NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You can sense the skepticism rising in Mets fans.
They are used to rumors, but also not enough yearly action from ownership to appease their hearty appetites.
Reports have been rampant this offseason about what new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen hopes to accomplish to fix a team that is two-plus years removed from a playoff appearance and trending downward. The Mets’ holes are many and, right now, the solutions are few.
But, they are believed to be engaged in discussions on many fronts.
To have a legitimate shot at the playoffs in 2019, the Mets will likely need several relievers, another big bat and a catcher. Because they need so many pieces, speculation continues that Noah Syndergaard, New York’s top trade chip, has pitched his last game with the franchise. Several teams have expressed interest in the 26-year-old right-hander, but the Mets have made it clear they’d prefer to get ready-made MLB parts in a deal, instead of simply a collection of prospects.
And if the Mets do trade Syndergaard, the move will leave a gaping hole in their rotation, one that another trade or free agency would be forced to fix. Some of the better arms on the open market include J.A. Happ and Nathan Eovaldi, but they are reportedly sought after by several teams. The New York Post is reporting the Mets have had internal discussions about veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who is also a free agent.
As for adding relievers, it is something that absolutely has to happen. The Mets are reportedly interested in free agents Andrew Miller, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino, each of whom would go a long way toward lowering the bullpen’s awful 4.96 ERA from this past season.
Miller, 33, remains one of the best lefty relievers in the game, and can be used in several different capacities. His slider makes him difficult against both lefties and righties. Britton, 30, is just a few years removed from being one the game’s top closers and he showed signs of getting back to that level in 2018, though he struggled with his control from time to time after the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline from the Baltimore Orioles. Ottavino, who turned 33 on Nov. 22, is coming off a career season with the Colorado Rockies, going 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 75 appearances.
The slugger to add to a lineup that scored just 676 runs in 2018? Well, the Post is reporting Van Wagenen has substantial interest in outfielder Bryce Harper, arguably the top free agent available. However, the belief is owner Fred Wilpon may not be too keen on the idea of adding a potential $300 million contract to the payroll. Harper likely will get his money from someone, but it feels like a reach that team will be the Mets.
Then there’s the curious case of Robinson Cano. Reports were plenty on Tuesday saying the Seattle Mariners had spoken to the Mets about potentially acquiring the veteran second baseman, who is still one of the better defensive and run-producing middle infielders in the sport. The problem is Cano is 36, is still owed $120 million over the next five seasons and has baggage, after being suspended 80 games this past season for performance-enhancing drugs.
On the catching front, SNY reported the Mets might try to swing a deal with the Cleveland Indians for Yan Gomes, who batted .266 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 2018. Another option, according to the Post, could be free agent Martin Maldonado, who played a combined 119 games last season for the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros, but is known more for his defensive prowess.