The Mets are “very interested” in Ben Zobrist and had a conference call with his representatives at Octagon today, reports Tim Rohan of the New York Times (links to Twitter). Rohan notes, however, that there are as many as 10 teams seriously interested in Zobrist, most of whom are also contenders. Zobrist, who is seeking a four-year deal, is listening to the pitches from each club and wants to play for a winning team. Newsday’s Marc Carig writes that there’s been a “steady dialogue” between the Mets and Zobrist’s camp, but there’s no indication that the Mets are willing to enter a bidding war for the versatile switch-hitter. And Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes that Mets officials indicated to him last week that their internal expectation was for Zobrist’s robust market to price him out of their comfort zone. To this point, the Mets haven’t made a formal offer to a free agent, Rubin adds. (Although that’s probably true of several clubs.)
Here are a few more notes pertaining to the reigning NL champs…
- The Mets are expected to make a “legitimate bid” for Daniel Murphy, writes Rubin in a second piece. He adds that some within the Mets organization feel that Murphy might consider an offer from the Mets even if they don’t make the strongest bid due to his longstanding relationship with the team. Carig tweets that it’s still unlikely there will be a reunion though, unless Murphy is willing to leave significant money on the table, adding that the Mets passed on the opportunity to discuss an in-season extension (to which Murphy was open). MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that the Mets seem to value Zobrist’s versatility (i.e. his outfield capability) over Murphy, but the team may very well get outbid on both free agents anyhow.
- Rubin also writes that the Mets are moving toward a non-tender of shortstop Ruben Tejada, whose raise in arbitration is beyond what the team is interested in paying him coming off his second broken fibula and considering his rather light bat. MLBTR projects a $2.5MM salary for Tejada, though Rubin’s report is based on a $3MM+ figure that could come about if the team were to lose a hearing to Tejada.
- Earlier this morning, Ken Rosenthal reported that Darren O’Day is seeking a four-year contract in the $28-36MM range, and while the Mets have been linked to O’Day, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that he was told New York “most likely” wouldn’t remain in the mix if the price escalated to those levels.
- One more from Rubin, who writes that finding a left-handed complement to Juan Lagares in center field is currently the priority for the Mets, though they’re also “poking around” the trade market for a shortstop and considering setup men to add to the back end of their bullpen. The team doesn’t envision any major additions prior to the Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 7, Rubin adds.