This past weekend, sources with knowledge of the team's thinking told Daily News reporter John Harper that Mets GM Sandy Alderson intends to do more this offseason than has been reported.
Similarly, on Monday, former GM Jim Bowden said in the The Athletic that it appears the Mets intend to sign at least one "significant" free agent.
"The Mets have sent mixed signals on what their intentions are, but their actions with agents indicate they will sign at least one significant free agent," according to Bowden, who is also the weekday host of Power Alley on MLB Network Radio.
I agree with most of this, as I keep hearing from insiders that the Mets are having talks with multiple free agents, while keeping tabs on others through back channels. Based on Alderson's needs, budget, things I'm hearing, and the state of the market, all of the above reports make sense.
The way I see it, Moustakas, Frazier, Logan Morrison, Neil Walker, Addison Reed, and Lucroy all seem far more likely to end up with the Mets than Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Jay Bruce, Lorenzo Cain, or any second-tier starting pitcher, such as Alex Cobb. Cain has multiple suitors, Hosmer and Martinez will land in Boston, Kansas City, or San Diego, and I still contend Bruce will sign in California or Texas.
For the Mets, Moustakas would be the most significant, realistic "get," if for no other reason than he started out this winter expected to get a five-year, $90 million deal. He's still going to get paid, but it's difficult to see how he gets a five-year contract because -- as of now -- no team is desperate for a third baseman, including the Mets.
The fact is, despite being desperate to add a hitter, the Mets could pass on Moustakas, acquire a second baseman, and keep Asdrubal Cabrera at third base. Or, for the same $17-18 million annual salary it will cost to secure Moustakas, Alderson could sign Morrison for first base and right field and, say, Howie Kendrick for second, and leave Cabrera at third. The Yankees and Cardinals are in almost the exact same situation, plus Frazier is available as a third baseman and backup first baseman at roughly half the cost of Moustakas.
The point is, again, where is Moustakas getting a mega deal? At the same time, if he signs a one-year deal, it means he'll be back on the open market less than 12 months from now at a time when Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson will also be available.
As I mentioned last week, signing Moustakas to a short-term deal makes a lot of sense, a) because it helps the Mets now, b) it changes the depressing narrative surrounding the franchise, and c) he can be traded this summer if the Mets are again sinking in the standings.
I'm torn, though. I'd rather see the team increase the budget to allow Alderson to maximize the opportunity in the market. But, if the budget is what it is, and Alderson's resources are limited to him getting the most players for the least amount of money, the Mets might be best-served signing Morrison or Frazier and Kendrick or Walker. In the event the Mets are able to land Morrison and if they're confident in Brandon Nimmo's and Michael Conforto's ability to play center, I'd also look to flip Juan Lagares either for another reliever or to free up money to sign someone else.
In the end, Alderson has options. It may not seem like it, or feel like it, but based on the available options and what it is being reported, he does...
Hopefully, sooner than later, he starts executing them...
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...