Monday officially begins the GM meetings in Orlando, Florida. After a 70-92 finish in 2017 and more questions than answers, the Mets find themselves in a position where moves are a must. Deals are more uncommon at these meetings in comparison to the winter meetings (which will be held from Dec. 10-14), but these meetings help kickstart a lot of the offseason chatter.
If the Mets are quite active during the offseason, it is likely they will be involved in some trades. As things look now, the Mets appear to have about $30-$40 million available to spend this offseason. A few trades could bring in less expensive players to fill needs and/or rid themselves of some players’ salaries.
While the GM meetings are usually for preliminary talks with players, the Mets have made splashes over the years, most notably signing Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal back in 2014. Sandy Alderson also first met with Asdrubal Cabrera at the GM meetings in 2015.
The Mets could realistically upgrade at most positions, but the most probable ones they will be linked to are third base, second base, outfield and pitching.
While Mike Moustakas, perhaps the most appealing name on the free agent list for third baseman will likely be too rich for the Mets taste, Todd Frazier and Eduardo Nunez will be names that are tied to the Mets.
Frazier, 31, would help solve a few needs for the Mets. Most importantly, it would give the team an every day third baseman who can hit for power, while also being able to play first base if need be.
In 147 games and 576 plate appearances in 2017, Frazier hit 27 homers and drove in 76 RBI while hitting .213/.344/.428, with a 108 wRC+ and .335 wOBA while being good for 3.4 WAR.
In the field, he committed 13 errors at the hot corner, while having 10 DRS and a 6.7 UZR in over 1,100 innings.
The 30-year-old Nunez is a more versatile option that can play third, second and shortstop.
Between the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins in 2017, he hit .313/.341/.460 with 12 homers and 58 RBI in 491 plate appearances. He also had a 112 wRC+ and .342 wOBA.
In the field, Frazier is a more soft handed option. Nunez spent the most time at third base in 2017, where he committed nine errors and had 0 DRS with a -1.9 UZR in 447.2 innings.
If the Mets want to move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base, Todd Frazier could be the better fit at third. If they decide to focus on finding a second baseman, then trading for either Jason Kipnis or Dee Gordon could be options.
The former had a down year in Cleveland, and with the team using Jose Ramirez at the keystone predominantly, the Tribe could look to shop the infielder.
He appeared in just 90 games with Cleveland in 2017 and hit to a .232/.291/.414 clip in 373 plate appearances.
For his career, he is a .268/.340/.422 hitter in 3,737 plate appearances with 88 long balls and 389 RBI. In his last full season in 2016, he also had a 116 wRC+ and a .347 wOBA.
In 620 innings at the keystone in 2017, the 30-year old Kipnis had seven errors with -2 DRS and a -1.5 UZR. However, the year prior his advanced metrics were better, with 4 DRS and a 7.3 UZR in 1,309 innings.
Gordon, 29, would be a nice fit for the Mets, who have seriously lacked speed the last several seasons and have relied on a committee of players at the keystone since Daniel Murphy took his talents to Washington.
In 158 games for Miami in 2017, Gordon hit .308/.341/.375 with two homers and 33 RBI in 695 plate appearances. He also had a 92 wRC+, .312 wOBA and was good for 3.1 WAR, while swiping 60 bags.
In the field, he committed 12 errors in 1,293.1 innings while being good for 3 DRS and a 6.4 UZR.
The two-time All-Star is signed through the 2020 campaign with a club option for 2021. He is slated to make $10.8 million in 2018, before seeing boosts in his pay day the following seasons, making $13.3 million in 2019 and $13.8 million in his final year.
Additionally, the Mets could pursue an outfielder who can play first base in the event that Dominic Smith‘s struggles continue into 2018. Possible matches are Adam Lind, Jay Bruce and Logan Morrison. The latter of whom as been thrown around as an option by several names, including former Mets GM Jim Duquette.
Bruce is the long-shot out of this group after it was reported that he’s seeking a five-year, $80-90 million deal. Lorenzo Cain is another name, but only if the Mets choose to focus primarily on outfield.
Cain would be a nice fit for New York as he would solidify the outfield and bring a much needed veteran presence to the team.
He’s an above-average defender, one that has saved 77 runs above average in 634 games in center, and he’s batted .300/.352/.437 since 2014. Better yet, he stole 26 bases last season — and was caught just twice. Cain is a five-tool player who has been pivotal to the Royals’ recent success.
Cain also posts some pretty impressive advanced stats. He’s posted an fWAR of at least 4.0 in three of the last four seasons — he missed 59 games with injuries the only year he failed to do so. He’s also had wRC+ marks of 109, 128, 99 and 115 respectively over the last four seasons, and he has substantially improved his strikeout rates over recent seasons. His 15.5 percent strikeout rate last year was the best mark of his career.
Bryan Shaw, Steve Cishek, Brandon Morrow, Matt Albers, Luke Gregerson and Addison Reed are all possible options. Signing either Greg Holland and Wade Davis, on the other hand, would be a reach with what they’re expected to get in free agency.
Shaw is perhaps the most intriguing on the list and has a history with new Mets manager Mickey Callaway.
In regards to starting pitching, names that will surely be linked to the Mets include Lance Lynn, Jason Vargas, and Bartolo Colon as veteran options that can bring stability to the back end of a rotation filled with question marks. Other names to keep tabs on are Alex Cobb and Tyler Chatwood.
As the days go by and the Hot Stove gets warmer, we will see how many of these player, if any, the Mets will acquire.