Free agency is on the move, bringing Bryant to Queens and the Mets glow-up on defense
Eduardo Rodríguez signs with Detroit as free agency heats up. Plus, a look at how the Mets drastically improved their defense overnight.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
Shannon Forde, the beloved PR executive for the Mets, was posthumously inducted into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame for being a trailblazer for women in the game (Daily News)
Both Starling Marte and Kris Bryant are legitimate options for the Mets to upgrade their outfield this offseason (NY Post)
The Mets will prioritize finding starting pitching this winter, per Sandy Alderson
Robinson Canó went 1-for-5 with 2 RBI in his latest Winter League game
Team president Sandy Alderson needs to do a better job selling the Mets to executives (NY Post)
Former Mets great Gil Hodges will once again get a crack at the Hall of Fame when the Veteran’s Committee meets to debate new entries (Daily News)
The Mets signed LHP Nate Fisher to a minor league contract (SNY)
The Mets’ beautiful transformation on defense happened overnight 📝
As the great Casey Stengal once said, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” For far too long have the Mets lived by that mantra in the field.
The Greatest Infield Ever (circa 1999) is nothing but a mere memory these days as the Mets have seen players routinely play out of position over the last several years. Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, and much more recently, Dominic Smith are among that many infielders that have seen time in the outfield. There’s even been catchers playing on the infield with James McCann filling in at first base this past season and Travis d’Arnaud’s infamous 2B-3B game where he switched between the two positions (neither of which he had ever played before) 12 times in one night.
But, in a miraculous turn of events in 2021, the Mets actually seemed to prioritize and right the ship on defense.
Obviously, the addition of Francisco Lindor — who finished as a Gold Glove finalist with +4 DRS at short — helped greatly in that regard and later on Javier Báez but throughout the season, the Mets made a concerted effort to actually play defense. In the past, Sandy Alderson’s M.O. was to invest in players that outhit their opponent and worry about defense later but the 2021 team, armed with a new analytics staff, paid heavy attention to both shifting and defensive positioning and it was noticeable.
In 2020, New York finished with -26 defensive runs saved as a team. This past season, they were plus-44, which ranked 9th best in MLB. That’s a difference of 70 (!) runs saved in just one season.
When the team was struggling to hit this past year and the pitching was intact and performing well, it was the defense that kept the the Mets in close games. Good defense can have a snowball effect — it puts less stress on the starters, fewer baserunners allows them to go deeper into games, which is turn takes pressure off the bullpen. While this is a critical offseason for the Mets for many reasons, it would be a breathe of fresh air to see them once again invest in their defense for 2022. Should Báez return, a full year of playing with Lindor could cover up a lot of flaws the team may have not to mention a possible defensive upgrade at third base depending on what they do in free agency or trades.
The Greatest Infield Ever Part 2 anyone?
Hot Stove 🔥
The Tigers have signed LHP Eduardo Rodríguez to a five-year, $77 million contract with a player opt-out after 2023 (ESPN and Heyman)
The Marlins are interested in a reunion with free agent CF Starling Marte (Miami Herald)
The Dodgers have shown interest in Reds RHPs Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, who may both be available via trade (USA Today)
The Brewers acquired INF Mike Brosseau from the Rays in exchange for RHP Evan Reifert (MLB.com)
The Rockies re-signed Jhoulys Chacín to a one-year, $1.25 million deal (MLB.com)
RF Aaron Judge wants to stay with the Yankees for the rest of his career (MLB.com)
After leading the Giants to a division title, manager Gabe Kapler was rewarded with a contract extension that runs through the 2024 season (ESPN)
Prospect Watch ⚾
This weekend’s stats in the Arizona Fall & Dominican Winter Leagues
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 prospect): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 R in the Fall Stars Game
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 prospect): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI