NEW YORK -- A dizzying number of decisions await the Mets this winter, with a roster featuring several impending free agents and a small army of arbitration-eligible players. Even many of those whose financial futures are certain come with significant question marks in other respects, making this one of the more fluid Mets offseasons in recent memory.
To prepare, here’s a quick primer on those who played notable roles for the team this past season:
James McCann (signed through 2024)
McCann’s four-year, $40.6 million contract could become an albatross if he does not hit better. The veteran produced a .643 OPS during his first year in Flushing.
Tomás Nido (first-year arbitration eligible)
An injury-plagued season loosened Nido’s grip on the backup job. Now arbitration-eligible, he’ll need to start supplementing his excellent defense with more consistent offense if he wants to keep the gig long-term.
Patrick Mazeika (pre-arbitration)
Mazeika gave the Mets multiple dramatic moments early in the year, but not much after that. He’ll likely battle for the backup job in Spring Training.
Pete Alonso (first-year arbitration eligible)
The Mets’ most consistent regular, Alonso has settled in as a bona fide power threat and a much-improved defensive first baseman. The team has three more years of team control to maximize his abilities.
Javier Báez (free agent after the World Series)
There is some mutual interest in a return to Flushing, but that will depend in large part upon market conditions. In bashing nine homers over 47 games as a Met, Báez made fans mostly forget about his authorship of a “thumbs down” celebration.
Robinson Canó (signed through 2023)
Canó wasn’t on the Mets’ roster this season due to a PED suspension, but he’ll be back to collect the $48 million remaining on his contract over the next two years. The Mets could ask him to play some third base in addition to second.
Jeff McNeil (first-year arbitration eligible)
Poor luck played into McNeil’s career-worst season at the plate. He could be a solution at second, third or in a corner outfield position, depending upon how the offseason unfolds.
Francisco Lindor (signed through 2031)
Technically, Lindor’s 10-year, $341 million megadeal won’t kick in until next season. The Mets will need Lindor to be far better than he was in 2021, when he slashed .230/.322/.412 with 20 home runs while hearing plenty of boos at Citi Field.
Luis Guillorme (pre-arbitration)
Unlike a year ago, Guillorme struggled to find his way into the lineup this summer. The slick fielder remains a backup option at second, third and short.
José Peraza (third-year arbitration eligible)
A late-season injury dampened Peraza’s value after the Mets signed him to a Minor League deal. New York can offer Peraza arbitration, but may choose to non-tender him instead.
J.D. Davis (first-year arbitration eligible)
Playing through injury, Davis lost the everyday third-base job despite a respectable .285/.384/.436 slash line. His shaky defense makes him a trade candidate, although Davis could potentially become a designated hitter if that spot returns to the National League.
Jonathan Villar (free agent after the World Series)
Villar played his role well, appearing in 142 games despite being signed as a bench option last winter. He hit 18 homers and stole 14 bases, but a roster crunch could force Villar to his sixth team in five seasons.
Michael Conforto (free agent subject to qualifying offer)
It remains to be seen if the Mets will bid enough to bring Conforto back to Flushing following seven solid seasons. If they don’t sign Conforto to a long-term deal, the Mets will need to pursue someone similar to replace him.
Brandon Nimmo (third-year arbitration eligible)
The only question still surrounding Nimmo is his ability to stay healthy over 162 games. An elite on-base threat and improving defender, Nimmo can become a free agent after next season.
Dominic Smith (first-year arbitration eligible)
Smith remains a man without a position. His poor offensive season complicates matters, as Mets officials aren’t sold on the idea of Smith as an everyday DH. Under team control for three more seasons, he’ll be blocked by Alonso at first base for all of them.
Kevin Pillar (team/player options for 2022)
One of the most prominent members of New York’s “Bench Mob,” Pillar struggled to produce much in the second half of the season. His complicated contract includes a $6.4 million team option, which the Mets are certain to decline, and a $2.9 million player option, which Pillar is likely to accept.
Albert Almora Jr. (free agent)
An intriguing offseason acquisition, Almora produced next to nothing during his time in New York. He became a free agent after the Mets designated him for assignment in late September.
José Martínez (third-year arbitration eligible)
Martínez never made it back from a spring knee injury, which preceded other ailments. He’s technically under team control for another year, but there’s little reason for the Mets to do anything but non-tender him.
RHP Jacob deGrom (signed through 2023, team option for 2024, opt-out after next season)
His historic start morphed into a maddening finish as elbow inflammation kept deGrom off the mound for the final two and a half months. This will be a crucial season for deGrom, who must re-establish his health at age 33 while keeping one eye on the contract opt-out that awaits him next offseason.
