New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-13T17:46:32Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Carlos Carrasco]]> 2021-04-13T02:34:50Z 2021-04-13T02:34:50Z
  • The Mets’ Carlos Carrasco suffered a torn hamstring last month, but manager Luis Rojas said Monday that the righty “is doing really good right now,” per Anthony DiComo of Carrasco is stretched out to throw four innings and will soon report to the Mets’ alternate site to begin fielding work, according to DiComo. Still, there isn’t an exact timeline for the offseason acquisition’s Mets debut. It was reported when Carrasco went down that he would need six to eight weeks to recover, so he could still be another month-plus away.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Syndergaard, Lugo]]> 2021-04-10T20:42:22Z 2021-04-10T20:00:21Z
  • Mets GM Zack Scott provided reporters (including the New York Daily News’ Deesha Thosar) with updates on Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo, saying that both right-handers are on schedule with their injury rehab.  Lugo underwent bone spur surgery on his throwing elbow in February, and is expected to be back at some point in May.  Syndergaard is set to throw a live batting practice today, in the latest step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in March 2020.  If all continues to go well for Syndergaard, he is on pace to rejoin the Mets’ rotation before the end of June.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Place J.D. Davis On 10-Day IL, Select Jose Peraza, Designate Franklyn Kilome]]> 2021-04-10T16:44:10Z 2021-04-10T16:21:39Z The Mets have placed infielder J.D. Davis on the 10-day injured list due to a left hand contusion, the team announced.  Davis’ placement is retroactive to April 7.  In corresponding moves, infielder Jose Peraza’s contract was selected from the alternate training site, and right-hander Franklyn Kilome was designated for assignment to open up a 40-man roster spot for Peraza.

    Davis was hit on the hand by a Chase Anderson fastball during Tuesday’s game and hasn’t since been back on the field.  X-rays on both Davis’ hand and left wrist were negative, and it doesn’t sound as if Davis will miss much or any time beyond the minimum stay on the injured list, though an IL placement seems necessary if Davis isn’t yet ready to play.

    Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar have filled in at third base in Davis’ absence, and Peraza might also join this mix.  Signed to a minor league deal back in November, Peraza saw pretty close to everyday duty for the Reds as a second baseman, shortstop, and eventually as a super-utility option in 2017-19, but Cincinnati non-tendered the infielder due to a lack of hitting.  The problems at the plate continued for Peraza with the Red Sox last season, as he batted just .225/.275/.342 over 120 PA in 2020.

    Peraza drew some top-100 prospect attention prior to the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and Kilome also isn’t far moved from his days as a highly-touted minor leaguer in the Phillies’ system — Baseball Prospectus included the righty on their top-100 lists every year from 2016-18.  Kilome was acquired by the Mets in the Asdrubal Cabrera trade in July 2018, and Kilome then had to undergo Tommy John surgery just a few months later that wiped out his 2019 campaign.

    Kilome did make his MLB debut last season, but he was hit hard in every appearance and posted an 11.12 ERA over 11 1/3 innings.  It isn’t out of the question that another team could claim Kilome off the DFA wire, given his past prospect pedigree, but that seems to be a risk the Mets are willing to take on the 25-year-old.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[X-Rays Negative On J.D. Davis' Hand]]> 2021-04-09T00:34:45Z 2021-04-09T00:34:11Z
  • The Mets received some good news on J.D. Davis. X-rays came back negative on his bruised left hand, Tim Healey of Newsday relays (via Twitter). Davis does not appear to be headed to the injured list, though he remained out of the lineup for the Mets’ home opener today. Jonathan Villar took his place at the hot corner. Villar got the start at third base today for the first time since 2016. Luis Guillorme would also be in line to see a bump in playing time while Davis is on the shelf. It’s not clear, however, how much time Davis will miss.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Mets Place Dellin Betances On Injured List, Call Up Trevor Hildenberger]]> 2021-04-08T16:15:12Z 2021-04-08T15:54:51Z The Mets have placed right-hander Dellin Betances on the 10-day injured list because of a right shoulder impingement, per Newsday’s Tim Healey and others (via Twitter). Trevor Hildenberger will take his place on the active roster. Hildenberger will be added to the 40-man roster, which will now be full.

    Betances, 33, made his first appearance of the season yesterday. He surrendered one run in one inning of work without giving up a hit. He walked one and struck out one. Injuries have been a central piece of Betances’ narrative since joining the Mets. He threw 11 2/3 innings last year in 15 appearances, finishing with a 7.71 ERA/4.91 FIP while striking out just 18.6 percent of hitters and struggling with his control. He had a 20.3 percent walk rate in 2020. This, of course, came after injuries robbed him of all but one appearance in his final season with the Yankees.

