New York Mets Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News
In fact, the fans are staying away in droves.
Citi Field drew just 2.24 million fans this season, just 11th in the National League. This offseason, it's going to be general manager Sandy Alderson's job to give the fans a reason to come back.
As the offseason progresses, we will use this tracker to report on all of the news, rumors, transactions and everything else in between as it pertains to the Mets roster for the 2013 season.
All of the most recent news will be posted in the beginning slides, so be sure to bookmark this link as we work hard this offseason to provide you with all of the moves that will hopefully bolster the Mets roster and help put fans back in the seats.
David Wright and Mets Agree to Eight-Year, $138 Million Extension
The New York Mets can finally move on this offseason.
Their biggest issue has now been taken care of.
Third baseman David Wright and the Mets came to agreement on an eight-year, $138 million contract on Friday morning.
The deal replaces Wright's $16 million for the 2013 season and includes $122 million in new money as well.
The deal has yet to be finalized, and it's unclear if any of the money is to be deferred. The Mets had previously deferred money in the contracts of Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran.
Presumably, this is the last deal Wright will sign, as the contract takes him through the 2020 season, by which time he'll be 38 years old.
This is a huge step for the Mets, who have never had a good history of keeping their homegrown talent.
Signing Wright signals to Mets fans management's intent to field a competitive team and displaying a show of faith by keeping the face of the franchise in town for the bulk of his career.
The Mets will now head into next week's winter meetings looking to fill other needs, most importantly finding outfield help, a right-handed hitting catcher and bullpen upgrades.
Of course, re-signing R.A. Dickey would help as well.
Mets Still Waiting on David Wright Approval for Proposed Extension
In addition to the $16 million that New York Mets third baseman David Wright will be paid for the 2013, the Mets tacked on a sizable sum in an effort to keep Wright in New York.
The Mets offered Wright an addition seven years and $124 million, according to the New York Daily News.
It is believed that money will be deferred in Wright's deal, similar to the money deferred for Johan Santana and former Met Carlos Beltran.
This is a smart play by Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Keeping the face of the franchise in a Mets uniform for the remainder of his career will show Mets fans that Wilpon is committed to his players and committed to building a winning franchise.
Is Free Agent Center Fielder Michael Bourn a Late Addition to Mets Wish List?
Much of the focus so far this offseason for the New York Mets has been on the possible contract extensions for pitcher R.A. Dickey and third baseman David Wright.
But on Saturday, free agent center fielder Michael Bourn was a topic of discussion. Well, at least it was for CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman.
In response to reader comments, Heyman felt compelled to tweet that the Mets will not be a player in the chase for Bourn's services.
ive had a few mets fans seriously ask whether the mets might jump in and grab bourn late. the answer is no— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 17, 2012
Apparently, Mets fans have very high hopes.
Does Acquiring Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia Make Sense for Mets?
When the Boston Red Sox signed free agent catcher David Ross to a two-year deal last week, immediately the speculation began about the status of current Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Indeed, rumors started flying.
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald certainly felt the need to tweet that with the Ross signing, teams could be calling on the Sox for catching help.
The Mets have 26-year-old backstop Josh Thole. However, Thole hit just .234 with one homer and 21 RBI in 2012, including a .211 average against left-handed pitching.
Saltalamacchia delivered 25 HR with 59 RBI last season for the Red Sox, but hit just .222 with a .288 on-base percentage.
The perception is that the Sox are very high on Ryan Lavarnway, despite the fact he hit just .157 in 46 games. The Sox believe that Lavarnway's production in the minors can be repeated at the major league level.
The Mets could also attempt to bring back Kelly Shoppach, whom they acquired from the Red Sox last August.
In addition, the Mets have been linked to free agent catcher Miguel Olivo as well.
It certainly seems clear that the Mets want additional firepower behind the plate, and Saltalamacchia would be the more obvious choice in terms of production. However, they'll be taking a chance on a player who posted a 31 percent strikeout rate just last year alone, and who threw out just 18 percent of runners attempting to steal, a full seven percent below the league average.
It's likely that the Red Sox will make additional moves with their current catching situation—whether or not the Mets will be a trading partner at this point remains to be seen.
First Baseman Ike Davis to Stay with Mets in 2013
The New York Mets have decided to use a popular 1950s political slogan with regard to their current roster—I Like Ike.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would love to add some more power to his lineup in 2013. To that end, one power guy currently on the roster isn't going anywhere.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Friday that first baseman Ike Davis will not be offered up for trade this offseason.
According to Sherman:
The Mets had originally considered trading Davis and moving Lucas Duda to first base. But even before Duda broke his wrist last month, the Mets had determined to put him in left, keep Davis at first and hope the duo would provide 50-plus, maybe 60-plus homers from the left side.
Alderson will likely continue to look to add power to his lineup, presumably from the right side of the plate.
Considering the financial shortcomings that the Mets still face, Alderson will be looking to imitate what the Oakland Athletics did last season—find bargains like Brandon Moss and Jonny Gomes who can bash from the right side.
