still riddled with 'what ifs.' Any chance they sign another major league reliever to fortify it a bit? ~ Vas Drimalitis on Twitter)
It's difficult to answer this not knowing their available budget. That said, if looking to spend as little money possible for the most experience, I can see them targeting someone like Alex Wood, Pedro Strop or Brandon Kintzler, all of whom can be had for one year and less than $8 million. Strop is the definition of the up-and-down reliever.
However, through it all, he's always had a good strikeout- and ground-ball rate. He'll be 34 and there's no reason based on his numbers and history to think he can't rebound in 2020 and become one helluva bargain. The same can essentially be said about Kintzler.
If you could make only one more move (free agent or trade) prior to Opening Day, who would be the best fit? If it's a trade, what would they have to give up to get him? ~ Thomas C. Portello on Twitter
I'd go for Cubs 3B Kris Bryant. I've heard Chicago wants at least two top prospects. However, they'll lessen their ask if a team is willing to take on additional salary from another higher-priced player on their roster. I'm thinking reliever Tyler Chatwood, who is due to make $13 million in 2020, could be a fit, especially since the Mets still need another reliever (see above).
The deal would tack on roughly $30 million to their payroll, which is a lot. However, in return for just two prospects, both of which probably don't need to be the organization's best, they'd be bringing in a decent reliever with the potential to have a bounceback season and an All-Star, MVP-caliber third baseman to bat behind Pete Alonso.
Mets need back up catcher. A number of free agents were open to signing, but nothing was done. Tomas Nido is not the answer. ~ Dan Carubia on Twitter
At this point, if they don't sign Josh Phegley, they may as well go with Nido. Phegley is likely to earn around $2 million in 2020, he has a bit of pop and a terrific arm, which makes him the ideal fit for what is needed And I can't for the life of me figure out why he's not already on the roster.
In the last day, I've had multiple readers ask for my thoughts on the non-roster players invited by the Mets to spring training, as well as who among them I believe can make the roster. Here is my response...
The Mets invited eight non-roster payers to camp, all of which you can read more about here. I'm most interested in seeing Ryley Gilliam, who, at just 5' 10" and 170 pounds, was selected by the Mets during the fifth round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Gilliam, 23, started 2019 in High-A. However, he was quickly promoted to Double-A and shortly after advanced to Triple-A. He ended the season with a combined 56 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.
He'll almost certainly begin this season again pitching in Triple A given he struggled there in just nine appearances last season. However, the way he throws and the attention he gets in St. Lucie this spring will go a long way toward bringing him to the big leagues as soon as this summer. He's a straight two-pitch pitcher, including a heavy curveball and plus fastball that reaches 96 mph. He hides the ball, has a quick arm and throws both pitches equally well in any count and against hitters from both sides of the plate. As a result, given his rise in 2019, he has the potential as soon as this season to be a late-inning weapon.
In regards to Tim Tebow, as usual, I'm more interested in seeing how teammates and fans react to him in camp than I am interested in seeing him play baseball. At this point, at 32 years old, it's difficult to see how he improves enough to justify joining the big-league roster, especially since the call-up rule now allows for just two additional players in September.
Frankly, if he has any value, it's serving as a motivational coach -- not a player. I appreciate and respect his dedication and hard work at the game. However, the fact is, he'll always better at inspiring and mobilizing people than he'll ever be at hitting or catching a baseball.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is a senior writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime.