Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has not stopped knocking on a multitude doors as he keeps working to improve his just-inherited roster. The latest news involves the team’s efforts to upgrade behind the dish and to boost its outfield mix.
While J.T. Realmuto has been — and still is — a top target for the Mets, the club has also been connected to numerous other receiving possibilities on the open market. The New York org is “moving closer to resolution” of its catching situation, per Andy Martino of SNY.tv (Twitter links).
As Van Wagenen and co. narrow their options, top free agent Yasmani Grandal is said to be a “very serious” possibility. That’d mean topping the market for a player who is among the best in baseball at his position — postseason foibles aside.
Certainly, Grandal would be more than an adequate consolation prize if Marlins star J.T. Realmuto can’t be had. The 30-year-old switch-hitter has posted a strong 116 wRC+ since the start of the 2016 season. Despite his well-documented issues with, well, catching the baseball in October, Grandal is a gifted overall defender. He frames about as well as anyone and is good at limiting the running game.
If the Mets aren’t able to add offense behind the plate, Van Wagenen has suggested, that’d increase the need to do so in the outfield. It seems the club would like a right-handed-hitting bat, preferably one capable of lining up in center defensively.
Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos certainly has the offensive game the Mets would desire, though he’s not an option up the middle and has graded quite poorly even in a corner. Still, the two teams have discussed trade scenarios, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press (Twitter link), with the Detroit organization maintaining a steep asking price to this point in talks, which remain ongoing with multiple clubs.
MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz project Castellanos to earn $11.3MM in 2019, his final season of arbitration eligibility. That’s a notable sum for a Mets club that’s seeking to pack in as much talent within its payroll limits (the specifics of which are not really known). But Castellanos would only require a single-season commitment, as he’ll be a free agent at the end of the ’19 campaign.
That’s not to say that the Mets have moved off of A.J. Pollock, who’d certainly be a cleaner fit for their roster but will require a much more significant commitment. Martino adds on Twitter that the club remains “serious” about the veteran center fielder as an option.
MLBTR graded both Grandal and Pollock among the ten best players on the open market this winter. We predicted that both would secure four-year deals, with the former at $64MM and the latter at $60MM.