Rosenthal: Mets Still Seeking Infielder, Potentially Starting Pitching

Even with the winter dwindling down and Spring Training swiftly approaching, their remains a plethora of free agents.

The Mets, like most other teams, have been quiet this winter, but could strike if the price is right. With that being said, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported Saturday that New York could target Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb if their prices drop.

He also said that Todd Frazier and Eduardo Nunez are leading the charge for infield candidates and that they are reluctant to bring back Neil Walker. Additionally, trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Josh Harrison have gained no traction.

Despite Lynn’s Tommy John Surgery in 2015, he has proven to be one of the more effective and durable pitchers in the game to date.

Since converting to a full-time starting pitcher in 2012, Lynn has logged 175 innings or more in every season except for the 2016 season (missed recovering from previous years’ surgery).

In fact, he pitched 186.1 innings this season in his first year back from the procedure and was very effective in that time.

The 30-year old went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.229 WHIP, 4.82 FIP, and 153 strikeouts last season. While he clearly is not a strikeout pitcher, which could be concerning, he has done this his entire career.

He has only recorded 919 strikeouts in his 977.2 innings, which suggests that while this trend might unfortunately not change, it might not really matter as he has shown he can be very effective without being a strikeout pitcher.

Cobb finished last season with a 12-10 record, 3.66 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 4.16 FIP, and 128 strikeouts in 179 1/3 innings pitched over the course of 29 starts.

While his career 3.50 ERA might suggest he would be likely to receive a bigger contract, Cobb has failed to ever accumulate 200 innings pitched in a season and has already had Tommy John Surgery, which is why some teams might be a little reluctant to pursue him.

However, he did log 179.0 innings last season, which would have been second only to Jacob deGrom on the team. If the pitching can stay healthy mostly, Cobb could provide the team a nice piece to lengthen the rotation and give them a quality No. 3 guy.

What is perhaps most appealing to me about Cobb is that in his four full big league seasons, he has notched at least 10 wins every year.

The 31-year-old Frazier split the 2017 season between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, appearing in 147 games and hitting to a .213/.344/.428 clip with 27 homers and 76 RBI. He also had a 108 wRC+ and .335 wOBA in 576 plate appearances.

However, what I really like about Frazier is the steady glove he would provide at third base. In just over 1,100 innings at the hot corner in 2017, Frazier was good for 10 DRS and logged a 6.7 UZR.

Coupled with Jay Bruce, bringing Frazier into the locker room would also be a big boost for the team. Plus, he will likely end up signing a shorter-term contract which could be appealing to the Mets.

It would help round out the offense, give them some potency in the middle of the lineup and give the team a much needed boost.

Rosenthal added though that the team is “leery” of getting used by Frazier if he prefers the Yankees.

As for Nunez, he hit .313/.341/.460 with 12 homers and 58 RBI between the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox in 2017. He also swiped 24 bags which is attractive considering the Mets have struggled in that department in recent years.

At the hot corner, his numbers aren’t flashy, but they’re OK. In 447.2 innings in 2017 at third, he had zero defensive runs saved and a -1.9 UZR. However, he did commit nine errors. His versatility is also something I’m sure the Mets will consider though as he can also play second base and shortstop as well as some outfield.

However, Nunez isn’t adept at playing the keystone rather well. He logged 213.2 innings at the position in 2017, and had -4 DRS and a -1.8 UZR. At shortstop, he wasn’t much better, registering -5 DRS and a -1.6 UZR in 123.0 innings.

About Rob Piersall 1211 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.