The Mets entered the winter meetings in
The Mets did, however, sign 30-year-old veteran John Mayberry Jr., fulfilling their need for a right-handed outfielder. The deal was for one year and $1.45 million, in addition to performance bonuses. Mets fans certainly hope he will obtain all of his performance bonuses and be an integral part of the team's playoff push in 2015.
Overall, the Mets were relatively quiet over the winter meetings, despite some rumors. They signed Michael Cuddyer early in the offseason, and they have remained reluctant to trade Daniel Murphy. Nothing appears imminent in terms of acquiring a shortstop, either, which leaves Wilmer Flores penciled in as the Mets' Opening Day starter. It is likely that the Mets remain patient, waiting to see how the free agent market plays out come January. If the Mets can acquire a starting shortstop other than Flores, the youngster would likely move to a utility infield bench role, with Eric Campbell the most likely player to be designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. The bench currently stacks up with outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, shortstop Ruben Tejada, catcher Anthony Recker, and utility man Campbell.
Two interesting names to note in the shortstop department are soon to be posted free-agent Jung-Ho Kang and the Dodgers' Erisbel Arruebarrena. Kang is expected to be posted as a free agent next week, and CBS Sports' Jon Heyman listed the Mets as one of the teams interested in acquiring the power-hitting shortstop. Kang hit .364/.457/.733 with 39 home runs for the Nexan Heroes last season. Here is a clip of Kang's highlights and our own Steve Sypa's profile of him.
Arruebarrena was no more than a defensive substitution for the Dodgers last season due to his glaring struggles at the plate, but MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal described him as an "elite defender" who the Dodgers would be looking to move after acquiring Jimmy Rollins. Arruebarrena is owed $16 million over the next four years. If I asked if he could be the next Rey Ordonez, would you respond "Arruebarrena-dead"?
The Mets have been actively seeking a left-handed reliever this offseason. That lefty reliever would complete what appears to be a very formidable bullpen for the Mets, consisting of Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres, and Josh Edgin, the lone lefty guaranteed a spot in the 2015 bullpen. The Mets met personally with Craig Breslow and had preliminary contact with Phil Coke over the winter meetings. However, after re-signing former Met Scott Rice and drafting Sean Gilmartin in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, it is possible that the Mets do not acquire any of the remaining left-handers available on the market.
Sandy Alderson expressed why he liked Gilmartin, the former first-round pick of the Atlanta Braves, on SNY's Mets Hot Stove Thursday night. Alderson said that Gilmartin has a good chance to be "the guy" because he is not exclusively a lefty-specialist, despite lefties only hitting .201 off of him in Double- and Triple-A last season. Gilmartin went 9-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 26 starts in the minor leagues in 2014 and is expected to compete with the aforementioned Scott Rice and prospect Jack Leathersich for the lefty relief role this spring, assuming a more established reliever isn't acquired. According to ESPN New York, the last two Rule 5 draft picks to stick with the Mets for a full season were Pedro Beato in 2010 and Kelly Stinnett in 1993. It is worth nothing that after the Rule 5 selection of Gilmartin, the Mets have to drop a player from their 40-man roster before they can announce John Mayberry Jr.'s deal.
While the offseason is far from over and they could still acquire a shortstop or a more established left-handed reliever, instead of opening the season with in-house options, the Mets' roster as it currently stands is expected to be in the conversation for wild card contention. It definitely would have been fun for Mets fans to see Sandy Alderson go out and make a bunch of trades like the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman did, but the end result is this: The Mets held onto their prized young pitching and did not succumb to the pressure of having to make a trade. Yesterday, Alderson spoke on when he sees the Mets trading one of their veteran starters, Gee, Niese, or Colon:
"We’ll see what develops over the next few days, couple of weeks. It’s a long time between now and spring training."
If Dillon Gee is traded, the Mets will open the season with a rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Bartolo Colon, with Rafael Montero getting some starts and also potentially playing a role out of the bullpen. Of the Mets' top two pitching prospects, Noah Syndergaard could be up with the Mets as early as May, while Steven Matz is not expected to join the team until September.