Ava’s Angle: How the Mets should attack the offseason – trades and free agency

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The New York Mets fell short in their playoff run and there’s a huge push for them to have a productive offseason. This year, they have a lot of key free agents: SP Jacob deGrom, CF Brandon Nimmo, SP Chris Bassitt, SP Taijuan Walker, RP Adam Ottavino, RP Seth Lugo and RP Trevor May. 

The Mets already made a big splash, locking closer Edwin Diaz up. Last weekend, Diaz and the Mets agreed on a five-year, $102 million contract. This makes Diaz the highest-paid reliever in history. They also just picked up Carlos Carrasco’s $14 million club option. These signings are just the start for the Mets, as Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler are hard at work to bring the best players to Queens. 

So who should the Mets target? 

Free Agents 

Jacob deGrom and Brandon Nimmo should be top priorities for the Mets. The team is under a lot of pressure to sign both of them. These two players went through the Mets farm system together and shared success in the majors. DeGrom and Nimmo know nothing else beyond the Big Apple. Starting with Nimmo, he adds versatility with a clutch bat, strong defense, high on-base percentage and is overall loved by fans. DeGrom, though he has struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons,  is no doubt the face of the franchise. DeGrom has been an elite pitcher for the Mets, winning the NL Cy Young Award back-to-back in 2018 and 2019 as well as dominating virtually every time he steps on the mound. If New York can’t get both deals done, then the Mets are going to be forced to explore other players to replace them. 

New faces to think about: 

SP Carlos Rodon 

In 2021, Rodon had a breakout season, going 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts and finishing in the top five in the AL Cy Young ballot. This past season, he had even better stats, going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 starts for the Giants. With the Mets having deGrom, Bassitt and Walker all in the free agency market, they are going to need to add some pitchers to their rotation whether they bring them back or not. The Mets hope to get deGrom back, but in the worst case scenario he walks, New York will need to replace him, and Rodon could be a really solid option. He will have a much cheaper AAV, which will give the Mets more flexibility to sign other players and he fits into the culture of the team. 

SS Trea Turner  

Although Turner isn’t the biggest need, he’s too big of a star for the Mets to not at least check on. The Mets shortstop position is locked with Francisco Lindor, but there is some flexibility with second base and Jeff McNeil. This past season with the Dodgers, Turner slashed .298/.343/.466 with 21 home runs and 100 RBI. Additionally, his run game on the basepaths is one of the best in the league. He stole 27 bases for 30 attempts last season. Turner’s offense would bolster the Mets lineup alongside Pete Alonso and Lindor. He would most likely take the lead-off spot in the lineup if Nimmo walks. Turner has expressed that he likes to play at Citi Field and how he wants to be back on the East Coast. Not to mention, by having his old teammate Max Scherzer on the Mets, there could be solid reasoning for Turner to come to Queens. 

SP Kodai Senga 

Per SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets will be one of the teams to meet with Japanese SP Kodai Senga. He is a 29-year-old star, throwing 144 innings with a 1.94 ERA and 9.7 K/9 last season. His record was 11-6 with 159 strikeouts. Senga throws very effective pitches with velocities up to 100 MPH. Despite some control issues that Senga reportedly has, the main concern for him is the transition from the NPB to the MLB that can sometimes be difficult for foreign pitchers. If New York can negotiate the right contract, Senga could be a fairly inexpensive option that also improves the Mets rotation.  

Trade Targets: 

SP Tyler Glasnow – Tampa Bay Rays  

In the most recent news, the Mets, along with a few other teams, are rumored to be engaged with the Rays, inquiring about their pitching. This makes fans immediately jump to their ace Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he’s healthy. Coming off of Tommy John surgery and severe injury issues the past couple of seasons, Glasnow signed an extension with the Rays that will keep him in Tampa through 2024. In his comeback at the end of the 2022, Glasnow looked sharp and is starting to get back in the groove of pitching every five days. With the Mets in the market for pitching because of deGrom’s uncertainty, a possible trade for Glasnow could certainly catch the Met’s attention, as there are few effective free agent pitchers.  

CF Cedric Mullins – Baltimore Orioles  

If Brandon Nimmo doesn’t sign with the Mets, they are going to need to fill a gap in center field or move over right fielder Starling Marte. Mullins is unlikely to be traded from the Orioles, but is definitely someone the Mets should keep a lookout for. He’s been a productive player for the Orioles during the last couple of seasons, making the All-Star roster in 2021. Mullins is a strong defensive center fielder, using his speed and athleticism to cover ground quickly. The center fielder has a high ceiling for the future and he could be a good fit for New York. He will remain under control until after the 2025 season, which would be a cheaper option for the Mets, but with a high return. If not Mullins, Pirates CF Byran Reynolds could be another option to fill the potential voids in the outfield.  

3B Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox 

Although the Mets already have Eduardo Escobar and a rising player in Brett Baty at third, they can easily be moved around to put one of the best third basemen in the league in the Mets infield. Brett Baty would probably be involved in the trade, since there wouldn’t be a purpose for him if the Mets have 26-year old Devers. Unlike Baty, Devers is already an experienced player in the majors with 3,000 plate appearances. Devers is not exactly being shopped around, as the Red Sox are trying to extend him, but the Mets should not rule him out if talks continue to be far apart. Getting Devers would immediately improve the Mets, but he will be very expensive after this season and the Mets can only take on so many long-term contracts. 

Overall, all these options would go full into play if the Mets don’t sign deGrom and Nimmo. Getting both players back would reduce the urgency for the Mets to pick up efficient players and re-build their staff. DeGrom and Nimmo both play huge roles in their current position and the team would be different without them. Hopefully for Mets fans, they don’t have to go down that path and will be able to obtain all the necessary pieces that will prepare them for a contending 2023 season.  

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