Here’s the latest from Flushing Meadows…
- The Mets have some interest in Denard Span and Gerardo Parra as potential center field candidates, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports. The team has cooled a bit on Dexter Fowler, another free agent center fielder who was targeted by New York earlier in the offseason. Signing Fowler (who rejected a qualifying offer from the Cubs) would cost the Mets their first round draft pick, while Span or Parra could be signed without any draft compensation.
- The Mets “will cast a wide net” in searching for relief help, and former Marlin Steve Cishek is one of many names under consideration. Cishek was non-tendered by the Cardinals last week following a season that saw him post a 3.58 ERA, 1.78 K/BB rate and 7.8 K/9 over 55 1/3 innings for St. Louis and Miami. Cishek was projected by MLBTR to earn $7.1MM in arbitration this winter, a number boosted by his impressive run at the Marlins’ closer from 2012-14.
- Ben Zobrist is expected to make his choice fairly soon and the Mets are said to be heavily in the running for the versatile veteran. Assistant GM John Ricco told reporters (including Carig) if Zobrist signs, the Mets still have payroll space to make other moves. “I don’t think we’re operating under it’s either or at this point. I think we can do what we need to do,” Ricco said.
- Ricco also said the Mets hadn’t yet had any talks with their young pitchers about extensions that would buy out remaining arbitration years, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. I’d think that Jacob deGrom, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time next winter, would be the clearest extension candidate if the Mets eventually do go down that road with a young pitcher. Matt Harvey is arb-eligible for the first time this winter, though Scott Boras clients are more apt to pursue free agency than sign extensions. Zack Wheeler (also a year away from arbitration) is recovering from Tommy John surgery, while Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are already controlled through the 2021 season.
- Could the Mets re-sign Yoenis Cespedes? ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) wonders if the longer Cespedes stays on the market, his price tag could drop to the point that the Mets would feel comfortable inking the outfielder to a contract. We haven’t heard much about Cespedes this offseason, apart from the elaborate promotional book Cespedes’ agents created to market their client. Olney reports that Cespedes’ agents at CAA/Roc Nation Sports have been contacting teams with multiple calls recently in an effort to drum up interest in Cespedes’ services.