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New York Mets Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

New York Mets Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    For the first time since taking over as GM of the New York Mets after the 2010 season, Sandy Alderson has the financial flexibility to make some significant additions to the team's 25-man roster between now and Opening Day.

    With the Bernie Madoff scandal behind owner Fred Wilpon and roughly $40 million coming off of the team's payroll, the Mets could be in the market for one of the premier names on this year's free-agent market, even if they command a $100 million contract.

    Alderson didn't dispute that theory when asked by Mike Puma of the New York Post at the end of September:

    We would be in a position to do it. Whether it would be the right player, and would it be prudent to do it even for the right player, and then factor in what’s left to do the kinds of things we want to do.

    But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question. Will we do it? That’s more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point it’s not a matter of resources, I don’t believe.

    Regardless of whether the team signs a big-name free agent or not, the Mets have payroll flexibility for the first time in a long time—and with the ace of its rotation, Matt Harvey, out for all of 2014 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, how the team spends its money now will impact the on-field product in 2015 and beyond.

    Keep up with the latest from Citi Field right here. While the post date will always show as November 1, this will be updated on a regular basis—often multiple times per day. Simply click to the next slide to see the latest rumors and rumblings about the Mets as they put together their roster for the 2014 season.

New York's Free Agents and Done Deals

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    All the juicy rumors and analysis follow, but consider this your one-stop shop for all the comings and goings in Flushing this winter, including the status of the team's own free agents.

     

    Mets Free Agents

    RHP David Aardsma

    RHP Scott Atchison (Dec. 2: non-tendered)

    LHP Tim Byrdak

    LHP Pedro Feliciano

    RHP Frank Francisco

    RHP Aaron Harang

    RHP LaTroy Hawkins (Nov. 18: Signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Rockies)

    RHP Jeremy Hefner (Dec. 2: non-tendered; Dec 10: Re-signed)

    RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka

    IF Omar Quintanilla (Dec. 2: non-tendered)

    LHP Johan Santana (Mets declined $25 million team option on Nov. 1)

    IF Justin Turner (Dec. 2: non-tendered)

    UTIL Jordany Valdespin (Dec. 2: non-tendered; Dec. 20: Signed a minor league deal with the Marlins)

     

    Done Deals

    Nov. 22: Signed OF Chris Young to a one-year, $7.25 million deal

    Dec. 6: Signed OF Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million deal (Analysis)

    Dec. 11: Signed RHP Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million deal (Analysis)

    Dec. 12: Selected RHP Set Rosin from Philadelphia in the Rule 5 Draft, traded him to Los Angeles (NL) for a player to be named later

Stephen Drew: Scott Boras Won't Take No for an Answer?

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Update: Sunday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 a.m. ET

    The Mets continue to talk with Stephen Drew's agent Scott Boras, according to Newsday's Marc Carig.

    It costs the team nothing to keep the lines of communication open, but unless Drew's asking price drops significantly, it remains very unlikely that he'll replace Ruben Tejada as the team's Opening Day shortstop in 2014.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Sunday, Dec. 22 at 10:28 a.m. ET

    Super-agent Scott Boras is trying to convince Mets ownership that signing his two remaining high-profile free agents, 1B Kendrys Morales and SS Stephen Drew, is a good idea, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

    Yes, this is the same Scott Boras that, just over a month ago, made disparaging remarks about the Mets, comparing the team to NASA.

    While the Mets have no interest in Morales, Drew would fill the team's gaping void at shortstop, currently filled by Ruben Tejada. But the team has spent nearly $90 million this winter on contracts for SP Bartolo Colon and OFs Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, leaving them little financial flexibility.

    Boras' asking price for Drew, coupled with the fact that the team would have to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him, significantly lowers the odds of Drew landing in Flushing.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 12:57 p.m. ET

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo says that the Mets remain in the market for a shortstop and that, contrary to previous reports, signing Stephen Drew remains a possibility.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Sunday, Dec. 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET

    Unless the team moves another substantial contract, players like Stephen Drew won't be signing with the Mets this winter, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including ESPN New York's Adam Rubin on the eve of the Winter Meetings.

    The New York Post's Mike Puma says that Alderson sounded resigned to the fact that Ruben Tejada will be the team's Opening Day shortstop. "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our SS," he told reporters, "we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done."

