Is it just me or has the start to the Mets offseason felt off relative to expectations? They didn’t go out and land a big bad president – like Theo Epstein – to run their new-look organization (mostly because of the perception that Sandy Alderson already has the top job). But they did land one of the premier GM candidates in Jared Porter. Meanwhile, they haven’t yet backed up a dump truck full of money onto the front lawn of a top free agent, but they did doll out some serious dough for the second best free agent catcher on the market, James McCann.
So they are making good front office moves and they are adding talent to the roster, but neither has been the super-charged/maxed out version we were told to expect.
Though that may soon change …
Mets Prioritizing George Springer
We’re going to hit two back-to-back Mets rumors this morning, because that’s the nature of the 2020-2021 offseason beast, starting with their newly-focused attention on free agent outfielder George Springer. According to Jon Morosi, the Mets have multiple big-time irons in the fire (including that Rockies third baseman we’ll discuss momentarily), but Springer is the primary iron.
And that’s no surprise, the right-handed center fielder has done nothing but rake throughout his career, and had a very strong 2020 season to boot.
The Mets may have Michael Conforto (27 years old, 128 wRC+ for his career), Brandon Nimmo (27, 133 wRC+), and Jeff McNeil (28, 139 wRC+) available to cover the outfield, but McNeil can (and often does) play on the infield, perhaps moreso now that Robinson Cano has been suspended for 2021, and Nimmo is under control for just two more seasons.
Meanwhile, both Nimmo, McNeil, *and* Cano come up as potential trade chips in the next huge Mets rumor …
Mets in on Nolan Arenado, Too?
It looks like the Rockies may have gotten their wish (they were interested in having the Mets become interested in trading for Nolan Arenado, because MLB life in 2020 is weird).
The #Mets are focused now on signing George Springer — but they could be the strongest suitor for Nolan Arenado this offseason. Here's my story explaining why: https://t.co/XTv2MbllxQ @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 17, 2020
Morosi has an entire article explaining the desire, ability, and likelihood of the Mets trading for Nolan Arenado this offseason, and as I previewed above, McNeil or Nimmo could be big parts of any such package – of course, it’s a LOT more complicated than that.
Among the necessary components:
1. Arenado moving back his opt-out.
2. Arenado waiving his no-trade clause.
3. The Rockies taking back big salary (i.e. Robinson Cano).
4. The Mets including one of Nimmo, McNeil, or Dominic Smith.
5. The Mets also including prospects.
6. Can the Mets add Springer *and* Arenado?
On the first two points, there should be no problem. Arenado clearly wants out of Colorado and has already indicated a willingness to move back his opt-out for the right team. Maybe he doesn’t love the Mets, but I’m willing to bet he sees them as the sort of obvious contender and spender he was promised the Rockies would be.
As for the Rockies taking back salary in the form of recently suspended for PEDs Robinson Cano … eh. Maybe. I’m sure they’re aware they’ll have to pay down a big portion of Arenado’s contract and taking a big-money player is a good way to do it. If taking on him/his deal helps the Rockies get back one of the three names in point No. 4 while also getting the prospect referenced in point No. 5 they might have to make it work (they’ve taken on expensive, fading former stars before (Jose Reyes)).
As for point No. 6, well, Morosi says it’s possible and that’d certainly be the big bang Mets offseason we were all expecting.
There’s not a ton of Cubs overlap here, even if you stretch, because the (1) the Mets aren’t likely to trade for any Cubs positional players, (2) the Cubs need a center fielder, but won’t spend for Springer, and (3) the Cubs have been connected to Arenado, but we seem to be beyond those rumors for now.
Bonus Rumor: While we’re here, I might as well acknowledge that the Mets are also reportedly exploring the top-end of the free agent starting pitcher market, including Trevor Bauer and, to a lesser extent, Jake Odorizzi, as they eye a mid-season (June) return for Noah Syndergaard.
When might we see Noah Syndergaard next?https://t.co/UbdloGhpEz
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 17, 2020
Brewers Make a Signing
The Brewers have signed former starter turned reliever Luis Perdomo to a Minor League deal:
Source: Luis Perdomo has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Brewers.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) December 17, 2020
Perdomo’s overall results may not seem like much – indeed, that’s why he’s getting only a minor league deal – but he’s been pretty darn durable as a reliever over the last few seasons with three big league pitches, including a valuable slider and a 94 MPH sinker.
That said, he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery at the moment, and might not be available at all in 2021. So this could be a signing and an option situation for 2022+.
In any case, the Brewers likely see something they can work with – as well as a former starter who could eat up a lot of innings – and at this point, they deserve the benefit of the doubt with these types. They’ve done reasonably well with these is-he-a-capable-starter-or-not types.
Rays Need a Starter (Or Two)
Now that they’ve re-signed catcher Mike Zunino, the Tampa Bay Rays are turning their attention to the starting rotation, which needs starting “bulk-inning” pitching depth, according to Marc Topkin (declining the option on Charlie Morton started that spiral and trading away Blake Snell could exacerbate it).
The Rays are often able to churn out high-quality pitching precisely because of the opportunities these sort of self-imposed openings create, but they still need guys to cover some innings. And this is one pricy starting pitching market in free agency and trade. In any case, Topkin reports that the Rays have explored trading for a starter already and have even had discussions about re-signing former Ray (and former Cubs prospect!) Chris Archer.
From the sense of the article, it sounds like the Rays are going to (continue to) be busy this winter.
Ha-Seong Kim is Slipping Away
Just reminding you of this … and the fact that Kim has a time limit on making his decision that’s quickly approaching (first week of January, but he originally wanted something done before Christmas) … and that the Cubs have not been connected to him publicly at all lately, despite a seemingly obvious fit in both the near and long-term.
The Blue Jays get mentioned a lot with Kim:
The Jays have been in touch with star KBO SS Ha-Seong Kim and he’s someone they like. He also recently had dinner with Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu. Kim hit a career best 30 HR for the Kiwoom Heroes this past year. Just turned 25.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 16, 2020