    Hildenberger now becomes the latest solution to the Mets’ bullpen woes. The 30-year-old didn’t appear in the Majors last season, signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox but never making it to the roster. He does have 132 appearances from his time with the Twins from 2017 to 2019.

    He was particularly good in his debut season back in 2017 when he made 37 appearances with a 3.21 ERA/3.02 FIP. The ball did not bounce his way the following two campaigns, however, when he posted a combined 6.35 ERA across 95 appearances totaling 89 1/3 innings, despite having a 4.58 FIP over that same span. An absurdly-high .459 BABIP over 22 appearances in 2019 might have been to blame for his bloated ERA that season.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Aaron Judge Dealing With Left Side Soreness]]> 2021-04-07T23:56:42Z 2021-04-07T23:56:42Z A few injury updates from the American League:

    • Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge wasn’t in their lineup against the Orioles on Wednesday because of soreness in his left side, Bryan Hoch of writes. Manager Aaron Boone doesn’t seem all that concerned, as he said, “With the off day tomorrow I don’t want to take any chances.” Still, it’s notable in light of Judge’s extensive injury history. He missed a large amount of time in 2018 after suffering a fractured wrist on a hit by pitch, which was obviously just a bad break, but then sat out a combined 92 games from 2019-20 because of oblique, rib and calf problems. Judge has been excellent when healthy, though, and has begun this season with an eye-popping .364/.391/.636 line with two home runs in 23 plate appearances.
    • Mariners center fielder Kyle Lewis is progressing in his recovery from a bone bruise in his right knee and could make his season debut during the team’s April 16-20 homestand, Corey Brock of The Athletic tweets. The injury has prevented Lewis from building on last season’s American League Rookie of the Year-winning campaign, in which he batted .262/.364/.437 with 11 home runs and five stolen bases over 242 plate appearances. The Mariners have mostly used Taylor Trammell in center during Lewis’ absence.
    • Sticking with the Mariners, first baseman Evan White exited their game against the White Sox on Wednesday with tightness in his left quad, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. The team replaced White with Jose Marmolejos. White was off to a less-than-ideal start to the season even before the injury, as the 24-year-old has collected just three hits in 24 plate appearances and struck out seven times. The Mariners signed White to a six-year, $24MM extension before last season, but he wound up struggling to a .176/.252/.346 line with a 41.6 percent K rate in 202 PA as a rookie then.
    • Orioles outfielder DJ Stewart might be back in their lineup this weekend, according to manager Brandon Hyde (via Joe Trezza of Stewart hasn’t played yet this year on account of a hamstring issue that has shelved him for a little over a month. The 27-year-old lined up in the corner outfield in all 31 of his appearances in 2020, and he put up an unusual .193/.355/.455 batting line with seven home runs 112 trips to the plate. Despite a low batting average and a 33.9 percent strikeout rate, Stewart’s ability to draw walks (17.9 percent) and hit for power (.261 ISO) carried him to an impressive wRC+ of 124.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals Set Opening Day Roster]]> 2021-04-06T17:38:18Z 2021-04-06T16:31:31Z After having their first four games postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the organization, the Nationals have announced their roster for today’s season opener. Four Nationals players are said to have tested positive, with several more in the organization being deemed close contacts who are also going through protocol. Tuesday’s announcement was accompanied by a dizzying series of roster moves, which included placing catchers Yan Gomes and Alex Avila; left-handers Patrick Corbin, Brad Hand and Jon Lester; infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer; first baseman Josh Bell; and outfielder Kyle Schwarber on the Covid-19 related injured list. Right-hander Will Harris was also placed on the 10-day injured list after his recent procedure to address a blood clot.

    In a sequence of corresponding roster moves, the Nats recalled catcher Tres Barrera; right-handers Ryne Harper and Kyle McGowin; infielders Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia; lefty Sam Clay; and outfielder Yadiel Hernandez from their alternate training site. Washington also selected the contracts of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Cody Wilson. Wilson was specifically designated as a “replacement player,” indicating that he can be removed from the 40-man roster and sent back to the minors without clearing waivers as the affected Nationals players are cleared to return to the roster.