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Sunday, Nov. 10 at 8:48 p.m. ET

    The Mets will meet with Drew's agent, Scott Boras, at some point over the next five days during the GM meetings, according to Newsday's David Lennon.

    Signing Drew this early likely isn't an option, but if the Mets believe that a deal could be struck with the 30-year-old, it could set off a series of dominoes that includes Reuben Tejada shifting to second base and Daniel Murphy finding himself on the trade block.

    --End of Update--

     

    Stephen Drew is one of three free agent shortstops that the Mets are looking at, according to Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger, as the team has clearly soured on the idea of Ruben Tejada as the everyday starter at the position.

    An above-average defensive player, the 30-year-old Drew doesn't hit for average but has some pop in his bat.

    Despite a postseason that saw him hit only .111, Drew is going to be looking for a multi-year deal, one that pays him a starter's salary—and he comes with draft pick compensation attached to him, thanks to Boston extending him a qualifying offer. 

    While the Mets first round pick is protected in this year's draft, surrendering a second-round pick, while there are other options available that wouldn't require them to give up a pick at all, could be the piece that keeps negotiations with Drew from getting too far along.

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda: Trade Candidates

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    Update: Friday, Dec. 27 at 12:40 p.m. ET

    The Mets continue to try and land a young arm in exchange for Ike Davis with no success, according to the New York Post's Mike Puma.

    New York asked Baltimore for 20-year-old left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, ranked by Baseball America as the Orioles third-best prospect heading into the 2014 season, and has previously tried to pry the likes of RHP Nick Kingham from the Pirates and RHP Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee.

    While the Mets have been turned down thus far, they continue to discuss Davis with Baltimore, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, sources tell Puma.

    Ultimately, the Mets may have no choice but to lower their asking price if moving Davis is a priority.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10:01 p.m. ET

    USA Today's John Perrotto says that the Mets are looking for "a big arm" in exchange for Davis, someone like Pirates RHP Nick Kingham.

    Kingham, ranked by Baseball America as Pittsburgh's third-best pitching prospect—fifth-best regardless of position—is also named as the prospect with the best changeup and best control in the team's minor league system.

    This jives with earlier rumors that had the Mets asking Milwaukee for 25-year-old RHP Tyler Thornburg.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Friday, Dec. 13 at 11:48 a.m. ET

    The Mets and Brewers continue to talk about a Davis trade but Milwaukee will not meet New York's asking price of RHP Tyler Thornburg, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 2:31 p.m. ET

    Brewers GM Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt that talks between he and Mets GM Sandy Alderson today did not advance Ike Davis trade talks. He characterized the meeting as more of the two "checking in" with each other.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 10:56 a.m. ET

    The Brewers and Mets are meeting to continue discussions about a possible Ike Davis trade, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.

    It is not known how far talks have progressed.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 8:13 a.m. ET

    Ike Davis remains likely to get traded at some point this month, says ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, but a deal probably isn't going to happen this week. Contrary to earlier reports, the Brewers remain in the hunt for Davis, along with Tampa Bay, but both like free agent James Loney better.

    Whichever teams misses out on Loney is expected to trade for Davis as their consolation prize, per Rubin, who notes that the Mets have been said to be "very reasonable" in their asking price for Ike.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:21 p.m. ET

    MLB Network's Jim Duquette says that Mets are looking for young, controllable pitching in exchange for Davis and asked the Brewers for 25-year-old RHP Tyler Thornburg, among others.

    The Brewers said no, and the Mets told them that they were out of the running for Davis.

    You'd have to assume that another team has offered the Mets some young pitching, otherwise it would seem foolish for the team to close the door on a possible deal with the Brewers. Opening the season with the Davis/Duda dilemma makes no sense for anyone involved—one of them has to go this winter.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Sunday, Dec. 8 at 9:54 a.m. ET

    The Mets are expected to be actively looking for a trade partner to take either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda off of their hands at the Winter Meetings, Newsday's Marc Carig reports, with the team looking to flip one of their first basemen for a shortstop.

    After signing Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million deal, sources tell Carig that the Mets only have about $13 million left to spend this winter, which probably puts Stephen Drew, the best available free agent shortstop, out of the team's price range. 

    Milwaukee and Tampa Bay are known to have interest in Davis, while I'd speculate that Arizona, who is looking for an outfield bat with power, could have interest in Duda, though he alone may not be enough to pry one of the team's young shortstops, Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6:46 p.m. ET

    Despite being the subject of trade rumors and the widespread consensus that he's already played his last game in a Mets uniform, Ike Davis told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo that he does not want to leave Flushing:

    I just want a chance to play. Honestly, I've loved my time with the Mets. I'm still a Met right now and I don't want to get traded. But that part of the game is not up to us. You want to stay, but you don't have any say in it.

    I know I'm a good baseball player and I know I'm going to play well. I wish it can be with the Mets, but it might have to be with someone else.

    While Davis may, in fact, go on to have a productive career, it's become clear that he's worn out his welcome in New York and a change of scenery may be the best thing for all parties involved.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9:30 a.m. ET

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that a trade involving Davis is "likely," though he offers no timetable on how quickly a deal could take place—or any specifics on which of the six teams believed to be interested may be the favorites to land him.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 8:45 p.m. ET

    The Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich says that a baseball source told him that the Astros and Mets "weren't a fit" when it came to a possible Ike Davis deal.

    Looks like we can cross the Astros off the list of potential suitors for the embattled first baseman.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 11:06 a.m. ET

    Aside from the Brewers, the Mets have been contacted by the Astros, Orioles, Rays and Rockies in regards to 1B Ike Davis, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    It would appear that if the Mets want to make a deal, there's one out there for them to make.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, Nov. 11 at 5:35 p.m. ET

    Newsday's Marc Carig says that the Mets have gotten calls on Lucas Duda as well, with the majority of interest coming from American League clubs that view him as a designated hitter.

    Mike Puma from the New York Post says that about "a half-dozen teams" have contacted the Mets about Duda and/or Davis.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, Nov. 11 at 1:56 p.m. ET

    It appears as if the Mets have chosen and Ike Davis is the odd man out, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who reports that the Mets are shopping the 26-year-old first baseman around.

    The Mets and Brewers discussed a Davis trade but, as a source tells Martino, "the talks did not gain any traction, and a deal is unlikely at this time."

    An unnamed executive speculates that Milwaukee is one of "four or five teams that could have interest", naming Colorado, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay as other potential suitors.

    --End of Update--

     

    It's very likely that either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda will be wearing a different uniform when the 2014 season gets underway, according to a report from the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert.

    Jeff Wilpon, the son of owner Fred Wilpon and the team's COO, told a group at the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield, N.J. that the Mets had already heard from teams looking for a first basemen.

    Something has got to happen there with the logjam. There’s been some interest already. Where that interest goes and what that brings back, that you have to let play out a little bit. And it probably won’t be until the (general manager) meetings or maybe even the winter meetings.

    While both Davis and Duda have big-time power potential, neither has been able to produce consistently, and both appear to have worn out their welcome in New York, pushed aside by players like Wilmer Flores and Josh Satin.

    Ackert's Daily News colleague Andy Martino reports that the Mets are leaning towards dealing Davis and holding on to Duda, though nothing is set in stone at this point.

Dec. 11: Signed RHP Bartolo Colon

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Age: 40

    Throws: R

    2013 Stats: 18-6, 2.65 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 190.1 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 5.5 K/9

    Contract Status: Two years, $20 million

     

    With Matt Harvey out for all of 2014 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, the Mets needed to add another starting pitcher to their rotation—and they found their man in 16-year veteran Bartolo Colon.

    He's familiar with the New York market, having spent 2011 as a member of the Yankees, going 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.29 WHIP after not appearing in the major leagues for two years, and put together one of the best seasons of his career with the A's in 2013.

    While Citi Field is similar to o.Co Coliseum in that it's a pitcher's park, Colon has become a one-trick pony, relying heavily on his fastball, which he threw nearly 85 percent of the time in 2013, the third consecutive season that 80 percent of his pitches have been his heater (per FanGraphs). That trend is a bit concerning.

    That said, Colon has been quite reliable over the past two years, pitching to a 2.99 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 54 starts for Oakland, with his home and away splits pretty much even.

    The most concerning part of this deal is Colon's age. He'll celebrate his 41st birthday in May and, given his husky physique, whether he can hold up for another two seasons is a legitimate question to ask. 

    Ideally, the Mets would have landed Colon on a one-year deal, replacing Harvey in the rotation while not blocking the path for the team's two best pitching prospects, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard. Having a 42-year-old Colon taking up a rotation spot that could be filled by one of those young, electric arms could become an issue in 2015.

    But for 2014, as long as he's able to stay healthy, the Mets will be glad that they've got Colon on board.

John Lannan: Free Agent Starter Could Be Coming Home

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 7:24 p.m. ET

    Long Beach native John Lannan may finally get his chance to pitch close to home, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who lists Lannan as one of the many pitchers that the Mets are considering this winter.

    The 29-year-old southpaw split 2013 between the minors and majors for Philadelphia, going 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 14 starts. Lannan, who has spent his entire seven year career in the NL East, primarily with the Nationals, has a career record of 45-58 with a 4.12 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.

Bruce Chen: Versatile Veteran Free Agent Has Mets Interested

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:19 p.m. ET

    Bruce Chen, who has pitched for 10 teams over his 15-year career, may not make it to his 11th team as the Mets, one of his old employers, are interested in bringing the 37-year-old southpaw back, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Chen spent 2001 and part of 2002 with the Mets, going a combined 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 11 games, 10 of them as a starter. He spent 2013 in Kansas City, going 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation.

    He isn't going to command a hefty salary, has some familiarity with New York and is versatile—all those things surely have contributed to New York's interest in a possible reunion.

Paul Maholm: Free Agent Starter on Mets Radar

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 7:14 p.m. ET

    Paul Maholm is among a number of  starting pitchers that the Mets are looking at this winter, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    The 31-year-old southpaw spent 2013 with the Braves, going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 26 starts, striking out 105 batters in 153 innings of work. In six career appearances at Citi Field (five starts), Maholm has pitched to a 4.55 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.

     

Cesar Izturis: Mets Interested in Veteran Free Agent?

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:10 p.m. ET

    ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets have some interest in free agent infielder Cesar Izturis, who spent 2013 with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Izturis, 33, hit .209/.259/.271 over 142 plate appearances for the Reds, filling in at shortstop, second base and third base. The Mets may see the switch-hitter as a replacement for Justin Turner, who was non-tendered earlier this month.

Freddy Garcia: Mets Meet with Free Agent's Representatives

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:03 p.m. ET

    ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets have met with Ed and Peter Greenberg, the agents for free agent starting pitchers Freddy Garcia and Johan Santana, along with free agent infielder Cesar Izturis.

    It was reported yesterday that the Mets hadn't ruled out re-signing Santana, and it comes as no surprise that they'd have interest in Garcia and Izturis as well.

    Garcia, 37, pitched to a 4.37 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 17 games (13 starts: 4.77 ERA and 1.28 WHIP) for the Orioles and Braves in 2013, but has posted an ERA+ of 100 or better only once since 2010.

Dustin Ackley: Mets Interested in Seattle's Versatile Youngster

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 4:27 p.m. ET

    The Mets, along with the Yankees and Padres, have inquired about acquiring Dustin Ackley from the Mariners, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Ackley, 25, moved quickly through Seattle's minor league system and made his major league debut two years after being drafted, finishing sixth in the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .273 with a .766 OPS as the team's second baseman of the future.

    But he's struggled since, hitting a combined .236 with a .637 OPS and bouncing around the field, spending time at second base, first base and in center field.

    It's a bit odd that the Mets would be in on Ackley, with the team already having a bit of a logjam at second base with Daniel Murphy and Eric Young Jr.. He doesn't have the power profile that Sandy Alderson likes at first base, and he's not going to start over any of the team's outfielders.

    Perhaps the Mets view him as a super utility player, but chances are the Mariners will be asking for a return that a team wouldn't give up for anything other than an everyday player.

Chris Perez: Mets Interested in Two-Time All-Star Closer

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:48 a.m. ET

    The Mets have interest in former Cleveland closer Chris Perez, according to a report from the Newark Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo.

    Perez, 28, was an All-Star for the Indians in 2011 and 2012, pitching to a combined 3.45 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while converting 75-of-83 save opportunities. In 2010, he was one of the game's best middle relievers, pitching to a 1.71 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 63 innings of work.

