Mets assistant GM John Ricco discussed several topics with reporters before the start of the Winter Meetings, including an update on the Mets’ pursuit of Ben Zobrist and their search for relief pitching. Here’s some more from Ricco, courtesy of ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin…
- GM Sandy Alderson contacted Yoenis Cespedes’ agents as recently as a week ago, though Ricco feels “it’s unlikely right now that he ends up a Met. I think that’s fair to say. I think we will end up meeting with his agent. Right now, I still think he’s looking at a deal that would be north of what we would consider.” With little known buzz around Cespedes’ market so far this winter, ESPN’s Buster Olney recently speculated that the Mets could get involved if the outfielder’s price drops into an acceptable range for the team.
- The Mets have interest in Bartolo Colon returning as a spot starter and reliever, and according to Ricco, “everything I’ve heard, he would be open to that type of role.” Ricco thinks “the door is still open with him” on another contract with New York “and I think we’ll meet with his guys out here [in Nashville]”
- Ricco said the Mets “haven’t been actively shopping” Jon Niese but they’re open to any ideas for improving the roster beyond dealing any of their four top pitchers (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz). If Niese was traded, Ricco said that Rafael Montero or Sean Gilmartin could step into the rotation until Zack Wheeler made his projected midseason return from Tommy John surgery. If the Mets re-signed Colon, I’d also think a Niese deal would be the perfect route for Colon to get regular starts for at least half the year.
They actually acknowledged Niese, who is quite valuable given his team friendly contract, being a left-handed, and putting up #3/#4 stats.