The following are insights, ideas and notes gathered from recent conversations with team sources, rival executives, reporters, front office assistants and talent evaluators...
Nolan Arenado isn't happy
Arenado was set to become a free agent after 2019, but signed a long-term contract that he can opt out of after 2021. During negotiations, he was assured the Rockies would make additions and increase payroll to push for a deeper postseason run. So far, that hasn't happened. In fact, they took a step back -- finishing 71-91 in 2019 -- and are on pace to reduce payroll from last season to this season.
The buzz from Colorado is that Arenado is frustrated because the Rockies are not following through on their promise. At this point, it seems likely he'll opt out unless dealt to another team. The thing is, the acquiring team almost certainly has questions about how the opt out will be handled.
This is very reminiscent of how things went down with the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton, multiple people said to me. And they're right. Of course, that issue was resolved by the Yankees giving up little in talent and agreeing to take on Stanton's remaining money. The consensus here is that a similar resolution will play out.
By the way, it's no guarantee Arenado is moved to the Braves just because they have the open position and talent to complete a trade.
"The obvious deal almost never gets done," an experienced, rival executive explained to me, pointing to endless conversations about the Mets, Noah Syndergaard, Padres and Cubs. "It's obvious in many ways, because both sides have desirable talent that fits, but with that it also brings enormous pressure to keep that talent and so things tend to die because it's safer to stay put than make a mistake."
Why is everything so quiet?
Anyone I talk with thinks the league is causing gridlock in the market by not yet ruling on Kris Bryant's contract status. The Cubs want to move him, there are teams interested, but his value is significantly changed if he's under contract for just next season instead of being under contract and arbitration eligible in 2021 as well.
To further muddy the waters, it's assumed that by trading Bryant it will free up money for the Cubs to sign a player or two in the free agent market. So, we wait...
How about the Nationals? Consensus among my sources is -- outside of bringing back Ryan Zimmerman -- the Nationals are done adding infielders. If they do anything, it'll be relief pitching.
The Grandy Manager?
People close to Curtis Granderson believe he'd prefer to be a broadcaster and humanitarian than MLB manager.
Back to the Mets
I asked five people I know that work in player development and they all expect Edwin Diaz to have a much better season than he had in 2019. Why? For starters, having a full season in New York under his belt will go a long way for his mind, but -- most important -- the odds are super low he again has a 27 percent fly-ball rate. His coaches -- by way of stats or mechanical changes or simply using his own experience -- will make whatever adjustment is needed.
Is Van Wagenen on the hot seat?
"Obviously, that all depends on how this season goes and how their possible new owner feels about it," a long-time team advisor told me. "That being said, Theo Epstein could be without a job in two years. It would be quite a feather for him to win a Championship for the Red Sox, Cubs and Mets, wouldn't it?"
So, what's next for the Mets?
The Pirates will move Starling Marte, but they want Brandon Nimmo. The Mets don't want to trade Nimmo, so we wait...
Frankly, I get zero sense from Mets people or teams dealing with them that Brodie Van Wagenen is eager to add a position player. He'll do it, but it has to be for the right price.
Otherwise, it seems he's okay going to battle with the guys he has on roster. That said, I have no doubt they want to add more relief pitching.
Free-agent Collin McHugh can start and relieve, and would be a terrific addition for a variety of reasons -- the least of which would be his homecoming. I hope he's being considered.
What about Betts or Lindor?
Friends in Cleveland say the Indians will listen to trade proposals from the Mets for Franciso Lindor if it brings back Amed Rosario. Otherwise, the Mets are not a fit.
In regards to Mookie Betts, I have long thought -- and continue to believe -- Betts is more likely to get dealt this summer. Boston's search for a new manager only further supports this hunch.
Random trade notes
The Angels continue to explore trading for an experienced front-line starting pitcher still in his prime, which means at some point they must have contacted the Mets about Syndergaard. Right?
The Twins are a nice fit for Steven Matz, a person familiar with their needs told me. She's right. They need an able-bodied, young arm given the number of holes in the rotation, some of which could be filled when players return from the IL.
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.