    Notably, the Nationals’ Opening Day roster includes shortstop Trea Turner — a welcome development after Turner was absent from yesterday’s workout with the team. Manager Dave Martinez tells reporters that Turner was not cleared to be on the field yesterday (Twitter link via the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty), so it seems he cleared protocols this morning. Turner will be joined in the Opening Day infield by Ryan Zimmerman, Hernan Perez (at second) and Starlin Castro (at third). The Nats will give Andrew Stevenson the nod in left field alongside Victor Robles and Juan Soto, while Lucroy draws the start behind the plate, catching Max Scherzer.

    The Nationals will make up yesterday’s postponed contest against the Braves in a doubleheader tomorrow. It’s not yet clear when they’ll make up their three postponed games against the Mets, although given that they’re division rivals, the remainder of this season’s schedule will provide ample opportunity for those games to be played.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Mets, Francisco Lindor Agree On Ten-Year Extension]]> 2021-04-05T15:49:44Z 2021-04-05T15:45:06Z APRIL 5: The Mets have officially announced Lindor’s extension. Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News provides the release here.

    MARCH 31: The stalemate is over. The Mets have reportedly come to terms on a ten-year, $341MM contract extension with star shortstop Francisco Lindor, covering the 2022-31 seasons. Lindor will be paid a $21MM singing bonus, followed by flat $32MM salaries in each year of the deal. The contract calls for $5MM of the annual salaries to be deferred, paid annually from 2032-41, for a total of $50MM in deferrals. The deal also contains a 15-team no-trade clause without any opt-out provisions. Lindor is represented by SportsMeter.

    The extension is a monumental development, both for the Mets and for the sport as a whole. New York acquired the 27-year-old Lindor, one of the sport’s brightest stars, in an offseason trade with the Indians. Now they’ll ensure he spends the bulk of his career in Queens.

    Lindor was the eighth overall draft pick by Cleveland back in 2011. He immediately became one of the game’s top prospects and moved quickly through the minors for a high school draftee, reaching the big leagues by June 2015. Lindor burst onto the scene that year with a .313/.353/.482 slash line as the Indians’ everyday shortstop, earning a runner-up finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

    That sensational debut set the stage for a run of four consecutive star-level seasons. Between 2016-19, Lindor hit .284/.346/.495 (118 wRC+) with 118 home runs and 81 stolen bases. That’s quality offensive production from any player, but it’s particularly remarkable coming from a shortstop widely regarded as one of the game’s premier defenders. Lindor’s two-way production earned him an All-Star berth and a top 15 finish in AL MVP voting in each of those seasons.

    That production did drop off a bit during the abbreviated 2020 season. Lindor played in all sixty games for Cleveland but hit a career-worst .258/.335/.415 (102 wRC+). It seems that average showing is something of a small sample anomaly, though. Lindor kept his strikeout rate at its customary 15.4% range (well better than the league average of 23.4%) while drawing walks in a career-best 9.0% of his plate appearances. His power production took a slight step back, but Lindor’s 89.9 MPH average exit velocity remained solid.

    Clearly, the Mets aren’t concerned about that slight offensive downturn. They parted with four well-regarded young players (infielders Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez and prospects Isaiah Greene and Josh Wolf) to acquire him and starter Carlos Carrasco from the Indians in January. They’re following that up with one of the largest contracts in MLB history.

    Working out an extension with Lindor has been the Mets’ hope since they acquired him, but it seemed just a few hours ago the star infielder was headed for the free agent market. Lindor had rather definitively stated he wouldn’t negotiate an extension during the regular season, leaving the parties with dwindling time to work out a deal before tomorrow’s season opener. The Mets originally offered a ten-year, $325MM pact, while Lindor came back with a twelve-year, $385MM counterproposal. With the clock ticking, both sides budged a bit from their original asks, although Lindor ultimately relented on the deal’s length more significantly than the Mets did on the money.

    That’s not to say he fared poorly. His deal checks in as the third-largest contract in MLB history in terms of total guarantee. Hardly coincidentally, it tops Fernando Tatís Jr.’s recent $340MM extension with the Padres by the narrowest of margins. The deferred money in Lindor’s deal keeps the contract’s actual value a bit below Tatís’, since none of the latter’s money is deferred. Nevertheless, Lindor picks up a symbolic $1MM more than one of the game’s other top shortstops. By average annual value, meanwhile, Lindor’s $34.1MM comes in sixth all-time. It is also easily the biggest financial outlay in Mets history.

    Keeping one of the sport’s best players and most charismatic people for the next decade is certainly a huge development for the Mets on its own. But the Lindor deal also represents something of a symbolic leap for the organization’s future under new owner Steve Cohen. Under the previous ownership group, the Mets’ payrolls were closer to average than the top-of-the-market range one would expect from a team in New York City. The offseason sale of the franchise to Cohen, MLB’s richest owner, brought hope for Mets fans of a massive uptick in spending.