    But anything that could have gone wrong, went wrong for him in 2013. He lost his job as Cleveland's closer, boycotted the media for two months and finished the season with a 4.33 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, the worst numbers of his career. Off the field, he and his wife were arrested on drug possession charges on June 4.

    The Mets likely view him as not only a setup man for Bobby Parnell, but as insurance for Parnell should the team's incumbent closer not be fully recovered from offseason neck surgery when the season begins.

Daniel Murphy: Trade Candidate

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    Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 8:56 p.m. ET

    While acknowledging that they are listening to offers for Murphy and confirming that Baltimore is one of the teams interested, a team source tells Newsday's Marc Carig that the Mets are not "pushing" to move Daniel Murphy as had been previously reported.

    At this point, Carig's source tells him that Ike Davis is more likely to be traded than Murphy is.

    It wouldn't be surprising to see the Mets move either one—or both of them—as they try to improve the team for 2014.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET

    Baltimore is among the teams with interest in Murphy, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:44 p.m. ET

    Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports that the Mets are "pushing hard" to trade Daniel Murphy.

    With a number of teams known to be looking for an upgrade at second base, the Mets shouldn't have much trouble finding a willing trade partner.

    --End of Update--

     

    Per a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets want to move Eric Young Jr., a finalist for a Gold Glove Award for his play in left field last season, back to his natural position of second base in 2014—a spot currently occupied by Daniel Murphy.

    Murphy doesn't have the kind of power profile that GM Sandy Alderson prefers to have at first base, and thus a trade of the 28-year-old appears the most likely option to free the middle of the infield up for Young Jr., whose father was an All-Star second baseman himself.

    One of the Mets most consistent bats over the past three seasons, posting a combined .296/.334/.419 slash line, Murphy has worked his way into becoming a passable defensive second baseman, and his ability to hit for average and get on base consistently is sure to generate interest on the trade market.

Johan Santana: Mets Haven't Ruled out a Return

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Monday, Dec. 9 at 3:22 p.m. ET

    The Mets have not ruled out bringing Johan Santana back in 2014, according to WFAN's Sweeny Murti, who says that they are one of the teams who have expressed interest in the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner.

    Mets fans know all too well the injury struggles that Santana, 34, has faced, missing two of the past three seasons and tossing only 117 innings since the end of the 2010 season.

    The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III spoke with Ed Greenberg, one half of the brother team that represents Santana back in November, and Greenberg said that his client was feeling good: “Johan is progressing well. He’s into his throwing program and is feeling good. It’s still a work in progress, but is progressing as planned.”

    With the Mets having limited money left to spend and Santana unlikely to command anything but an incentive-laden deal—along with his familiarity with the team—bringing Johan back does make some sense as long as he's healthy.

Dec. 6: Signed OF Curtis Granderson

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Age: 32

    Bats: L

    2013 Stats: .229/.317/.407, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 8-for-10 SB

    Contract Status: Four years, $60 million

     

    The Mets needed to make a big splash this offseason and didn't have to go far to do it, signing Curtis Granderson away from the cross-town Yankees.

    Limited to only 61 games in 2013 due to a pair of bizarre hit-by-pitch injuries, Granderson immediately upgrades the Mets outfield and lineup, giving David Wright some real protection in the lineup.

    A versatile outfielder who can play all three positions and, when healthy, one of the game's premier sluggers, Granderson's reliance on the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium for the bulk of his power has been grossly overstated. Of the 84 home runs that he hit from 2011 to 2012. 37 of those came on the road.

    Now it's true that Granderson alone won't be enough to get the Mets back into contention, but his signing makes the team relevant once again.

    Free agents now see that the Mets are, indeed, willing to spend to improve their club, and that could entice others who had previously crossed Citi Field off as a destination to rethink their stance. That's nearly as valuable as the production at the plate that Granderson will provide.

     

Bronson Arroyo: Sandy Alderson to Meet with Veteran Starter?

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Friday, Dec. 6 at 2:46 p.m. ET

    The Mets don't seem to be too serious about pursuing Arroyo, says Mike Puma of the New York Post, who notes that GM Sandy Alderson has yet to meet with the free agent and has no definitive plans to do so at next week's Winter Meetings.

