Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
So far this offseason, the Mets have added a part-time center fielder when they need a full-time one, two buy-low starting pitchers on one-year deals, and have not yet added an external pitcher to a bullpen that was their downfall in 2019.
Their one-year, $10 million deal with Rick Porcello put them right near the $208 million luxury tax threshold, but the Yoenis Cespedes situation (and his amended contract) means the Mets will save at least $9.5 million in 2020 and perhaps as much as $20 million.
For luxury tax purposes, the Mets' payroll right now is at roughly $192 million, so they have a solid amount of wiggle room and some real needs to fill. They also have one player they need to trade and another they should be very open to trading.
The Mets need to do more, and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post cited an industry source who says the team has given the impression that they are "nowhere near done."
So what could be next? Here are some potential scenarios...
Fix the bullpen by signing someone
On Monday night, the Mets were back in on Dellin Betances. By Tuesday morning, they were viewed as likely being out. That could change -- and really should change -- since Betances would be a perfect fit as the last piece for the bullpen. And it will reportedly only take a one-year contract to snag him.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen suggested last week while discussing the "volatile" nature of the relief market that the team could enter 2020 without adding anyone else to the bullpen. That has to be him playing coy because the Mets not adding another reliever would mean neglecting their biggest need.
If the Mets don't sign Betances, the other "big" names still left on the free agent market are Will Harris and Daniel Hudson.
Fix the bullpen by trading for someone
If the Mets prefer to go the trade route for a reliever, they really shouldn't have much trouble doing it.
With Dominic Smith, the Mets have a player who should be a very valuable asset but who doesn't appear to have a future in Queens due to positional fit.
The Mets have already discussed a potential trade involving Smith and Jed Lowrie with the Rangers. If those talks pick up again, the Mets should try to pry away Jose Leclerc, who has a lot of upside but whose struggles with control have caused some issues.
Another potential trade target is Josh Hader, who the Mets have already discussed with the Brewers. Hader would likely cost a ton, but he would also give the Mets arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball.
Trade for Starling Marte
The Mets were connected to Marte before they traded for Jake Marisnick and those rumors heated up again during the Winter Meetings before fizzling out again.
But a trade for Marte is still possible, especially with the money saved on Cespedes' contract conceivably making it easier for the Mets to absorb the $11.5 million Marte is owed for 2020.
As was the case when the offseason began, the Pirates -- who are not expected to contend this coming season -- should be working hard to trade Marte so they can cash in on his value.
For the Mets, acquiring Marte would give them the true full-time, two-way center fielder they still lack and turn Marisnick into a fourth outfielder.
Trade a starting pitcher
When the Mets signed Rick Porcello, it gave them six starting pitchers for five spots.
Porcello will be in the starting rotation and the Mets told Michael Wacha they had an open rotation spot for him. So what's the plan?
"If all are healthy then we have more decisions to make that hopefully will be a high class problem," Van Wagenen explained last week.
That "high class problem" could result in Wacha shifting to the bullpen. And there is reportedly some language in his contract that includes incentives for certain milestones reached out of the 'pen.
The Mets could also trade one of their starting pitchers in an effort to address other needs, with Steven Matz seeming like the most vulnerable one in that scenario.
But trading Matz or anyone else not named Porcello or Wacha is a risk the Mets probably shouldn't take.