Carlos Santana’s hookup with the Phillies could produce a double-whammy of bad news for the Mets. Beyond improving the suddenly aggressive Phillies — the one team that finished behind the Mets in the NL East in 2017 — Santana’s departure from Cleveland gives the Indians both a greater need for Jason Kipnis and increased payroll flexibility to retain the second baseman and team leader. Santana will get $60 million over three years from Philadelphia. So while the Mets and Indians have discussed a trade of Kipnis to fill the Mets’ hole at second base, the Indians’ desire and need to move Kipnis is not as strong as perceived, two industry sources said on the condition of anonymity. Kipnis appealed to the Mets particularly because of the notion he’d be more of a salary dump than a swap of talent at a time when the Mets don’t have many attractive trade pieces. A lack of supply also hurts the Mets in any attempt to deal for the Pirates’ Josh Harrison and the A’s Jed Lowrie. The Marlins’ Starlin Castro, just sent to South Florida by the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton deal, could be more attainable as a straight salary assumption (he has about $24 million guaranteed through 2019), and old pal Neil Walker remains a free agent. One lower-profile option could be Cubs second baseman-third baseman Tommy La Stella, a New Jersey native who enjoyed a productive 2017 as a role player. Kipnis, who turns 31 in April, is due about $13.7 million next year and $14.7 million in 2019, with a $16.5 million team option against a $2.5 million buyout for 2020. His injury-filled, unproductive 2017 season, in which he slashed .232/.291/.414 in 90 games while homering 12 times in 336 at-bats, cost him his position, as Jose Ramirez moved from third base to the keystone and finished third in the AL Most Valuable Player ballot. Upon his return from the disabled list in September, Kipnis played 11 games in center field, his first outfield experience in the major leagues.
Why Jason Kipnis’ price keeps rising for desperate Mets
New York Post | Dec 19