The MLB hot stove is essentially ice cold, especially within the outfield and bullpen markets, which is where the Mets are most interested in spending their time and money.
"I've never seen it like this," a veteran agent recently told the NY Post's Ken Davidoff regarding the lack of activity across all of baseball, not just the Mets.
In an order to end the "gridlock," Davidoff says team officials need to first return to work from the holidays, which will happen today. Then, as spring training nears, hopefully a handful of owners will see bargains, open their wallets and to start to spend.
The good news for the conservative Sandy Alderson is that because of the way things are shaking, an unprecedented number of players will end up being open to accepting a one-year deal.
As a result, "It looks good for the Mets to get a reliever," according Davidoff.
"For the same reason," he adds, "they might have to pay some of Jay Bruce's $13 million salary just to unload him when so many similar players are obtainable at bargain rates."
Aug 1, 2016; Alderson speaks to reporters after the trade deadline at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Davidoff is spot on with his read on how Alderson's offseason will likely play out. I bet the Mets end up improving their bullpen through free agency for far less money than they expected.
For instance, free-agent reliever Jerry Blevins has been seeking a multi-year deal, which is understandable given what other similar pitchers have earned this winter. However, while the Mets would love to bring him back, Alderson has seemingly zero interest in offering Blevins more than one year. In the event things continue to drag, especially as it gets closer to the Feb. 14 report date for pitchers and catchers to spring training, perhaps Blevins ends up thinking it makes more sense to take a one-year deal to go back to a place he's pitched well, hope for a strong season and then hit the free-agent market again in a year.
Because this could mean the Mets getting quality relievers for less than they expected, as Davidoff suggests, perhaps it will free Alderson to pay some of Bruce's salary, which could entice other teams in a potential trade.
So far, Bruce has only been viewed as a one-dimensional backup plan for teams in need of a power-hitting outfielder. But when other more desirable options are off the board, a team or two may be willing to part with a low-level minor leaguer to trade for Bruce and take on a bulk of his salary. However, if the Mets are open to eating more of his money while still accepting a lesser return, it could expedite a trade and finally pit an end to Alderson's offseason plan.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) has been the lead writer of MetsBlog.com since 2003, as well as Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for SNY.TV and host of the MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Citi.