The Mets are maintaining strong interest in Ben Zobrist, and assistant GM John Ricco told reporters as much today (as ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets), plainly stating, “We’re very interested” when asked about Zobrist, adding that a decision is expected sooner rather than later. Rubin adds that Zobrist recently visited with the Mets, who spent some time showing him around the Connecticut suburbs and the Westcheseter area with his wife and newborn son in an effort to “demonstrate there is grass in the New York City area for families” (Twitter link). Sandy Alderson was present for an entire day of recruiting, per Rubin.
It would appear that meeting is one of four such meetings that Zobrist has planned, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Rosenthal says that the Giants are “likely” another one of the planned visits, and he also tweets that Zobrist already met with the Braves. The Nationals, too, are a club of interest, Rosenthal adds, although it’s not yet clear if he’ll be visiting the Nats in this manner.
The main roadblock for the Mets in previous Zobrist rumors has been that the team doesn’t want to go to a fourth year for Zobrist, who will play next season at age 35. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan recently pegged the asking price for Zobrist at about $60MM over four years, so it’s certainly possible that a fourth year will ultimately be required if the Mets want to land Zobrist.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reported today, though (links to Twitter), that a fourth year isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker for the Mets. The team hasn’t drawn a hard line when it comes to length of contract and is prepared to offer a fourth year if that’s what it takes to acquire him. The Mets are being “very aggressive” with Zobrist and can accept the risk of a fourth year, per Carig, who adds that Zobrist left the club with the impression that he has narrowed his choices. For what it’s worth — I’ll point out that initial reports two years ago indicated that the Mets didn’t want to go to a fourth year on Curtis Granderson, either, and Granderson ultimately wound up signing for the exact four-year, $60MM figure Passan mentioned in connection to Zobrist.