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...
Latest on Mets and Mariners infielder Robinson Cano...
The Mets and Mariners have been discussing a deal that would send Robinson Cano to New York, according to SNY's Andy Martino.
In addition to getting Cano and $50 million, Martino's sources told him the Mets also want reliever Edwin Diaz or outfielder Mitch Haniger and they further want Seattle to take Jay Bruce and the remaining $26 million on his contract.
MY TAKE >> I'm skeptical of whether this deal will happen, mostly because it so heavily favors the Mets. I can't see Seattle agreeing to it, given that -- according to MLB insiders I've talked with -- the Yankees, Cardinals, Giants and Red Sox, among other teams, have also been approached by the M's.
Based on how other deals have gone in the past, there has to be another team willing to accept something less one-sided than the above framework. So, either this story was pushed out by the Mets to discourage other teams or it was pushed by the Mariners to entice those same teams, because including Bruce, all of that money, plus an elite, proven player -- as great as that would be -- throws the deal totally out of balance.
Mets are keeping an eye on Bryce Harper...
The Mets are continuing to keep tabs on the market for free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper, sources told the New York Post's Mike Puma.
Van Wagenen is interested in Harper, but Sherman's sources say they are skeptical the Mets will give out such a lucrative, long-term deal.
MY TAKE >> I actually think ownership would approve it, so long as Van Wagenen can make it fit within the team's current and projected budgets.
Remember, the Mets have very few, expensive commitments beyond 2020. So, if a deal to Harper or Manny Machado is back-loaded, which is reasonable given their ages, the Mets could more easily keep within budget the next two years, after which, when payroll commitments are literally zero, Harper's salary can and would go up. My hunch is ownership understands this and would support it, again, so long as it remains within Van Wagenen's spending limits.
So, you want to trade Bruce?
As we speak, as a result of the no-trade clause in his contract, Bruce can block deals to the Tigers, Marlins, Athletics, Rays and Blue Jays, the New York Post's Joe Sherman reported Tuesday.
According to Sherman, Bruce recently swapped the Orioles and M's for the Tigers and Marlins.
MY TAKE >> Hmmm... Obviously, he added the Marlins because of their rebuild and probably other factors. But, did he remove the M's because he's been informed of a possible trade? Or, is it other factors and just a coincidence that his name is coming up in connection to Seattle and talks for Cano? The other thing to wonder about is who leaked this info to Sherman? The Mets, M's or Bruce's agent? Who has the motive? The answer may indicate whether he's more or less likely to be dealt.
The front-line pitcher market, which includes Noah Syndergaard...
The Phillies met Tuesday with free-agent Patrick Corbin at Citizens Bank Park, according to NBCSports.com's Jim Salisbury, who says the pitcher is high on Philadelphia's offseason wish list.
The Mets are talking with teams interested in acquiring Syndergaard, with two new ones emerging Wednesday. However, those teams have other options, as the free agent market currently includes Corbin and Dallas Keuchel and the trade market is rumored to include Zack Grienke, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carasco, Madison Bumgarner, and others.
According to reports on MLB Trade Rumors, the Nationals, Phillies and Brewers have been most often linked to rumors involving front-line starting pitchers.
In the event the Mets trade Syndergaard, Martino has reported their next step would be to replace him with one of the above, elite free agent starting pitchers.
MY TAKE >> I've reported that Van Wagenen's goal in any deal for Syndergaard is to acquire major-league ready or proven talent that can help the Mets win now. I don't think he's looking to acquire a basket of long-term prospects. The pipe dream, which I hope is shared by Brodie, would be to trade Syndergaard for the best, youngest, least expensive, most productive, controllable position player he can find. And then, after swapping Noah for a bat, trading Bruce's $26 million salary and signing a fair replacement to a long-term deal before signing Harper and inking Jacob deGrom to a long-term deal. In that scenario, the Mets pick up four high quality, young, highly productive players all under contract through the next three-to-five years. This is smart and would be amazing...
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!