    New York had an active winter, but they didn’t make a true splash at the top of free agency, to the consternation of some observers. By extending Lindor, the Mets keep one of the top players in next winter’s class off the market. The 2021-22 free agent shortstop class has drawn plenty of attention. It remains loaded, with Corey SeagerTrevor StoryCarlos Correa and Javier Báez all slated for the open market. Lindor was perhaps the face of that group, though, and he carried as much or greater earning power than his peers.

    Because Lindor’s extension begins in 2022, the Mets’ books for the upcoming season are unaffected. The two sides had already agreed to a $22.3MM salary for this season to avoid his final potential trip through arbitration; Lindor will play out the year on that deal. Pushing the extension off a season also keeps the Mets’ competitive balance tax number for 2021 at the same level- around $194MM, in the estimation of Cot’s Baseball Contracts. That leaves New York with about $16MM of breathing room if they wish to stay below the $210MM tax threshold this year.

    Lindor’s deal will count for $34.1MM (a deal’s average annual value is measured for CBT purposes) against the luxury ledger every year from 2022-31, assuming the luxury tax system is still in place under the terms of the next collective bargaining agreement. The deal pushes the Mets’ actual payroll number in 2022 to over $127MM, per Cot’s, with a projected luxury tax number of $135MM. New York will need to shell out another significant outlay (albeit nothing approaching the Lindor range) if they wish to keep star outfielder Michael Conforto from hitting free agency over the offseason. The Mets and Conforto have talked about an extension this spring and could continue those conversations into the season.

    Regardless of what decisions Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson make in the coming months, they’ll be able to build around their new franchise shortstop. In the waning moments before their self-imposed extension deadline, the Mets and Lindor got the deal done.

    Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link) was first to report an agreement had been reached and the deal’s general range, as well as the presence of some deferrals. Anthony DiComo of was first with terms (Twitter link). Andy Martino of SNY (via Twitter) was first to report the existence of a no-trade clause and the absence of opt-out clauses. Bob Nightengale of USA Today was first to report the deal began in 2022 (via Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to report the $50MM in deferrals (Twitter link), as well as the yearly rates (Twitter link) and deferrals (on Twitter) and the fifteen-team no-trade clause (on Twitter).

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Mets, Conforto Extension Talks]]> 2021-04-05T03:01:28Z 2021-04-05T03:01:28Z Extension talks between Michael Conforto and the Mets “have yet to grow serious,” according to’s Anthony DiComo, who also reports that the two sides never got to the point where numbers were exchanged.  An earlier report two weeks ago stated that the Mets made an initial offer to Conforto, though both items aren’t necessarily contradictory — it could be that the Mets never got an official counter-offer back from Conforto’s representatives at the Boras Corporation, or perhaps the Mets’ offer was more exploratory in nature.  Regardless, it remains to be seen if any negotiating will take place before Conforto hits the free agent market after the season.  The outfielder told DiComo, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, and other reporters today that he was “not interested in really talking about” the subject any further, and agent Scott Boras told Davidoff in a text message that “as is the custom when the season begins, [we are] focusing on the performance of the players.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Mets Discussed Extension With Jacob deGrom In Spring Training]]> 2021-04-04T16:54:36Z 2021-04-04T16:48:32Z The Mets engaged in preliminary extension talks with ace Jacob deGrom during Spring Training, reports Andy Martino of SNY. Discussions did not get very far and are not expected to continue during the regular season, Martino adds.

    With talks now on hold, it certainly doesn’t appear as if another long-term deal between deGrom and the Mets is coming in the near future. There’s not a whole lot of urgency, though. The two-time Cy Young award winner previously signed an extension in March 2019. That deal could keep deGrom in Queens through 2024 but affords him the opportunity to opt out after the 2022 season. The 32-year-old is slated for successive salaries of $36MM in each of the next two years (with some of that money deferred). If deGrom doesn’t opt out two years from now, he’d make $30.5MM in 2023, while the Mets would have to decide on a 2024 club option valued at $32.5MM.

