Another day, another bunch of Mets stuff I have to tell you. Sigh. I’m sorry. At least it’s not the Dodgers or Yankees or Cardinals, right? We gotta get into the connective tissue …
Next Mets Addition (or Extension)?
According to Andy Martino, the Mets are not done spending yet this offseason, and that includes both external additions (hold that thought) *and* internal extensions. Indeed, Martino claims that their second-place finish on George Springer was directly connected to their intentions and ability to extend Michael Conforto and/or Franciso Lindor here in the near term. Logically that makes some sense, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about one or the other over the next few weeks.
But as for the external additions, that’s where things get a little spicy: “The Mets are not done spending on next year’s roster, either. Expect additions in the bullpen, outfield and possibly third base. They have at least $20 million to go before hitting the luxury tax threshold that they do not plan to exceed ….”
Okay, so I already expected additions in the bullpen (every contender always adds relievers), but the outfield and “possibly third base,” obviously caught my attention. And I’m done beating around the bush: Kris Bryant is clearly available, he plays both the outfield and third base, and there was some significant Bryant trade smoke, specifically with the Mets, over the past two weeks. And obviously the fact that they missed out on Springer can really accelerate things. So, yes, I’m tentatively expecting Bryant rumors to pick up some steam.
Although, for what it’s worth, the Blue Jays did say they still wanted to add a right-handed infielder post-Springer (perhaps especially now that the money they had earmarked for Michael Brantley freed up at the last second). And on that front, MLB.com suggests that Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk are all theoretically available in trade. Keith Law agrees (suspects?) that they need to add another infielder.
Meanwhile, the Mets could, of course, always pivot to free agents Jackie Bradley Jr. or even Albert Almora Jr. And this all gets a little juicier if this next rumor is actually true.
Smoke or Misdirection?
Because … uh, wow, this would shake things up.
Braves circling on free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to league sources. Other teams on the west coast are expressing interest.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 21, 2021
But does this really make sense? The Braves currently have a 31-year-old Silver Slugger behind the plate, Travis d’Arnaud, for 2021, and so I’m not really sure adding the best catcher in baseball really makes sense. Craig Mish has since jumped in to add that Braves GM Alex Anthopolous has “always loved Realmuto,” which he might realistically know from his time reporting on the Marlins when Realmuto was there, but you know what makes a lot more sense than that? Leverage.
Whether this is Realmuto’s agent trying to drum up smoke to drive up his client’s price tag (or get the Phillies to seal the deal), or the Braves trying to hold the Phillies feet to the fire to spend more than they’d like to re-sign Realmuto (they’re currently the favorites*), I don’t know. But I just don’t see the Braves laying out the money for Realmuto. Not when they have d’Arnaud and not when they’d almost certainly prefer to re-sign Marcell Ozuna for the outfield instead.
Obviously, this has pretty serious implications for Willson Contreras, whom some believe is more likely to be traded than Kris Bryant at this point, as the Phillies will want to add a big catcher one way or another this offseason. They’re not alone in that pursuit (Nationals, Blue Jays, etc.) but yeah, let’s keep an eye on this one over the next couple of days.
As soon as Realmuto signs, it’s possible the attention paid to Contreras will tick up considerably.
*All six of these MLB.com’s reporters guess the Phillies as the landing spot for Realmuto.
Reds and Andrelton Simmons
The Reds are apparently interested in signing Andrelton Simmons, which really shouldn’t shock me, but I’ll believe it (an NL Central team signing an actual, big league free agent – lies!) when I see it:
Reds are among many teams interested in Andrelton Simmons
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 21, 2021
They have been connected to a few other shortstops already this offseason, after losing Freddy Galvis to free agency, so it’s not too surprising. We’ll see.
Odds and Ends
• Marwin Gonzalez, coming off a brutal 2020, is fielding some interest:
The #Tigers have been in touch with Marwin González's camp, sources say, for some of the same reasons they pursued Jason Castro. A.J. Hinch knows and respects González, who would bring a switch-hitting bat, versatility, and veteran leadership to a young team. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2021