NEW YORK -- The Winter Meetings have come and gone, taking one of the Mets' primary second-base trade targets -- Ian Kinsler -- with them. Now that Kinsler is off to Los Angeles and the Mets have accomplished their primary offseason goal, adding reliever Anthony Swarzak to their bullpen, the
NEW YORK -- The Winter Meetings have come and gone, taking one of the Mets' primary second-base trade targets -- Ian Kinsler -- with them. Now that Kinsler is off to Los Angeles and the Mets have accomplished their primary offseason goal, adding reliever Anthony Swarzak to their bullpen, the team must pivot fully to the rest of the second-base market.
With that in mind, here is a look at five of the more reasonable remaining trade options that the Mets could pursue:
Jason Kipnis, Indians: The Mets and Indians spent time at the Winter Meetings discussing Kipnis, who would appear to be a snug fit despite his down 2017 season. Guaranteed just over $30 million the next two seasons, including a '20 buyout, Kipnis is among the more expensive options on the market in terms of actual dollars. But he would not likely require a significant prospect haul. Still, talks have reportedly stalled for now, generating skepticism that the teams could strike a deal.
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Josh Harrison, Pirates: Harrison's ability to play second base, third base and the outfield would solve a lot of problems for the Mets, who crave versatility in all their players. Acquiring Harrison would even allow the Mets to go cheaper on a first-base bat, knowing it wouldn't be as important for that player to have outfield experience. But Harrison has a spotty history of power hitting. And with three years of control left on a team-friendly deal, the Pirates are likely to pursue a level of prospect package that the Mets cannot afford.
Jed Lowrie, A's: Lowrie's $6 million salary makes him one of the cheaper options on the trade market, while his .808 OPS indicates he has plenty left in the tank as he enters his age-34 season. But that was Lowrie's first healthy season since 2013 and just the second of his career, making him more of a risk than most. While there is industry skepticism that the A's will even deal Lowrie, they have a history of trading players in their walk years.
Cesar Hernandez, Phillies: The Phils' trade of shortstop Freddy Galvis thins out their infield, making it less likely they deal away Hernandez as well. This was a long-shot anyway, given the prospects it would take to pry away a quality hitter with three years of team control. But Hernandez is still, ostensibly, available on the open market.
Starlin Castro, Marlins: Mets officials have shown little interest in Castro, whose career .320 on-base percentage and spotty defensive history dampen his value. But Castro is also on a team-friendly deal, and -- like Dee Gordon -- would likely come cheap in terms of prospects as the Marlins continue selling off assets under their new ownership group.
If the Mets cannot work out a deal for any of those five, two notable free-agent options exist in Neil Walker and Jose Reyes -- both former Mets. Walker is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, which would be well outside of the Mets' range, and he may be looking for a change of scenery anyway. Reyes, who has been vocal in his desire to return to the Mets, appears more likely, with a source saying the team considers him a realistic fallback option if it cannot swing a trade.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.