    While it’s certainly possible the Mets and deGrom revisit extension talks next winter, the financial picture for the organization has changed significantly in recent days. On Wednesday night, the Mets agreed to a ten-year, $341MM extension with shortstop Francisco Lindor that covers the 2022-31 seasons. That pushed the Mets’ 2022 payroll commitments over $127MM, in the estimation of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

    More meaningfully in the context of a potential deGrom extension, New York already has in excess of $100MM on the books for 2023. That takes the form of salaries for Lindor ($34.5MM), deGrom ($30.5MM), Robinson Canó ($20.25MM), James McCann ($12.125MM) and Taijuan Walker ($6MM player option), as well as a $3MM buyout on Carlos Carrasco’s $14MM club option. deGrom opting out after 2022 would remove his salary from that ledger but would obviously require the Mets to make another significant investment if they want to keep him in the fold.

    The Mets have a few more pressing decisions to make in the coming months. Michael ConfortoNoah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman are all scheduled for free agency after this season. New York discussed an extension with Conforto during Spring Training. Those talks could continue into the regular season but it seems there’s still quite the gap to close if they’re to keep the productive outfielder off the open market.

    Steve Cohen is the game’s wealthiest owner and has already pushed the Mets’ player payroll well above the previous ownership group’s recent limits. It remains to be seen how much further Cohen is willing to go and how team president Sandy Alderson chooses to allocate those resources in an attempt to build a perennial contender around Lindor.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Nationals’ Covid-19 Testing]]> 2021-04-03T23:10:21Z 2021-04-03T15:30:17Z TODAY: The Nationals have no new positive cases from their latest round of testing, per the Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter). The Nationals continue to work towards hosting the Braves on Monday, but no official announcement has yet been made.

    4:55pm: Three Nationals players have tested positive, and the Nats are awaiting another test from a player that is likely positive, Rizzo told Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic and other reporters (Twitter link). Rizzo said one of those players has a fever, but the rest are asymptomatic. The entire team is now self-quarantining, Nightengale tweets. It’s unclear whether the Nats and Mets will play at all this weekend.

    10:45am: Despite a previously scheduled off-day on Friday, the Nats and Mets will not make up their game tomorrow, tweets Olney. Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears the same, adding that the league prefers to exercise extreme caution, particularly given that the additional early off-days in the schedule and the two teams’ geographic proximity makes it easier to reschedule the opener.

    USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Nats are awaiting official confirmation from a follow-up test, but initial results from the latest wave of tests did reveal a second positive among their players.

    10:15am: Tonight’s season-opening contest between the Nationals and the Mets has been postponed due to Covid-19 related issues, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link). The Nats were known to be down five players as of yesterday, due to one positive test from a player and five close contacts (four players, one staffer).

    Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said yesterday that his club was expecting to make a series of corresponding roster moves and play as scheduled. That, apparently, will not be the case. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets that there are concerns about “at least one more” positive test among the Nationals this morning.

    The names of the player or players who tested positive aren’t known, although some of the roster moves that had been planned by the Nationals had come to light. The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reported last night that outfielder Yadiel Hernandez, infielder Luis Garcia and lefty Sam Clay were all ticketed for the Majors (Twitter links), while FanSided’s Robert Murray added that catcher Tres Barrera was in line to be added to the big league club as well.

    Under the league’s 2021 health and safety protocols, an individual who tests positive is subject to a 10-day quarantine period, while close contacts are subject to seven-day quarantines. The first positive test for the Nationals came Monday morning, although the result wasn’t learned by the club until early Wednesday.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: New York Mets]]> 2021-04-03T02:37:46Z 2021-04-03T02:37:46Z Mets fans had high hopes when Steve Cohen, now the wealthiest owner in Major League Baseball, officially took over for the much-maligned Wilpons in November. They shouldn’t be disappointed with the results so far.

    Major League Signings

    Trades And Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings


    Notable Losses

    After purchasing the franchise for $2.4 billion, one of Cohen’s first orders of business was to retool the Mets’ front office. That meant bringing back former general manager Sandy Alderson as team president, parting with previous GM Brodie Van Wagenen and hiring ex-Red Sox, Cubs and Diamondbacks executive Jared Porter to replace him.

    Based on what Porter accomplished with those clubs, giving him a prominent role looked like a reasonable move, but it couldn’t have gone worse for the Mets. Just over a month after the Mets appointed Porter, they fired him in light of allegations that he sexually harassed a female reporter when he was with the Cubs. They subsequently named another offseason hire and former Red Sox executive, Zack Scott, as their acting GM.

    If you take away the front office ugliness, which is certainly hard to do, it was a productive offseason for an organization trying to escape a four-year playoff drought. Once Cohen grabbed the reins, expectations were that the Mets would spend at the top of the free-agent market, though that ultimately didn’t come to fruition despite efforts to sign elite free agents such as right-hander Trevor Bauer, center fielder George Springer and catcher J.T. Realmuto.

