The Mets haven’t been connected to outfielder Bryce Harper or infielder Manny Machado – the best free agents available this offseason – in part because, “I don’t know how many teams have two $30-million players,” COO Jeff Wilpon said this week (via Tim Healey of Newsday). Wilpon was alluding to the Mets’ highest-paid player, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who will make just shy of $30MM per year over the next two seasons. But Cespedes is not under contract thereafter, may not even play in 2019 because of heel problems, and will have insurance cover some portion of his money while he’s on the shelf. Still, whether the outfield’s a pressing need for the Mets is debatable, as they have Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Keon Broxton headlining that group. Wilpon noted the Mets “have some pretty good lefty outfielders” in Nimmo and Conforto, lessening the need for Harper. Entering the offseason, they weren’t as fortunate on the left side of their infield, where Machado could have made a huge difference. The team has since signed Jed Lowrie, though, and it’s seemingly content to go forward with him as its primary third baseman and Amed Rosario at shortstop. However, even after reeling in Lowrie (and acquiring other pricey veterans in Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson), the Mets are still roughly $40MM under the luxury tax, Healey points out. Nevertheless, the big-market club is apparently content to stay out of the sweepstakes for both Harper and Machado.
More from around the National League…
- Although the Rockies’ Bud Black is entering a contract year, the manager’s not fazed by his uncertain status beyond 2019. “Those thing work themselves out,” said Black (via Nick Groke of The Athletic). If Black wants to stay with the Rockies, it’ll be a surprise if they don’t extend him this offseason or sometime prior to next winter, as he’s easily their most successful manager ever in terms of winning percentage (.548). The Rockies have made the playoffs in each of the well-regarded Black’s two seasons on the job and gone 178-147.
- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who underwent surgery in November to address an irregular heartbeat, told J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group and other reporters Saturday that he’s back at full strength. Pitching in the thin air of Colorado has been particularly problematic in recent years for Jansen, who was hospitalized after a game there last August, but trips to Coors Field won’t be an issue for him going forward. “If I’m hydrated I should be fine,” Jansen said.
- Earlier this offseason, John Farrell interviewed for the Reds’ managerial position – a job that ultimately went to David Bell. While Farrell was among many runners-up in that derby, he’ll still work with the Reds in 2019, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. After serving as a scout and advisor last year, his first in Cincinnati, he’ll function as a pitching consultant during the upcoming season. Farrell, 56, is best known for his run as Boston’s manager from 2013-17, during which the team went 432-378, took home three division titles and won a World Series championship (’13).