The Mets should be looking to improve their bullpen, as well as add an everyday catcher, at least one impact hitter and depth beneath the entire roster.
Here are the latest headlines and rumblings from each of the above markets, followed by my take on how things currently stand and may shake out:
The everyday catcher
The A's have been in contact with free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, according to the SF Chronicle.
Suzuki, 35, is hitting .276 with a .341 OBP and 31 home runs the past two seasons.
The Astros are a viable destination for Marlins C J.T. Realmuto, according to The Athletic's Jon Morosi. Morosi also believes Miami would prefer not to deal their star catcher within the NL East, despite the Mets, Braves and Nationals all having interest.
As I wrote earlier this week when breaking down Realmuto's trade value, I still contend Brodie Van Wagenen's best offer, which would be Peter Alonso, Andres Gimenez and Justin Dunn, can easily be topped by other interested teams, specifically the Braves, Nationals, Phillies and Astros. So their best chance of trading for him will be if these other teams turn to free agency and the Marlins feel pressured by Realmuto's agent to make a deal now instead of waiting to move him this summer of next winter.
The new everyday infielder
The Phillies are expected to trade 3B Maikel Franco, and they are open to dealing infielder Cesar Hernandez, according to NBCSports Philadelphia.
The Mets reportedly had interest in Hernandez last winter.
Trading one of Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler
The Reds are in the market for a high-end starting pitcher, the team's President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams told a local radio startion Thursday. Though they're talking with multiple free agents, FancredSports' Jon Heyman said they are also exploring the trade market.
In addition to Syndergaard and Wheeler, other pitchers rumored to be available include James Paxton (Mariners), Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco (Indians) and Sonny Gray (Yankees).
The Diamondbacks, according to USA TODAY, are aggressively shopping RHP Zack Greinke, who has three years and $95.5 million left on his current contract. In an effort to get back the best prospects possible, the report indicates Arizona is willing to pay a large chunk of Greinke's remaining money.
The above are a nice collection of legit, front-line options for teams in need of this level pitcher. If these guys are truly available, it's going to push down the potential return in trade, which means it may make more sense for the Mets to abandon the idea of dealing Syndergaard and Wheeler. If the offer isn't helping the big-league club win in 2019, I'd much rather see them stay, and if the Mets are out of a pennant race again in July, they then can deal Wheeler in the summer and again gauge the market for Syndergaard.
The Reds, Braves, Nationals, Yankees, Red Sox and several other teams are known to be in the market for a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.
Inking Jacob deGrom to a long-term deal
MLBTradeRumors.com's analysts believe deGrom will end up being paid between $12-19 million next season, based on his case in arbitration.
If that's the case, it is all the more reason to push this winter to get him locked up to a new contract, especially if Van Wagenen can convince him to take slightly less the first year or two, which would free up capital to spend on improving other positions.
In the end, the deal has to be longer than five years with at least an average annual value more than $20 million. However, if he's going to be paid close to that annual salary next season any way, what's another four years tacked on to it today? Get it done, BVW.
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!