    Even though they lost out on top-class free agents, the Mets were quite active on the open market, where they addressed several areas of need. Their biggest pickup in terms of dollars was catcher James McCann, who parlayed a terrific 2019-20 run with the White Sox into a four-year, $40.6MM guarantee. It’s fair to be skeptical of the 30-year-old McCann, who wasn’t all that effective as a Tiger from 2018-20, though he did enter this past winter’s market as the consensus No. 2 catcher available because of his performance in Chicago. Mets fans surely would have preferred for their team to land Realmuto, who wound up re-signing with the division-rival Phillies on a five-year, $115.5MM pact, but he didn’t put pen to paper until late January, and Alderson indicated that the Mets weren’t willing to wait around for JTR to make a decision. They now have McCann, who signed in mid-December, and Tomas Nido as the top two backstops on their roster.

    The Mets didn’t fare as well – at least on paper – in center, where they didn’t add Springer or Jackie Bradley Jr. They instead signed stopgaps Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. for a combined $6.25MM. Neither is a surefire everyday player for the Mets, who can still regularly deploy Brandon Nimmo at the position alongside Michael Conforto in right and Dominic Smith in left. The Nimmo-Conforto-Smith alignment is the Mets’ best outfield bet in terms of offense, though they’ll be sacrificing some defensive ability when they turn to those three. Pillar isn’t the defensive marvel he was earlier in his career, though he’s still competent in the grass and as a hitter, while Almora earned plus marks in center as a Cub from 2016-20.

    As for starting pitching, while there’s no Bauer – for whom the Mets finished as runners-up to the Dodgers – they weren’t inactive in that aspect of free agency. The Mets retained Marcus Stroman, who accepted their $18.9MM qualifying offer after sitting out 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns, and signed former Mariner, Diamondback and Blue Jay Taijuan Walker to a reasonable three-year, $23MM deal. Neither will pitch to the Cy Young level that Bauer did last year, but Stroman’s an established mid-rotation starter and Walker has looked like one at times. That wasn’t all for the Mets’ newly made starting staff, which swung separate trades for longtime Indians standout Carlos Carrasco and former Padres southpaw Joey Lucchesi.

    The plan was for Carrasco to join Stroman, Walker, ace Jacob deGrom and either Lucchesi or David Peterson in the Mets’ rotation as they await the return of Noah Syndergaard from Tommy John surgery, but Carrasco suffered a hamstring tear last month that could keep him out until at least May. Syndergaard may be back within a few weeks after that, which will perhaps give the Mets a rather formidable rotation down the stretch. If all goes according to plan, there should at least be quite a bit of depth – something New York’s rotation has lacked in recent years.

    Of course, Carrasco certainly was not the headlining piece in the deal that transferred him from Cleveland to New York in early January. Rather, the trade centered on superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was down to his last year of team control – in which he’ll earn $22.3MM – and was not going to sign an extension with Cleveland.

    With no chance to retain him for the long haul, the Indians sold one season of Lindor for a package of young players – Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Josh Wolf and Isiah Greene. Rosario and Gimenez were very promising prospects for the Mets in recent years, but trading them, Wolf and Greene for Lindor made sense for the club – especially if it was confident it could prevent Lindor from testing the free-agent market next winter. The 27-year-old four-time All-Star was in line to become arguably the leading player in the 2021-22 class when the Mets acquired him, so they took a risk when they made the trade.

    As of a few days ago, there was little optimism Lindor and the Mets would hammer out an extension by his April 1 deadline, but the Cohen-led club found a way. At the proverbial 11th hour of negotiations, the Mets agreed to a 10-year, $341MM deal with Lindor – by far the largest contract in Mets history and one that counts as the third-biggest guarantee MLB has seen. It’s the type of exorbitant signing that would not have occurred during the Wilpons’ reign atop the Mets.

    Thanks in part to Lindor’s entrance, the addition of McCann and their aforementioned outfield, the Mets are heading into the season with an offense that looks tough on paper. Granted, the unit will be without second baseman Robinson Cano, who thrived in 2020 – his second year as a Met – because of a 162-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. The silver lining is that the Mets won’t have to pay Cano the $20.25MM they would have owed him for this year, but it will hurt to lose him based on last season’s output.

    Cano’s temporary exit aside, the club will still welcome back first baseman Pete Alonso, second baseman Jeff McNeil and third baseman J.D. Davis as starters. All three can hit, though the Mets did show interest in replacing Davis during the offseason when they pursued Justin Turner and DJ LeMahieu in free agency and considered trading for the Cubs’ Kris Bryant. Turner and LeMahieu re-signed with the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively, while the Cubs didn’t trade Bryant. However, as an impending free agent, Bryant’s among those who could interest the Mets if they’re still looking to upgrade at third during the summer.