RHP Marcus Stroman (free agent after the World Series)
The Mets’ most consistent starter all season, Stroman will be looking to cash in with a multi-year deal in free agency. His return to Queens is possible, but far from a sure thing.
RHP Taijuan Walker (signed through 2022, player option for 2023)
An All-Star first half gave way to a historically poor second half for Walker, who threw more innings than he had in the previous three seasons combined. Walker will make $7 million this season with a chance to increase his 2023 contract option through incentives.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (signed through 2022, team option for 2023)
After missing four months to a right hamstring strain, Carrasco was uneven in 12 starts down the stretch. He just underwent elbow surgery and will be 35 on Opening Day, with just 201 2/3 innings on his ledger over the last three seasons combined.
RHP Noah Syndergaard (free agent subject to qualifying offer)
If the Mets extend Syndergaard an $18.4 million qualifying offer, he’ll have to strongly consider accepting it. That would give Syndergaard a chance to rebuild his value in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, while allowing the Mets to retain him on a relatively risk-free one-year deal.
RHP Tylor Megill (pre-arbitration)
Megill did everything possible to prove he deserves a shot at a 2022 rotation spot. How the right-hander bounces back from a significant career high in innings will go a long way toward determining his ability to win the job.
LHP Rich Hill (free agent after the World Series)
The 41-year-old lefty proved continually solid following a midseason trade. He’s expressed some interest in a return, though the Mets may not have room in their rotation to accommodate him.
RHP David Peterson (pre-arbitration)
Midseason foot surgery cost Peterson the final three months of the season. He should be healed in time to compete for a starting job next spring.
LHP Joey Lucchesi (first-time arbitration eligible)
A member of the Opening Day rotation, Lucchesi could miss all of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery. That sets up an interesting tender decision for the Mets, who must decide if they want to pay Lucchesi twice through arbitration -- this winter and next -- for the right to retain him into 2023.
RHP Trevor Williams (third-time arbitration eligible)
Something of a Trade Deadline throw-in for the pitching-starved Mets, Williams gave them 32 1/3 effective innings in the second half. He’s likely to return as a rotation depth piece.
RHP Jordan Yamamoto (pre-arbitration)
Had a shoulder strain not cost him most of the summer, Yamamoto would have seen significant time replacing other injured players in the Mets’ rotation. He, like Williams, will return as a depth piece.
RHP Edwin Díaz (third-time arbitration eligible)
A solid season quelled concerns about Díaz, who should remain in the closer’s role next year.
RHP Seth Lugo (third-time arbitration eligible)
After missing the first two months of the season while recovering from right elbow surgery, Lugo was good but not great the rest of the way. Entering his final year of team control, he hopes to return to his old role of a multi-inning fireman.
RHP Trevor May (signed through 2022)
May, who produced a 3.59 ERA as Díaz’s primary right-handed setup man, is due another $7.75 million next season. He’ll return to the same gig.
LHP Aaron Loup (free agent after the World Series)
Loup’s historic season, highlighted by a 0.95 ERA over 56 2/3 innings, means he’ll seek a raise over the $3 million he made this season. The Mets would love to have him back, but they’ll have competition for his services.
RHP Jeurys Familia (free agent after the World Series)
Familia’s three-year, $30 million deal is in the books. He’s expressed interest in returning to New York, which would not require such a rich contract this time around.
RHP Miguel Castro (third-time arbitration eligible)
Castro managed a 3.45 ERA despite some midseason inconsistencies. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the final time after making $1.688 million last season; the Mets are likely to retain him for middle-relief depth.
LHP Brad Hand (free agent after the World Series)
After pursuing Hand seemingly every offseason in recent memory, the Mets finally acquired him toward the end of this summer. The lefty produced a 2.70 ERA in 13 1/3 innings en route to another trip to free agency.
RHP Dellin Betances (player option for 2022)
Coming off shoulder surgery, Betances is a lock to exercise his $1 million player option. The Mets will hope to milk any sort of value out of Betances, who hasn’t pitched effectively in the Majors since 2018.
RHP Robert Gsellman (third-time arbitration eligible)
A lat tear cost Gsellman most of the second half. He’s a non-tender candidate for the second consecutive winter.
RHP Drew Smith (first-time arbitration eligible)
Yet another Mets pitcher who struggled through injuries, Smith still possesses enough upside for the Mets to consider him a potential bullpen answer in 2022.