Former president Dwight D. Eisenhower rode his I Like Ike campaign strategy to huge success in 1952. The Mets are hoping their 2012 version of I Like Ike can bring similar results.
Are New York Mets Entertaining Thought of Trading R.A. Dickey?
The annual GM meetings are usually where the groundwork is laid for future deals between teams, and generally not a time when big trades in MLB occur.
However, buzz out of Indian Wells, CA—the site of this year's GM meetings—is significant concerning New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Thursday morning that the Mets and Dickey are not close to an extension and that the Mets are using the GM meetings to gauge interest in Dickey's services.
Later in the day, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweeted that Mets GM Sandy Alderson indicated that he's not expecting trade talks to pick up during the meetings.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com also tweeted that the Mets haven't completely abandoned the thought of extending Dickey, but that they will explore their options.
Obviously this is a very fluid situation, so we'll work to keep up on all the latest.
Mets Start to Make Moves to Bolster Sagging Bullpen
One of the major areas of need for the New York Mets is bolstering their bullpen. To that end, they announced a minor deal on Wednesday.
#Mets agree to terms with RHP Greg Burke on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league Spring Training.— New York Mets (@Mets) November 7, 2012
Burke last pitched in the majors for the San Diego Padres in 2009, compiling a 4.14 ERA in 48 relief appearances.
Burke pitched in the minors for the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 season before being released last week.
Obviously, Burke isn't the cure-all for what ails the Mets bullpen—Alderson may be on a hunt to pile up some arms and see what sticks.
Mets and Left Fielder Jason Bay Agree to Part Ways with Release
The marriage between the New York Mets and left fielder Jason Bay has now ended in an amicable divorce.
Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo announced the news on Twitter on early Wednesday afternoon.
The terms of the agreement were not revealed. Bay was due to make $16 million next season plus a $3 million buyout for the 2014 season.
Bay's time in New York was marred by injury. Over three seasons, Bay played in only 59 percent of the team's total games.
Bay was without a doubt a massive disappointment after signing a four-year, $65 million contract in 2009.
"The results weren't there and we are in a results-oriented business," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon shared his thoughts about Bay.
“Jason is a great teammate, hard worker, stand-up guy and true gentleman,” Wilpon said. “Like Jason, we had planned for the kind of production here that he enjoyed in Boston and Pittsburgh, where he established himself as one of the game’s top players. We wish Jason and his family success and happiness in the future.”
The Mets will now be on the lookout for a new starting left fielder, and Bay will now be looking for a fresh start elsewhere.
Dickey and Wright Contract Extensions Still Far from Completed
The New York Mets are working to complete contract extensions for third baseman David Wright and starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, but little progress has been made thus far.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has only gotten so far as to initiate preliminary discussions.
It's likely that the sticking point for Dickey's extension could be his age (38) and length of contract. While knuckleballers have a much longer shelf life, the Mets might not be so inclined to offer a multi-year deal.
McCullough cited executives around the league who believe that Dickey could command a four-year deal on the open market.
As for Wright, one of the key issues could be his wish to see the Mets competing for the playoffs on a yearly basis.
Alderson said last month that he needed to do a selling job in order to convince Wright that the Mets are headed in the right direction.
Third Baseman David Wright Sticks by Agents Despite Censure by Players Union
New York Mets third baseman David Wright has already had his 2013 option for $16 million picked up by the team, and they're working hard to make sure Wright doesn't go anywhere for the foreseeable.
However, Wright's agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, are now facing disciplinary action.
The MLB players union will take action to censure Wright's agents for their failure to monitor an associate who created a fake website to attempt to cast doubt on the positive testosterone test for another of their clients, Melky Cabrera.
The action by the union shouldn't have any effect on the ongoing negotiations between the Levinsons and Mets management regarding a long-term deal for Wright.
While several of the Levinson's clients have dropped them as agents, Wright continues to support the only agency that has represented him throughout his major league career.
Is R.A. Dickey Being Used as Trade Bait?
The New York Mets didn't hesitate in picking up the $5 million option on starting pitcher R.A. Dickey's contract for the 2013 season.
However, is Dickey a safe bet to stay in New York?
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets would listen to offers for Dickey if teams started calling.
Martino spoke with one American League executive who said that interest in Dickey would be high.
“I would say 10, 12 teams, maybe more, would be in on him, if the Mets decided to move him,” he said.
Just to be clear here, this does not mean the Mets are interested in moving Dickey. It's about his value to other teams if he were in fact made available.
Free-Agent Outfielder Cody Ross Being Targeted by Mets
The New York Mets don't have oodles of cash to spend this offseason. But an area of need is in the outfield, and to that end, they will explore free-agent options.
One of those options could be Cody Ross.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Ross is an outfielder the Mets have targeted as a possible addition.
Ross hit .267 with 22 HR and 81 RBI for the Boston Red Sox last season, and he was paid $3 million on a one-year deal.
The Mets had interest in Ross last year as well before he signed with the Red Sox.