Mets tickets are in high demand, Carlos Correa's physical, and does New York have one more Christmas present for us?
Liam Hendriks could be the final piece for this championship caliber club
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
Carlos Correa was in New York for his physical with the Mets, agent Scott Boras said at Yankee Stadium
The Mets officially announced their signing of catcher Omar Narvaez
New York agreed to terms on a new deal with lefty Joey Lucchesi to avoid arbitration
Right hander Yoan Lopez was officially released and is signing with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan
The Mets have sold $1m in ticket sales in the last 24 hours (New York Post)
Michael Conforto has agreed to a two-year, $36 million contract with an opt-out with the Giants (USA Today)
Liam Hendriks could be the final piece for this championship caliber roster ✍🏻
Over the past few days—occurring concurrently with a horde of eye opening Mets moves, another exciting rumor has begun circulating.
The Mets are reportedly expressing interest in White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, who is reportedly available via trade.
At this point in the off-season, at least on paper, there is very little standing in the way of the Mets becoming the legitimate World Series favorite and the type of superteam typically only seen in the NBA.
With the addition of Carlos Correa, every member of New York’s starting infield has made multiple all-star teams. Out on the grass the Mets will bring back the same starting outfield of Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte that was very productive in 2022.
Trading James McCann to Baltimore yesterday is an emphatic example of addition by subtraction behind the plate, where Tomás Nido and Omar Narváez will now share the catching duties until uber prospect Francisco Álvarez is ready to take the job for good.
Now let’s get to the pitching rubber.
New York’s rotation lost Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Chris Bassitt. Watching a trio of that caliber walk out the door is near impossible to replace, but incredibly the Mets may not only have replaced them, but improved upon them. Enter Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana. Carlos Carrasco is still here—for now—with David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Joey Lucchesi serving as legitimate rotation depth.
Any way you slice it, it’s hard to imagine this unit not being a strength in 2023.
The one thing no team can never have enough of, however, is high quality late inning relief pitching. We all know New York already employs the best closer in the game in Edwin Díaz. And bringing back his 2022 eighth inning man, Adam Ottavino, was a move that didn’t get nearly enough praise. The Mets have also signed veteran right hander David Robertson, traded for Tampa Bay lefty Brooks Raley, and will bring back valuable middle innings guy Drew Smith.
New York’s relief corps could every well be an asset as is. But what if they also acquired Hendriks?
The big righty - who has an equally large personality - pitched in 58 of the White Sox games last season, and worked to a terrific 2.81 ERA while converting 37 of 41 save chances. He struck out 85 hitters in only 57.2 innings, and was in the top five percentiles in strikeout rate, expected batting average, fastball velocity, and swing-and-miss rate thanks to exceptional vertical movement on his fastball. He also throws an effective slider/curveball combination which helps off-set his dominant fastball.
The idea of building a late inning duo of Hendriks and Díaz is tantalizing. It would allow everyone else out in the bullpen to slide down a role, allow for even greater flexibility for Buck Showalter to mix-and-match and, for all intents and purposes, the Mets would now be able to shorten games to seven innings on most occasions.
And for what it’s worth, the Mets are suddenly in a position to trade from their chest of prospects, assuming they seal the deal with Correa.
I would say it’s far from certain a trade comes together, but if this week has taught us anything, it’s that Steve Cohen does not rest, doesn’t let Billy Eppler or the rest of the front office rest for that matter, and if it becomes realistic to acquire Hendriks, he will.
And if he does, good luck finding something the Mets don’t do well.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Red Sox have reportedly talked to Miami about trading for Joey Wendle (The Athletic)
Boston released first baseman Eric Hosmer after designating him for assignment earlier this week
The Angels announced their two-year agreement with former Met Brandon Drury (official release)
The Padres announced their one-year contract with Seth Lugo (official release)
The Reds signed veteran outfielder Wil Myers to a one-year, $7.5 million contract, signed Curt Casali, and designated Mike Moustakas for assignment (Reds)
The Cubs have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a two-year contract (New York Post)
The Cubs signed veteran lefty Drew Smyly to a two-year contract (Fansided)
A neutral arbitrator reduced MLB’s suspension of Trevor Bauer to 194 games—which he’s already served—so he’s essentially been reinstated although it is expected the Dodgers will release him from his contract (ESPN)