    The Mets should score their fair share of runs with this cast of hitters, but whether their bullpen will be able to lock down leads late in games is another question. New York added former Twin Trevor May and Aaron Loup, previously a Ray, in free agency. The two of them carry quality track records, though it’s debatable whether those pickups will be enough for a team that will begin the season without Seth Lugo after he underwent bone spur surgery in the middle of February.  As far as healthy holdovers go, the Mets will need another big year out of closer Edwin Diaz, who rebounded tremendously from a disastrous 2019, and it’s imperative that Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman bounce back. Those three have put together solid big league careers, but it’s no sure thing they will provide the Mets decent or better production this year.

    Although neither the Mets nor their fans checked off every item on their wish list during the offseason, the team nonetheless looks demonstrably superior to the one that finished the abbreviated 2020 campaign with a horrid 26-34 mark. Thanks in part to their winter transactions, the Mets should push for a playoff spot this year, and they appear capable of ending the Braves’ three-year run atop the National League East.

    How would you grade the Mets’ offseason? (Poll link for app users)


    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals-Mets Series Postponed]]> 2021-04-02T17:36:09Z 2021-04-02T17:16:52Z 12:16pm: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo tells reporters that the fourth suspected positive has indeed been confirmed (Twitter links via Jesse Dougherty and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). The organization currently has 10 individuals in quarantine: the four positive cases and six (five players, one staff member) impacted by contact tracing.

    11:23am: Major League Baseball announced Friday that it is postponing the entire weekend series between the Nationals and the Mets to allow for additional testing and contact tracing in the wake of multiple positive Covid-19 tests among the Nationals’ roster. At least three Nationals players tested positive leading up to Opening Day, and the team is said to be awaiting definitive word on what it believes is a fourth positive test.

    It would appear, then, that the Mets’ season opener will be pushed back to Monday in Philadelphia. It’s not clear when the Nationals will get underway at this time. The league’s press release indicates only that it will “continue to provide scheduling updates as available.” At the moment, the Nationals are scheduled to host the Braves in a three-game series beginning Monday before traveling to the West Coast to take on the Dodgers next Friday.

    Under the league’s 2021 health and safety protocols, an individual who tests positive is subject to a 10-day quarantine period, while close contacts are subject to seven-day quarantines. The first positive test for the Nationals came Monday morning, although the result wasn’t learned by the club until early Wednesday. Details surrounding the additional positives and potential absences — including the identity of the players in question — remain unclear.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets, Francisco Lindor At Impasse In Extension Talks]]> 2021-04-01T03:29:24Z 2021-04-01T02:36:34Z March 31, 9:36 pm: There haven’t been any new discussions or proposals between the sides, hears Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Mets have not come off their $325MM offer, while Lindor is holding firm with an ask “more than $50MM” greater than that.

    March 31, 10:15 am: The stalemate remains in place this morning, tweets Thosar, who adds that neither side expects additional discussions at the moment. Optimism of a deal being reached today is currently low. One source tells Newsday’s Tim Healey: “No talks and none expected.”

    March 30: 10:14 pm: The Mets’ $325MM offer does not contain any deferred money, Heyman hears (Twitter link). Lindor is holding firm on his $385MM ask, Heyman adds.

    12:07 pm: Cohen commented on the negotations via his Twitter account, sayingI have made a great offer [to Lindor].  It does take two to tango.”  Another tweet praised the shortstop, saying “Lindor is a heckuva player and a great guy . I hope he decides to sign.”

    10:24 am: The Mets and Francisco Lindor appear to be at something of a standstill, with reports from SNY’s Andy Martino and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman last night indicating that the team put forth a 10-year, $325MM offer. Newsday’s Tim Healey, meanwhile reported that Lindor’s camp countered at $385MM over 12 years.

    Martino reports this morning that while there’s some pessimism from the Mets, they’re also “brainstorming” some creative options to try to get a deal across the finish line. The Mets, according to Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, were rather surprised by Lindor’s recent counteroffer. Thosar reports that the Lindor camp at one point suggested that the extension could check in below Mookie Betts’ 12-year, $365MM deal with the Dodgers.

