The winter meetings come to a close on Thursday, and barring any late day transactions, the Mets have taken only very small steps towards preparing for the 2018 season.
Wednesday’s signing of Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14 million deal checks off a top priority on Sandy Alderson’s shopping list, but that’s just one of the many roster holes remaining. Second base, third base, an extra outfield, and depth starting pitching all should be addressed if the team plans on returning to the playoffs.
Despite a number of significant moves over the past few days, the free agent pool and trade market remain full of viable options for the Mets, and the team has been connected to almost all but the costliest available players. Here are the top players the Mets have shown interest in that would be the best fit for the team:
Todd Frazier, 1B/3B - Back in October, Brian Erni and I discussed how Frazier fits for this team; he hits for power, plays plus defense at multiple positions of need, draws walks, and is known as a great clubhouse guy.
The Mets have reportedly been, “curious if not aggressive on Frazier,” who could not only upgrade an infield defense that was terrible last season, but also spell Dom Smith at first if the young lefty slugger struggles. New York is one of many teams reportedly in on Frazier, which could drive up his asking price, but he should still be an affordable add for the team.
Jason Kipnis, 2B - Ian Kinsler was traded to the Angels on Wednesday, which takes one more available player off the Mets radar. So they’ll have to move on, and it should be to Kipnis. His trade value is as low as it’s likely ever been for Cleveland, as he was plagued by injuries throughout the 2017 season and slashed just .232/.291/.414, which is a significant drop from his previous two seasons.
Coupled with the emergence of All-Star Jose Ramirez, Kipnis is suddenly an expendable piece for the Tribe. At just 30-years-old and under team control for another three years, Kipnis would be a huge get for a team that hasn’t had a consistent second baseman the past two seasons.
Josh Harrison, 2B - Harrison is another interesting trade option at second, and may come cheaper than Kipnis. His defense is significantly better than both Asdrubal Cabrera’s (and Kipnis’, for that matter), and he provides a decent amount of power and speed that would add some much-needed juice to the bottom half of the Mets order.
Harrison also has a reputation as a good clubhouse guy and can play multiple positions in a pinch, which could cause the Mets, who value versatility, to be drawn more in his direction.
Jay Bruce, OF/1B - There appears to be mutual interest in a Mets/Bruce reunion, but Bruce is reportedly asking for a five-year deal in the range of $80-to-90 million, while the Mets would be more comfortable with a three-year deal.
Still, Bruce, who is well-liked by the franchise and its fans, hit 36 homeruns last year and enjoyed his time in New York. A return to Queens remains a distinct possibility.
Addison Reed, RP - It was falsely reported on Tuesday that Reed had signed a three-year contract with Philadelphia, so he still remains on the market. Though Sandy admitted that a bullpen arm is no longer a priority after the Swarzak signing, the Mets could still use another late-inning pitcher to improve a huge weak spot from 2017.
Reed was fantastic with the Mets, as he posted a 2.09 ERA and 1.014 WHIP with the team before getting shipped to the Red Sox at the 2017 deadline. If Reed remains available as the Winter continues, it would behoove the Mets to add one more reliever to help hold leads in the late innings.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.