Here’s the latest from the NL East…
- The Mets aren’t engaged in trade talks about their outfielders, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters (including Newsday’s Marc Carig). Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce have all been mentioned in trade rumors this winter, with Bruce generating the least buzz though he seems to be the player the Mets would be most eager to move.
- Even with Bruce’s salary still on the books, the Mets were able to make moves to upgrade their bullpen later in the offseason. With the club’s 2017 payroll now estimated to be just under $154MM according to Roster Resource, the Mets have vastly increased spending since beginning the 2014 season with a payroll over less than $85MM. Alderson described the organization as being “all in” in pursuit of a championship, and he said he has the flexibility to add at the trade deadline if necessary.
- Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post and other media that he spoke with Neil Walker’s representatives on Saturday and would soon be talking to Walker himself about a possible extension. According to reports earlier this week, the two sides have been in contact for much of the winter about an extension, potentially in the range of three years and $40MM.
- Jayson Werth told reporters (including Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post) that he and the Nationals had yet to discuss continuing their relationship beyond this season, though “there’s always a possibility.” The 38-year-old Werth, perhaps half-jokingly, said he was hoping to play for five more seasons, though such a scenario would be easier playing for an American League team that could offer him DH at-bats. Werth has hit .267/.358/.437 with 99 homers over 3138 plate appearances in his six years in Washington, a tenure marked by several injuries but also some outstanding play when healthy, particularly excellent seasons in 2013-14. Rather than worry about his next contract, Werth is only focused on getting the Nats deep into the postseason. “I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove, and I still feel like I’ve got a lot in the tank,” he said.
- Werth’s decision to leave the Phillies for a seven-year, $126MM free agent deal from the Nationals after the 2010 season generated a lot of controversy at the time, directed at both the Nats for seemingly overpaying and at Werth for leaving a contender to join a perennial also-ran. In hindsight, however, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes that Werth made the right choice in leaving the Phils just before their decline began, and just before the Nationals grew into an NL East power. “My focus was on winning, but at the time that’s not really what it looked like. Everybody was like, ’The Nats were crazy, Werth is money hungry’ and whatever else was said,” Werth said. “Honestly, I was in a position to pick and choose what I wanted to do. What I thought was cool about the Nats was that it was a total underdog situation, but they had good owners…and a core group of players with a high ceiling. It was a situation where I thought we could build something.”