    Lindor’s $385MM asking price would be the largest commitment ever made to a player in terms of new money tacked onto a deal. That title currently is held by Betts and his $365MM deal with the Dodgers, which narrowly eclipsed the 10 years and $360MM the Angels added to Mike Trout’s contract on his last extension (bringing his total commitment from the Angels to $426.5MM over 12 years.) San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. has the largest contract ever signed by a shortstop, recently agreeing to a 14-year, $340MM extension.

    Like Betts, Lindor is heading into his age-27 season with a hefty arbitration salary already agreed upon ($22.3MM, in this case). His new contract would begin in his age-28 season, as was the case with Betts in Los Angeles. It’s not exactly surprising that Lindor’s camp would seek to top the Betts mark — thus giving them claim to the largest extension in MLB history — but at this point it seems as though the two sides are at an impasse with regard to contract length.

    In terms of average annual value, the Mets’ current offer is actually slightly higher than the reported counteroffer. At the very least, it seems the two sides can align on an annual value in the $32MM range. The most straightforward compromise could be simply adding a year at that rate, but Thosar adds that the Mets have not shown a willingness to meet in the middle, which aligns with prior reports that the $325MM figure is the team’s “final” offer.

    From a long-term payroll vantage point, the Mets can certainly afford to make such a commitment. New owner Steve Cohen is the game’s wealthiest owner, but even beyond that fact, the team’s payroll is fairly clean. They owe Robinson Cano a regrettable $20.25MM in 2022 and 2023 — the Mariners are covering $3.75MM of his $24MM salary each year — but their only long-term salaries of note beyond Cano are those of Jacob deGrom and James McCann. They’ll owe deGrom $33.5MM in 2022 and $30.5MM in 2023 before deciding on a $32MM club option for 2024. McCann, meanwhile, is owed $8MM both in 2021 and 2022 before earning $12MM in 2023 and 2024.

    All told, the Mets have about $93MM in guaranteed salary on the 2022 books at the moment. That number falls to about $70MM in 2023, and McCann’s $12MM salary is the only money they have firmly committed to the 2024 roster. Signing Lindor to an extension of any length wouldn’t considerably impede the team’s efforts to build out the roster in the coming years, although that of course doesn’t mean they should simply hand him a blank check. Any negotiation has its cutoff point, and the Mets appear at or quite close to theirs. Given that they’re also hoping to lock up Michael Conforto and surely want to keep deGrom in a Mets uniform for his whole career, there are some other balls in the air that must be considered by Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson.

    The outcome of talks between Lindor and the Mets will have a much broader reach than Citi Field or even the NL East, however. Lindor is currently slated to headline a historic crop of free-agent shortstops next winter — really, a historic crop of free agents in general. If he agrees to forgo that trip to the open market, it’d create less competition for the likes of Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Javier Baez, and it would free the Mets up to focus their free-agent efforts on other areas right out of the gate.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Talks Between Mets, Michael Conforto]]> 2021-03-31T20:29:44Z 2021-03-31T20:28:50Z The chances of the Mets extending shortstop Francisco Lindor before his deadline on Thursday appear slim. In further unwelcome news for the Mets, it also doesn’t look as if they’ll prevent outfielder Michael Conforto from reaching free agency next winter.

    While Conforto hasn’t set a season-opening deadline for negotiations, the Boras Corporation client and the Mets never came close to reaching an extension during spring training, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. As a result, “there is a much better chance” that Conforto will test free agency than not after the season, according to Puma.

    As things stand, Conforto looks as if he’ll reach the open market as one of the premier hitters available. Conforto, who just turned 28 on March 1, has been a consistently above-average offensive player and sometimes a force since he debuted in 2015. The former 10th overall pick owns a lifetime line of .259/.358/.484 (127 wRC+) with 118 home runs across 2,501 plate appearances. Last year, albeit just a 60-game campaign, was the best yet on a per-PA basis for Conforto, who took 233 trips to the plate and slashed .322/.412/.515 with nine homers. He benefited from an unsustainable .412 batting average on balls in play – up 107 points from his career .305 mark – but still posted an elite .401 expected weighted on-base average and finished 13th in the majors in wRC+ (157).

    Along with his offensive prowess, Conforto has shown himself to be a competent defender in the bigs. While he has been out of place in center field (minus-15 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-4.3 Ultimate Zone Rating), it has been a much different story in the corners. Between left and right, Conforto has notched 17 DRS and a 9.6 UZR in just over 3,700 innings of work.

    Considering Conforto’s well-rounded game, not to mention his relative youth, he should do rather well on his next deal. A deal worth $100MM or more may be within reach if he continues to produce this year, but it remains to be seen if it will be New York or another club that ponies up for him.