Last December, more than two dozen present and former Mets players filed into the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz., to celebrate their teammate Michael Conforto’s wedding. The party, they said, was a memorable one. Since that time, most Mets have shied away from contact with Conforto, understanding the sensitivity of his situation as baseball’s most prominent remaining free agent. He is the only unsigned free agent that Fangraphs projects for more than a single Win Above Replacement in 2022.
“Obviously a confusing time [for him], probably a frustrating time,” said Conforto’s longtime teammate, Brandon Nimmo. “I’m just wishing him the best.”
Conforto only has himself to blame for remaining unsigned. In 2021 he turned down a longterm deal with the Mets, had a subpar 2021 season and still turned down a QO by the Mets because he expected that some dumb GM would sign him to a $100M-plus deal this offseason. I say at best he gets a 2-to-3 year deal no more than $50M at this point.
Can’t imagine what all those unvaccinated people who lost their jobs over mandates are going through once they read this news about athletes and performers getting exceptions.
First baseman Pete Alonso and the New York Mets are in agreement on a one-year, $7.4 million contract to avoid arbitration, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Alonso, 27, is coming off a season in which he led the Mets in every major batting category: hits (147), home runs (37), RBIs (94), batting average (.262) and on-base percentage (.344).
Even with the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Pete Alonso has hit 106 HR’s for the Mets in 3 seasons. If he stays healthy and continues to put up 30 to 40 HRs a year, I can see a $300M long-term deal in the near future.
Conforto already turned down a $100M deal from the Mets last year and now there’s all this talk about re-signing him to a 1-year deal because he’s still out there on the free agent market and there’s only 3 weeks left until the regular season starts. But screw that. While Conforto always gives 100 percent in the field and is an above-average right-fielder, he’s also way too streaky a player who had awful season last year. So while I understand the sentiment many Mets fans feel about bringing Conforto back home, if Brandon Nimmo can finally stay healthy and we get a big year from Dom Smith, with the new additions of Marte and Hanra, I think that we’ll be fine in the outfield.
With options on the free-agent starting pitching market thin, the Mets on Saturday opted for a trade. In another “win now” move, the team acquired right-hander Chris Bassitt from the Athletics for pitching prospects J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller, sources confirmed. The move gave the Mets their second new rotation piece, joining Max Scherzer.
Bassitt, 33, went 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 27 starts last season, which included his first career All-Star appearance.
This is definitely a ‘win now’ move because Bassist is in his walk year, which while giving him extra motivation to pitch well in 2022, doesn’t bode well for the Mets longterm. Either way, this trade relives me of my biggest concern which was acquiring a quality 3rd starter and makes me more excited for the season.
SNY’s Andy Martino first reported that the Mets showed interest in Kikuchi prior to the lockout and that the southpaw was a “possibility” as both sides had dialogue in November. And MLB writer Mike Marino initially said the Mets are expected to “go hard” for Kikuchi after the lockout ends.
Kikuchi, 30, would be an ideal fit in the Mets’ rotation as a high upside, innings-eater that throws in the upper-90s. He would also project as the lone lefty of the group and is a versatile option that could potentially serve in a long relief role if needed to do so at any point.
While the Mets do desperately need a 3rd starter, Kikuchi’s second-half last year does really worry me. And again, I think the Mets should pursue Zack Greinke.
The Mets have hired Elizabeth Benn as director of major league operations, making her the franchise’s highest-ranking female baseball operations employee ever. Benn has worked for Major League Baseball since finishing a master’s degree in philosophy at Columbia in 2017. She has had roles in youth programs, labor relations and baseball operations with the league.
Several women hold prominent roles in front offices across the male-dominated sport, including Marlins general manager Kim Ng. The crosstown Yankees have had two women serve as assistant general managers in Ng and Jean Afterman.
All this noise about the Mets making ‘history’ by hiring a female Director of Baseball Operations and I honestly could care less. I mean, good for her. But the only thing I care about is if she’s qualified to help my team win its first World championship in 36 years. If she is, great. If she isn’t and she’s just here to check off a quota box, then she shouldn’t have the job.
Can any of these media heads interview a manager these days without bringing up analytics???
Even with an outfield that already includes Marte, Canha and Brandon Nimmo, new manager Buck Showalter acknowledged that the team has considered making another addition to the outfield. In an appearance on The Michael Kay Show Thursday, ESPN‘s Buster Olney delivered perhaps an even more concerning development for the Phillies:
“This was the most interesting thing that I heard. There’s a perception in the industry that Freddie Freeman is not going back to the Braves,” Olney said. “Last summer, that was assumed, like ‘Yeah, eventually he’ll go back there.’ Now, they don’t believe that, and here’s an interesting thing. One of the teams that checked in on the Freddie Freeman availability before December 2 were the Mets.” Freeman has spent his entire 12-year career with the Atlanta Braves to this point, making five All-Star teams, winning the 2020 NL MVP and helping the franchise to capture the 2021 World Series title.
First of all, the Braves would be fools to let a perennial All-Star like Freeman go. Secondly, we already have a pretty good 1st baseman and I can’t imagine what acquiring Freeman (who’s a better defensive player) and forcing him to move to DH, would do to Pete Alonso’s psyche. Lastly, the Mets are better off going after a 3rd starter and Kris Bryant, not Freeman who in all intents and purposes would most likely be signed by the Dodgers if he’s really going anywhere.
Additional players almost certainly will be added to the Mets roster once the lockout concludes, and manager Buck Showalter acknowledged Friday that another outfielder could be a consideration.
The Mets already signed free agents Starling Marte and Mark Canha this offseason to join Brandon Nimmo in the outfield, but beyond that there is haziness: Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil can play the outfield, but are also trade candidates.
We need Castillo. But I’d only trade Vientos and McNeil if there’s a guarantee that we sign Kris Bryant afterwards.
Bench coach was the last major hole remaining on the Mets’ coaching staff, and now they’ve got someone on the case.
The team is expected to hire Glenn Sherlock — who was a former minor league catcher and Mets’ coach under Terry Collins and Mickey Callaway — to be Buck Showalter’s top confidant in the dugout. Sherlock was also a coach in the Yankees’ and Diamondbacks’ organizations while Showalter was managing there.
This lockout is really working wonders on what makes news nowadays as all this coaching news of late has gotten way too much attention.