The Mets offseason isn’t done yet. New York made the biggest of winter MLB trades when they acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco on Thursday, but they have plenty more work to do with this roster.
Already poised to contend, Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen are reportedly still in the market for big name additions. Reports since the Lindor trade was announced claim the Mets could yet land a premier free agent.
There is still a question about the outfield. You can never have enough starters. Maybe the bullpen gets another established arm to join recently signed Trevor May.
Here are three free agents the Mets should target in what remains of this slow offseason.
What a story it is for Liam Hendriks. Unclaimed on waivers one year, an All-Star the next, Hendriks heads into free agency expecting a big contract, and understandably so. He’s been a high-leverage monster for the Athletics since the start of 2019 with a 1.79 ERA, the most WAR from any reliever and the 11th-highest fastball velocity.
Throwing money at the ‘pen doesn’t necessarily fix it. The Colorado Rockies have shown that. Hendriks’ price will be very high, too, so this isn’t a no brainer.
The Jacob deGrom, Carrasco, Marcus Stroman front three is strong. Noah Syndergaard should return midway through the season. Rotation depth is still an issue, however, and if the Mets are willing to spend big in free agency, signing Jake Odorizzi has to be considered. He’s one of the best starters on the market.
There are cheaper arms on the board. James Paxton, Jose Quintana or J.A. Happ would all command fewer dollars, though none have the All-Star upside of Odorizzi. Taking deGrom, Stroman, Syndergaard, Carrasco and Odorizzi into August and September would potentially give the Mets the best rotation in the game.
The Braves have delved into the pool of free agent pitchers. Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton were good pickups for their division rivals. Carrasco was far more than a throw-in in the Lindor trade. There should still be a desire to add to the rotation, though. If Trevor Bauer is too costly, Odorizzi could be their guy.
The Mets’ bullpen was subpar. While the Lindor trade elevates them to legitimate contention, the bullpen is still a bit of a concern. Edwin Diaz is yet to get close to the pitcher he was in Seattle. Kirby Yates does not entirely address those concerns – Yates was a non-factor in 2020 and he’s heading into his age-34 season.
There are safer options out there, but if the Mets are willing to roll the dice on a one-year deal, Yates could be a great pick up. He’s only one season removed from leading MLB in saves and getting Cy Young votes.
A journeyman career came together with the Padres. Surgery to remove bone spurs might put some front offices off, but the Mets have the deep pockets to take a flier on Yates.