Dec 07

Mets Face Competition For Zobrist

If the Mets really want Ben Zobrist, they might have to give in on that fourth year as there’s a growing line of suitors for the versatile infielder, who, by the way, is an accomplished hitter who can also play the outfielder.

The reported dollars start around $50 million and he’s looking for four years. The Mets want three, and in what should be regarded as bluffing more than anything else, say they could still re-sign Daniel Murphy.

Reports have the Giants having interest, but where he’ll play is the question. They could stick him in left, but their infield is set. I doubt he’ll want to go there just to be a role player, but if Zobrist wants to win the Giants will get his consideration.

The Mets will also get competition from the Washington Nationals, and Zobrist would bring some stability and professionalism to their dysfunctional clubhouse. I also don’t need to remind you the Nationals have deeper pockets than the Mets.

One report recently had the Dodgers showing interest, but they just signed Chase Utley. That signing should also preclude the Dodgers as a potential landing spot for Murphy.

The Yankees continually say they aren’t in the market for Zobrist, but I’ll never discount their propensity for bluffing.

Meanwhile, the Angels, White Sox, Indians and Orioles could all use a second baseman. Of the four, the Angels appear the most willing to write the big check.

ON DECK: Potential landing spots for Murphy.

 

Dec 02

Mets To Tender Contract To Mejia

One of the Mets’ most intriguing contract questions will be answered today when they are expected to tender reliever Jenrry Mejia a contract.

Mejia, who is serving his second suspension, will miss the first 100 games of the 2016 season. The 26-year-old Mejia was to earn $2.595 million last year, but only earned a prorated portion for the three weeks he played.

MEJIA: To be offered contract. (AP)

MEJIA: To be offered contract. (AP)

By virtue of the collective bargaining agreement, arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts must get at least 80 percent of their previous year’s salary, which would be $2.076 million in Mejia’s case. However, considering the time Mejia missed because of suspension, and the time he will miss next year, that figure according to ESPN will be about $1 million.

Of course, the Mets can offer whatever they want, and because their bullpen needs, it makes sense to keep Mejia around in hope he turns himself around.

Also no-brainers among the Mets’ arbitration-eligible players that will be tendered contracts are Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda And Jeurys Familia.

Because of their bullpen holes, I also expect the Mets to tender set-up reliever Addison Reed and relievers Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin.

However, remaining a question is shortstop Ruben Tejada, who made $1.88 million last year. Tejada would make a good insurance policy if his recovery from a broken leg sustained in the NL Division Series heals properly.

If they cut Tejada loose, it would mean confidence in Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds. The conventional wisdom in keeping with those three is predicated on the Mets not re-signing Daniel Murphy.

There still remains the possibility of the Mets signing free agent Ben Zobrist.

 

Nov 23

Not Buying Murphy Return

There were several articles last week claiming the Mets still would attempt to bring back Daniel Murphy, who rejected a $15.8-million qualifying offer. The reports said the Mets would make a sincere run at Murphy, who might bite on an offer that isn’t necessarily the highest.

Nearly everything I’ve read said the Mets might still make an offer because of Murphy’s affection for the team and New York. But, are those really good enough reasons? If that was the case, their decision would be based more on sentimentality than talent.

MURPHY: Still in play for Mets?  (Getty)

MURPHY: Still in play for Mets? (Getty)

The reported market for Murphy is $50 million over four years. The qualifying offer entitles the Mets to a compensatory draft pick plus the right to keep negotiating. It does not signal the Mets’ desire to keep him because they think he’s part of their future.

We don’t know what Murphy is seeking and what the Mets are willing to offer. The only numbers we know of are of the speculative nature.

We also know Murphy is 30 years old, so this will likely be his final shot at the brass ring. I can’t see him leaving money on the table to go back to a team that never had him on the top of their pecking order.

Murphy also hit 14 homers last season and went deep in six consecutive games in the playoffs. What we don’t know, and this includes the Mets, is whether that power surge was a fluke or a sign he’s added that element to his game.

The Mets are also reportedly interested in Kansas City free-agent Ben Zobrist, who is five years older than Murphy, and is a better player who is more versatile. However, the speculated numbers for Zobrist is $60 million over four years.

Zobrist brings more to the table than Murphy, and I think the Mets will shy away because of the price. This might make Murphy more palatable. But, I keep going back to well how Wilmer Flores adjusted to second base and potential of Dilson Herrera.

If those two can adequately fill the void left by Murphy, and I believe Flores can do so, then the Mets should be all right at second base. In that case, the money spent on Murphy or Zobrist, would be better spent adding a center fielder because I’m not sold on Juan Lagares and rebuilding the bullpen.

Nov 17

Are Mets Willing To Outbid Yankees For Zobrist?

Both New York teams are interested in free-agent infielder Ben Zobrist – who can also play the outfield corners – but early reports are the Yankees aren’t willing to go all out.

ZOBRIST: How high will Mets go? (AP)

ZOBRIST: How high will Mets go? (AP)

Do you really believe that? I don’t, either. If the Yankees really want a player, and their competition is the Mets, smart money is on them. Yes, the Mets outbid the Yankees for Carlos Beltran, but that was an aberration.

Leopards don’t change their spots, and if the Yankees want him they will spend. And, the Mets aren’t likely to become big spenders for a 34-year-old second baseman, especially when they have other voids they must fill.

The speculated cost for Zobrist is $60 million over four years, which is reported to be about $10 million more than the package for Daniel Murphy.

I like Zobrist, always have, but second base is not their primary concern. I would say an outfielder and bullpen depth rank higher. Wilmer Flores can replace Murphy at second base, and the Mets also have confidence in Dilson Herrera.

 

Nov 14

Ricco: Mets To Outline Offseason

We’re two weeks removed from the World Series and the Mets already took care of two orders of business: 1) they signed manager Terry Collins to a two-year extension, and 2) made a $15.8-million qualifying offer to Daniel Murphy, which he rejected Friday afternoon.

With Sandy Alderson unable to attend the GM Meetings because of a medical procedure, assistant GM John Ricco said the Mets achieved what they set out to do this week.

“Obviously with Sandy not being here, the goal was to make sure we touched base with various clubs and agents that we thought might fit what we’re looking for,” Ricco said at the conclusion of the meetings. “I think we clearly were able to do that, between J.P. [Ricciardi], Paul [DePodesta] and I. We had a lot of different meetings. We were able to get a pretty clear idea on some clubs – on some other clubs, not so clear – what they’re looking to do.

“And also we met with agents for the key [free-agent] players we think might be fits. So we head back. We’ll regroup with Sandy back in New York and further define the plan for the offseason.”

Ricco said the Mets are exploring free-agent Ben Zobrist; inquired into the availability of Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons before the Braves traded him to the Angels; and reiterated the team will not trade any of their core pitchers. Ricco also indicated the Mets do not want to trade catchers Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki and said they are satisfied with another year with Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter.

Ricco and the other assistant general managers are expected to meet with Alderson at the beginning of next week to outline their offseason priorities.