The Mets are weighing an earnest pursuit of Japanese star Shohei Ohtani if and when he is posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters, David Lennon and Marc Carig of Newsday report. While the Mets are limited in what they can offer at present, the team could potentially trade for additional pool money. The greater allure than the signing bonus they can offer, though, comes with the endorsement opportunities available to Ohtani by signing with one of the two teams in the nation’s largest market, Carig and Lennon posit. The Mets also have a strong relationship with Ohtani’s agency, CAA, and they could offer Ohtani opportunities to bat not only on the days he’s pitching but occasionally in the outfield. Lennon notes that the Mets should still be considered a long shot, but it’s nonetheless worth noting that another large-market club could be in the mix for his services.
A few more notes out of Queens…
- Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets are indeed interested in Carlos Santana, as FanRag’s Jon Heyman recently suggested, adding that the interest in Santana has a correlation with some executives’ feelings toward prospect Dominic Smith. The former first-round pick made his big league debut late in the 2017 season and didn’t do much to impress, hitting just .198/.262/.395 with a 26.8 percent strikeout rate in 183 plate appearances. Smith is still just 22 years of age, and Puma hardly suggests that the team has completely given up on the young slugger. But, assistant GM John Ricco also suggested to Puma and other reporters that the club could trade from its big league roster if it meant acquiring other big league talent. He also specifically indicated that Wilmer Flores could platoon with Smith, so there’s certainly the possibility that he could yet play a large role for the Mets moving forward.
- Puma notes within that seem piece that Ricco suggested Asdrubal Cabrera currently factors into the plan as a third baseman. The Mets could shift him to second base if a better option at the hot corner arises, though MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that the Mets are most likely to add a second base option this offseason with Cabrera penciled in at third base. Puma writes that while the Mets are being open-minded when it comes to the infield, they are not likely to pursue either Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas in free agency.
- The Mets are “ramping up” to make a play that has previously been uncharacteristic for them, tweets Carig. New York, it seems, is prepared to add a reliever to their bullpen even at the cost of a three- or four-year contract. Alderson has typically eschewed such commitments, but Carig notes that it’s considered a high priority for the team. The Post’s Joel Sherman points out that new manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland bring some insight into a group of free-agent relievers. Joe Smith, Bryan Shaw and Boone Logan pitched for Callaway in Cleveland (Smith was also drafted by the Mets), while Eiland was the pitching coach for Mike Minor in Kansas City.
- Further adding to the notion that the Mets are poised for an active offseason, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweets that Ricco joined him on the air tonight and “made it clear” that the Mets are going to be players on the free-agent market. Bowden notes that position players seem likelier than pitchers, though, with center field, first base, second base and third base all potential areas for addition. The Mets were already linked to center fielder Lorenzo Cain earlier this evening.