The Mets have one of the most significant off-season’s in franchise history upcoming. Coming off a fourth-place finish in the National League East and having made the playoffs just three times in the last 20 years, the team is set to wade into free agency with new owner, Steve Cohen, and a new front office structure and a new outlook.
“My family and I are lifelong Mets fans, so we’re really excited about this,” Cohen said in his introductory statement following the deal’s approval.
What exactly Cohen’s vision looks like remains to be seen, but the Mets’ roster holes are apparent. Robinson Cano has been suspended for the entire season in 2021 which frees up $20 million dollars for the new owner to pursue free agency players.
This is the biggest need of the Mets by far. They have only Jacob deGrom, David Peterson and Marcus Stroman penciled into the rotation. Stroman accepted the Mets’ one year $18.9 million dollar qualifying offer. They have not committed to Seth Lugo and Steven Matz long term. The team lost Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to free agency. Every available starter will be a target for the Mets, including Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and more.
The Mets declined contract options for both Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos. That left backup Tomás Nido as the top catcher on the depth chart. By far the biggest fish here is J.T. Realmuto, but the Mets are one of many teams who will be bidding for his services. If they lose out on Realmuto, James McCann makes sense as a secondary option. They could also try to fill this hole creatively through a trade.
Brandon Nimmo was their everyday center fielder, but he has struggled defensively at times. There’s a good case the Mets won’t address this hole given Nimmo’s success at the plate (a .257/.397/.465 slash line) over the past three seasons. If they do make a move, it might result in a trade of either Nimmo or J.D. Davis, who would become expendable. George Springer is by far the top center fielder available in free agency, but the team could also take a look at Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Mets head into the offseason stronger than they have in recent years, so don’t expect them to pursue the top-market options of Liam Hendriks or Brad Hand. A lesser reliever or two would help keep Seth Lugo in the starting rotation vice the bullpen.
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