According to MLB insiders at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Sandy Alderson clearly intends to sign a free-agent relief pitcher and either sign or trade for a second baseman.
If possible, he'd like to also ink a reliable, veteran starting pitcher, as well as someone who can start at corner outfield, first base and hit for power. There are a lot of options to fill this shopping list.
For instance, there are at least a dozen relief pitchers to consider; there are three free agent second basemen and four or five also available in trade; I see a half dozen starting pitchers that qualify as old and reliable; and there are multiple free-agent first basemen capable of playing the outfield, not to mention guys available in trade.
Like every team in Orlando, Mets officials and staffers are meeting this week with other teams and player agents to get a sense of each market.
However, if I had to bet, I think the first round of names we hear most about will be position players Logan Morrison, Todd Frazier, Eduardo Nunez, Neil Walker, and Jason Kipnis, relievers Brandon Kintzler and Bryan Shaw, and starting pitcher Jason Vargas.
Multiple reports indicate Alderson is able to add up to $40 million in new talent to next year's roster.
He would not reveal his 2018 budget, but again told reporters Monday in Orlando that he is unlikely to commit the same dollars in 2017 when his payroll began around $155 million.
That said, despite SNY contributor Andy Martino's detailed assessment of the team's inventory, Alderson did tell reporters that other organizations are indicating he has enough young talent to explore dealing in the trade market.
I think the difference between Martino's take and Alderson's spin is simply a matter of target. The way I'm hearing it from other teams, in Robert Gsellman, Dominic Smith, and Brandon Nimmo, the Mets have enough talent to trade for a second baseman, such as Brian Dozier or Kipnis. However, to Martino's point, the Mets may have only enough desired-talent to make one meaningful trade.
This will make life tricky for Alderson, who will need to weigh that one deal against other offers, while having confidence he can fill his remaining holes only in free agency.
As a reslut, my current educated guess has Alderson eventually overpaying to sign a popular relief pitcher, trading for another team's second baseman, and signing one hitter and one starting pitcher that will initially underwhelm fans and media. Alderson's public comments and the buzz from Orlando have so far done nothing to change my thinking...
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. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...