NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brodie Van Wagenen may not be done revamping the Mets’ 2019 lineup.
Now that the rookie general manager has added right-handed pop with the signing of catcher Wilson Ramos, he might be in the market for another lefty bat, in addition to a lefty reliever.
According to the New York Post, the Mets may pursue free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas. However, it’s unclear how much additional payroll Van Wagenen is allowed to add. The Ramos signing — two years for $19 million with a third-year option — has pushed New York’s payroll near $150 million for next season, which is around $5 million less than what it had last season prior to a sell-off at the trade deadline.
Speaking at the Ramos press conference on Tuesday, Van Wagenen said he has some budget flexibility, but didn’t reveal how much.
“I am not going to give specifics of what it can go up to, but we do have the ability to take on additional payroll,” Van Wagenen said. “We are hoping and expecting that (Yoenis) Cespedes will come back and be another impact right-handed bat for us. Being able to have (Ramos) be the middle guy that can keep us a little bit above water on that side of the plate until Cespedes comes back, we’ll look at all options, but it’s a little premature to determine if we will be limited to right-handed or left-handed or outfield at all given the presence of (Jeff) McNeil on the roster.”
Mike Puma of the Post suggested that the signing of Moustakas would allow the Mets to move Todd Frazier across the diamond and incorporate top prospect Peter Alonso at first base as well.
Moustakas, who turned 30 in September, has plenty of power, as he had a combined 28 home runs and 95 RBIs last season for Kansas City and Milwaukee. Over eight MLB seasons, Moustakas, a two-time All-Star, has a .251 average, 147 homers and 474 RBIs.
As for the reliever the Mets could target, free agent lefties Andrew Miller and Zach Britton are still available, but have drawn interest from multiple teams. Van Wagenen would not commit to actively pursuing either, but did say he thinks with the moves he’s made to this point, including the trade for second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz, plus the signing of veteran reliever Jeurys Familia, the Mets may just be the team to beat in the NL East.
“Internally, we would argue that we’re the favorites in the division right now,” Van Wagenen told SNY.