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Mutual interest between the Mets and Jacob deGrom, and fitting Trea Turner into the equation
Jacob deGrom is among 12 Mets to file for free agency this week
What’s Up with the Mets? ♨️
The Mets reportedly signed star closer Edwin Díaz to a five-year, $102 million contract, the most ever for a reliever (story)
Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom, Edwin Díaz, Tommy Hunter, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Nimmo, Adam Ottavino, Joely Rodríguez, Taijuan Walker, Trevor Williams have all filed for free agency (official release)
Mets GM Billy Eppler said at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Tuesday he believes mutual interest remains on a new contract with Jacob deGrom as well as Brandon Nimmo (New York Post) and the Mets are expected to make a strong push to retain deGrom (SNY)
Mets manager Buck Showalter has been named a finalist for National League Manager of the Year - he has already won the award from the sporting news this season
The Mets have discussed internally the possibility of signing star SS Trea Turner this winter, although there’s no clear answer to where he might fit on the roster (SNY)
The Mets aren’t likely to sign OF Aaron Judge away from the Yankees in an effort to avoid creating an intracity war between the two clubs (New York Post)
The Mets must decide whether or not to exercise their $14 million option on RHP Carlos Carrasco this week, although they already have made a decision on Daniel Vogelbach - they picked up his club option for 2023
The Mets have hired 27-year-old Eric Jagers to be their new director of pitching development - he most recently served as the Reds assistant pitching coach
Starling Marte recently underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury he sustained during the 2022 season - he will be ready for spring training
Fitting Trea Turner into the Mets equation 📝
Yeah, Trea Turner is awesome.
He does things the Mets badly need for their roster. He is a gap-to-gap speed demon with power, a game which he has historically thrived on at Citi Field over the course of his career. He has elite baserunning skills and would help transition a singles hitting, station-to-station offense into a force far more dynamic than it is today at the top of their order and pair with the likes of Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte as star-powered catalysts at the top of their order.
Who wouldn’t want that on their team? Maybe except the Nationals who traded him away along with Max Scherzer a year and a half ago?
Turner has made a career out of killing the Mets, specifically at Citi Field. So much so he recently said in an interview his favorite park to play in is in fact Citi Field (although he has a lifetime .664 OPS in 45 games at Citi Field).
Still, Turner is the kind of star power the Mets should want and crave as they seek to add the attributes he would bring to the lineup.
But, how does Turner fit into the Mets equation? That part isn’t so clear at all.
Turner has said all the right things throughout the process, stating anything is on the table for him right now and has in fact demonstrated a willingness and ability to play other positions with the Dodgers in the year and a half he spent there, having played second base next to Corey Seager down the stretch in 2021 specifically (and acquitting himself quite nicely there at that).
But he is one of four elite shortstops on the free agent market this winter, alongside Dansby Swansen, Carlos Correa, and Xander Bogaerts. Along with the Yankees and Red Sox (assuming they don’t retain Bogaerts), the Twins, Dodgers and Braves among others have needs at shortstop, thus presenting more natural fits for Turner as he seeks elite shortstop money while topping the deals signed by both Francisco Lindor (10 years, $341 million) and Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million).
So, would the Mets be willing to do just that and pay Turner elite shortstop money (and possibly entice him to do so by exceeding the deal signed by Lindor) to play, say second base or the outfield, positions he is far less valuable in and has far less experience at?
It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. If Turner is willing and able to shift to second base specifically, the middle of the Mets infield would be set for the foreseeable future with elite, star-caliber talent. Such a move would shift Jeff McNeil to the outfield permanently in all probability, although it would likely mean that at least in the immediate term, Starling Marte would become the club’s full-time centerfielder, a concern for a soon-to-be 35-year-old player coming off a variety core and leg injuries in 2022.
It’s also really hard to see this happening if the Mets are able to retain Jacob deGrom, who will very likely be exceeding the $40 million marker himself in 2023.
One thing is for certain, however.
With Steve Cohen, anything is possible. There is a lot of work to do this winter under an umbrella of pressure to not just effectively retool this roster, but to transform it into what it needs to be in order to take the next step in their pursuit of a championship, something Mr. Cohen said when he bought the team wants to have happen within five years.
We are coming to year three under his watch.
But in the end, even for the richest of owners big investments need to be sensible and while Turner checks all the boxes for their needs in the lineup, the costs could be greater than dollars and risks for the roster.
Hot Stove 🔥
LHP Drew Smyly has declined his side of a mutual option with the Cubs (MLB.com)
OF Mitch Haniger won’t receive the $19.65m qualifying offer from the Mariners (Seattle Times)
The Blue Jays are expected to trade from their catching surplus this winter (MLB Network)
Toronto exercised their club option on reliever Anthony Bass, who they acquired from the Marlins at the trade deadline (Sportsnet)
Astros GM James Click and manager Dusty Baker both received one-year deals to return to Houston for the 2023 season (USA Today)
AJ Pollock will take a $5 million buyout as opposed to exercising his $13 million player option with the White Sox, and head to free agency (ESPN)
The Diamondbacks declined their side of their mutual option with LHP Ian Kennedy (Arizona Republic)