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...
Trading Noah Syndergaard...
The Mets are either considering or are actively shopping Syndergaard, with the Padres making Fernando Tatis Jr. off limits in talks, reports SNY's Andy Martino. While multiple teams are in search of a front-end starting pitcher, the free agent market includes Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel and the trade markets are rumored to include Zack Grienke, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carasco, and others.
In addition, MLB.com's Jon Morosi now reports that the Giants are open to dealing ace LHP Madison Bumgarner, who is already drawing interest from the Phillies and Brewers.
The Nationals have also entered the market for an ace, according to local reports.
MY TAKE >> It's clear, given the number of local and national reports, that Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff are -- at the very least -- talking with teams about Syndergaard. To what extent they're talking remains to be seen, and how they plan to replace him in the rotation if he's moved, is in question, but the takeaway is that Van Wagenen is open to making a big move to improve and reshuffle his roster a bit.
Adding an impact hitter...
The Braves signed free-agent 3B Josh Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million deal.
MY TAKE >> I wrote yesterday and two weeks ago that the Mets should sign Donaldson, knowing he was looking for a short-term deal, and either trade Todd Frazier or move him to a backup corner infielder, bench player and captain-like presence.
However, two things, 1) Given their projected payroll and number of needs, the Mets clearly had/have no interest in paying another player more than $20 million, even if a one-year deal, but also 2) there had been rumors of Donaldson going to the Braves as long ago as last winter, then again at the trade deadline, and then again at the start of this free agency. He's a country boy, born in the Florida panhandle and he grew up a Braves fan. So this signing makes sense, especially given Atlanta's two-year search for a third baseman.
The Mariners have approached the Mets and Yankees to see if they have interest in trading for 2B Robinson Cano, with SNY's Andy Martino reporting the Mets have been "aggressive" regarding a potential deal.
To acquire Cano, sources told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that the Mets would want the Mariners to also send a top prospect, as well as pay a sizable portion of Cano's remaining five years and $120 million contract.
MY TAKE >> I'm intrigued by adding Cano, who has experience playing well and winning in New York with the Yankees. He also still has gas in the tank, though how much gas and for how much longer is a big question mark. The Mets would either need to send with him a variety of their higher-priced contracts, such as Jay Bruce, or they'd have to consider the type of deal suggested to Rosenthal. The exact way of approaching this likely depends on how Van Waganen plans to finish off the roster, but -- in a vacuum -- there's a fit.
It's also worth noting it was Van Wagenen, when an agent with CAA, who negotiated Cano's current contract, which has largely been viewed as a colossal mistake by the M's.
The everyday utility guy...
Derek Dietrich elected free agency after clearing waivers. He's 29 years old and capable of playing every position in the field, though he's never had time at shortstop and center field.
MY TAKE >> He's a nice, left-handed hitter best used against righties, he's a decent fielder and comes with another year of control beyond 2018. He's not a perfect fit for the Mets, who have multiple options for their bench and need more right-handed bats, but he's experienced and versatile and someone worth researching. My big concern is that, over the last three years, he's one of these guys that seem to produce less the more he plays, so the team acquiring him will need to be very aware of how often they're using him.
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!