Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings officially start tomorrow, though Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will address the media there this evening. Coming off the team's second consecutive 74-win season, Alderson has already begun work on the team's 2014 roster.
Things got started with an early signing of outfielder Chris Young, formerly of the Diamondbacks and Athletics, and the removal of Hansel Robles from the team's 40-man roster. Alderson then non-tendered five players, two of whom were surprises: Scott Atchison, Omar Quintanilla, Justin Turner, Jeremy Hefner, and Jordany Valdespin. With that, the team had five open spots on its 40-man roster. The biggest move of the offseason so far has undoubtedly been Friday's signing of Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract.
With that, the team's outfield, while not a sure thing, appears to be set with Young, Granderson, and Juan Lagares starting and Eric Young Jr. serving as the fourth outfielder. But there's more work to be done.
It would appear Josh Satin's spot on the team's Opening Day roster is safe, as Alderson will try to trade either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda this week, according to Marc Carig of Newsday. The players are redundant, as they're both left-handed hitters with platoon splits who are limited to playing first base. And they're both due for raises in arbitration, with Davis the more expensive of the two. If Alderson can clear a logjam on the roster by trading one to address another need, that would be ideal.
The front office clearly isn't high on Ruben Tejada, though he's been participating in a fitness program lately and has a much better chance of winning back the starting job after the team didn't sign Jhonny Peralta. The best free agent left at the position is Stephen Drew, whose market might not be all that strong but could still be too high for the Mets. A trade for a shortstop seems ideal.
With just Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, and Dillon Gee in the rotation, the Mets clearly need two more starting pitchers by April. Jenrry Mejia could be one of them and figures to get every chance to pitch when healthy after his dazzling, albeit brief, display with the Mets in 2013. If he gets hurt, prospect Rafael Montero might very well step in to take his place, assuming he hasn't joined the rotation by then already. It would be surprising to see the Mets pick up a starting pitcher this week if only because they'll probably want the least expensive starter available this winter, and they might not identify that pitcher this early in the winter.
With a mostly young bullpen that has potential, perhaps the Mets are willing to roll the dice. After all, things can't go much worse in the bullpen than they have over the past few years. But a veteran signing or two would be great, and there are quite a few relief pitchers available in free agency. It'd be a surprise if the Mets didn't acquire at least one sometime soon.