Mets Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors and Free Agency News
The MLB postseason may be taking up most of the baseball headlines right now, but for a team like the Mets that did not make it into the playoffs, the offseason has begun. General manager Sandy Alderson and his team will be using this time to try to put together a better team in 2014.
Here are the latest offseason headlines for the Mets.
Catchers & Infielders
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With Travis d'Arnaud now in place for the long-term future, the Mets seem to have a starting catcher they can commit to. The Mets' situation for a backup catcher though could change, with Adam Rubin reporting that the Mets may try to sign a backup catcher that is more of a veteran than the young Anthony Recker, who backed up John Buck and d'Arnaud this past season.
As for the infield, the Mets have significant holes at first base and shortstop in particular. Rubin though has speculated the possibility of second baseman Daniel Murphy getting traded. It seems as if the Mets would only think of moving Murphy if they could get a similarly valued return in another position, such as shortstop or the outfield.
At first base, there has not been any major news on whether the Mets will be trading Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or Wilmer Flores, among others. In September, Rubin stated that the Mets will most likely give Davis a contract for 2014, being that he is eligible for arbitration.
There has also not been any news in particular on shortstop, but it's possible that the Mets could try to sign Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta after the postseason ends.
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Among outfielders, the one name the Mets have been connected with for quite some time has been Shin Soo Choo, who spent this past season with the Reds and is about to become a free agent. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has reported that the Mets will likely target Choo this offseason.
Whether the Mets will be willing to give as much money for his services as possible has yet to be determined. But if the Mets can find a way to bring in Choo for a price that isn't too high, it would definitely benefit a lineup that is in dire need of hitters like Choo that will get on base at a very high rate. If he becomes a Met, Choo would probably play right field, due to the defensive presence of Juan Lagares in center field.
Matt Meyers of ESPN on the other hand wrote an article on the potential down side of signing Choo. There are interesting points to both sides of the Choo spectrum, but with the outfield the Mets currently have, Choo would provide a noticeable upgrade in right field. The Mets' recent track record in right field has been pretty bad for over 20 years. They have not had a dependable long-term right fielder since Darryl Strawberry from 1983-1990.
The only other notable headline among free agent outfielders going to the Mets is the possibility of Marlon Byrd returning in 2014. According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, Byrd would be open to returning to the Mets in 2014. Whether the Mets would consider bringing back the 36-year old Byrd is not definite by any means, but it could be something to keep in mind as the offseason drags on.
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In light of Matt Harvey's decision to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the Mets' rotation will most likely have two vacancies by the time spring training begins.
With Sandy Alderson now more likely to sign at least one veteran starter, Bronson Arroyo has emerged as a possible free agent target to fill one of the voids. Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com has reported that Arroyo will look to get a multi-year contract this offseason.
Whether the Mets would be committed to giving such a deal to Arroyo, who will turn 37 in February, is unknown, but Arroyo's durability for the last ten seasons has shown that he is an innings eater and has a very good track record of staying healthy. If the Mets feel Arroyo is worth a two-year contract, he could be a good fit, especially considering the Mets could be closer to contending in 2014.
Another possible piece to the Mets' 2014 rotation could be a familiar face in Johan Santana. Santana missed the entire 2013 season due to recovering from shoulder surgery. Santana apparently is not ready for his career to end, so he will try to make a comeback next season. Santana would obviously be an injury risk for the Mets or any other team that signs him, but if he is healthy, the Mets could get a few good starts from him until their younger prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are deemed ready to be called up.
Other free agent starting pitchers that the Mets could target include Hiroki Kuroda, Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm, Phil Hughes, Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez. It will be fascinating to see which of these pitchers will demand multi-year contracts and which would settle for one-year deals. More will be known about which of these pitchers the Mets will actually target after the postseason ends.
Not much has been going on with the bullpen thus far. The Mets will probably look to sign a few veterans to either cheap major league contracts or minor league contracts near the end of the offseason, like they did in the past offseason with Scott Atchison, LaTroy Hawkins, and Brandon Lyon.