The Mets aren't close to a major move, but they're monitoring a number of possibilities with Spring Training now barely more than one month away.Sources told MLB.com that the Mets are interested in free-agent third basemen Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier, if the price drops on either. They've had some
The Mets aren't close to a major move, but they're monitoring a number of possibilities with Spring Training now barely more than one month away.
Sources told MLB.com that the Mets are interested in free-agent third basemen Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier, if the price drops on either. They've had some contact with free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy. They're also open to adding a veteran free agent at first base -- Adam Lind or Logan Morrison -- with the understanding that Dominic Smith will still have the opportunity to earn Major League at-bats in 2018.
Of course, it's not practical for the Mets to add all of those players. However, they could sign one or two in what's been a slow-developing market -- even with the club's payroll expected to drop by around $20 million from 2017-18, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The Mets also remain active on the trade market. The team covets versatility among infielders, so Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison is a potential trade target. The Mets and Pirates have also had trade discussions regarding Andrew McCutchen, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.
Mets officials would like to add at least one everyday infielder between now and Opening Day. They are aided in that pursuit by the fact that veteran Asdrubal Cabrera could play second or third base, depending on the defensive profile of the new acquisition.
Moustakas, 29, projects to be the most expensive free agent among those listed above, coming off a Royals franchise-record 38 home runs in 2017. A return to Kansas City can't be ruled out for Moustakas, but for now, the Royals appear more interested in retaining fellow free agent Eric Hosmer.
In some ways, Hosmer's decision will clarify Moustakas' options. Two teams pursuing Hosmer -- the Royals and Cardinals -- could also be fits for Moustakas, but neither club is likely to issue concurrent multiyear offers to both players.
The Yankees have also been linked to Moustakas and Frazier, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has a separate set of considerations because his team paid luxury tax for the 2017 season.
Moustakas, unlike Frazier, is subject to Draft-pick compensation because he rejected a qualifying offer from the Royals. Because the Yankees were a payor club in MLB's Competitive Balance Tax system, to sign Moustakas they'd need to give up their second- and fifth-highest remaining picks in the 2018 MLB Draft, along with a $1 million reduction in their international signing pool. The Mets, who did not exceed the luxury-tax threshold, would only surrender their second-highest remaining pick and $500,000 in international signing allocations.
The White Sox, with a right-handed-dominant middle of the order and no long-term third baseman in the upper levels of the farm system, are viewed within the industry as another possible landing spot for Moustakas.
The Mets pursued Lucroy ahead of the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline before the Brewers traded him to the Rangers. Although he had a disappointing 2017 season, Lucroy would represent a defensive upgrade over the Mets' catcher, Travis d'Arnaud.
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.