Some items from around the NL East…
- The slowed free agent market could benefit a team with seemingly limited payroll space like the Mets, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. If price tags fall due to the lack of movement, players like Jonathan Lucroy, Lance Lynn, or Alex Cobb could emerge on the Mets’ radar, especially if the team is willing to get “creative” with offers. For Mike Moustakas, for instance, Ackert wonders if the Mets could offer the third baseman a contract with an opt-out after the first season if Moustakas wanted to quickly test the market again; New York made a similar deal with Yoenis Cespedes two years ago.
- The Mets’ methods of dealing with injured players has been a source of controversy for years, and while the club has made new hires in its medical department this winter, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that ownership “micromanagement” and hyper-competitiveness will have to be curtailed in order for progress to be made. In particular, COO Jeff Wilpon is “more involved in medical matters — such as working on media releases about injuries.”
- As you might expect, rival teams have been coveting Braves outfield prospect Ronald Acuna, with the Marlins most recently asking for Acuna in as part of a Christian Yelich trade package. Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) that the team might still consider an outfield move “but [one] that’s not as big because we don’t want to block Acuna” in 2018. Arguably the top prospect all of baseball, Acuna is expected to debut in Atlanta’s outfield as early as Opening Day.
- The Marlins could be an attractive destination for lower-tier free agents who are still trying to find a new team, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman writes, given their lack of big league-ready talent. Signing a couple of notable veterans to reasonable contracts would help the Marlins on several fronts, Sherman argues — the team could gain some trade deadline chips, add veteran leadership to a young roster, and alleviate criticism from the players’ union about a lack of spending.