Unlike last November, when their focus was clearly on one player, the Mets enter free agency with surveillance in several directions. Given his team’s holes in the infield, outfield, starting rotation and bullpen, general manager Sandy Alderson will need to be prudent in dividing his available dollars as the Mets attempt to rebuild a team that appears only vaguely similar to the one that arrived in spring training in 2017. Yoenis Cespedes’ return in November on a four-year contract worth $110 million basically opened and closed free agency last winter for the Mets, who waited until late January to re-up lefty reliever Jerry Blevins. Now the Mets need quantity, while monitoring a payroll that reached the $155 million neighborhood last season, the highest level in Alderson’s tenure. The GM has previously indicated the 2018 payroll would probably be reduced, leaving him with significantly less to spend on new players than the roughly $60 million removed from the books with the expired contracts of Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker. Raises to arbitration-eligible players such as Jacob deGrom, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia will slice into that available money. Already, the club has picked up the options on Asdrubal Cabrera ($8.5 million) and Blevins ($7 million). Familia, Ramos and Blevins give the Mets a respectable bullpen nucleus, but the club will pursue at least one arm through free agency, with names such as Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow and Reed as potential fits. The top of the reliever class includes Wade Davis and Greg Holland. In the rotation the Mets may seek an affordable option who can slot behind Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, giving the Mets insurance if the team doesn’t receive enough health from Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo. The possibilities could include lefty Jason Vargas, who had a solid season with the Royals and would be reunited with pitching coach Dave Eiland. J.D. Martinez is the top available outfield bat, but would the Mets sign another $100 million player, just one year removed from the Cespedes contract? More likely the Mets will pursue a reunion with Bruce, but the veteran outfielder might prefer to avoid a return to New York, especially with his hometown Astros potentially in need of a lefty outfield bat.
Dee Gordon splash? Solid Royals starter? Sizing up Mets’ free agency
New York Post | Nov 7