    --End of Update--

     

    Saturday, Nov. 30 at 10:20 p.m. ET

    Nobody from the Mets, including Sandy Alderson, has plans to meet with Arroyo, a team source tells Newsday's David Lennon, who goes on to say that the Mets seem to be "on the fence" when it comes to pursuing the veteran right-hander.

    --End of Update--

     

    Saturday, Nov. 30 at 5:28 p.m. ET

    Mets GM Sandy Alderson will travel to Florida at some point during the upcoming week to meet with veteran starter Bronson Arroyo at his Tampa home, according to a report from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.

    Arroyo, who will celebrate his 37th birthday before Opening Day 2014, has been one of the more reliable starters in baseball over the past nine years, tossing at least 200 innings in all but one season—2011, when he finished one shy of the mark with 199.

    He's coming off of a solid campaign for Cincinnati that saw him go 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, his second consecutive season with a sub-4.00 ERA. While he allows too many home runs, leading baseball for the second time in three years with 32 long balls hit off of him, that won't be as big an issue in spacious Citi Field as it was for him with the Reds.

    Not tendered a qualifying offer by the Reds, signing Arroyo would require the Mets to have to surrender a draft pick. But, with multiple teams, including the Twins, known to be interested in him, the Mets will have to open their checkbooks—and consider giving him a three-year deal—to bring Arroyo to New York.

Errisbel Arruebarruena: Mets Interested in Cuban Defect

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    Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 9:23 p.m. ET

    The Yankees will be hosting a showcase for Cuban defector Errisbel Arruebarruena at the team's facility in the Dominican Republic this weekend, and the Mets will be one of the teams in attendance, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

    The 23-year-old Arruebarruena, who has drawn comparisons to Detroit's Jose Iglesias, with Baseball America's Ben Badler offering the following commentary:

    At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Arruebarruena has clean hands, quick actions and good body control. He’s a below-average runner, but his quick first step and instincts give him good range. He has a quick transfer and a plus-plus arm with accuracy, which allows him to make throws from deep in the hole and turn 4-6-3 double plays with ease.

    The bat is a major source of concern with Arruebarruena, even more so than with Iglesias and more along the lines of Marlins Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

    While he's already faced some major league competition as the starting shortstop on Cuba's entry in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Arruebarruena will likely need at least one full season of work in the minor leagues before he's ready to contribute at the major league level.

Nelson Cruz: Free Agent, Mets Among Suitors

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Update: Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    The team's interest in Cruz has "cooled," according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It appears that Curtis Granderson has become the team's primary target on the free agent market.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 11:24 a.m. ET

    ESPN New York's Adam Rubin cites a team insider who downplayed the team's interest in Cruz, saying that the Mets were unlikely to sign any player that received a qualifying offer and has draft pick compensation attached to them.

    --End of Update--

     

    Despite serving a 50-game suspension for his ties to the Biogenesis Anti-Aging Clinic, we can add Nelson Cruz to the list of power-hitting outfielders that the Mets have targeted in free agency, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Cruz, 33, hit .266 with 27 home runs, 76 RBI and an .833 OPS over 109 games for the Rangers in 2013, and has slugged at least 22 home runs and driven in at least 76 runs in each of the past five seasons.

    Once a reliable defender, the older Cruz gets, the worse his defense has become. With no designated hitter slot to stash him in, that could become an issue in the later years of his deal. Multiple teams, including the A's and Mariners, are known to be interested in Cruz as well.

Armando Galarraga: Mets Interested in Former Major League Starter

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET

    ESPN New York's Adam Rubin says that, according to Venezuelan journalist Rafael Tejera, the Mets are interested in a pair of former major league pitchers: 29-year-old Victor Garate, a reliever, and 31-year-old Armando Galarraga.

    Best known as the pitcher who was robbed of a perfect game by umpire Jim Joyce's terrible call while pitching for the Tigers in 2010, Galarraga hasn't thrown a major league pitch since 2012, when he posted a 6.75 ERA in five starts for the Astros.

    He spent 2013 in Triple-A, splitting time between the Reds' Colorado Springs affiliate and Colorado's Louisville club, posting a combined 3.64 ERA in 23 starts.

Ryan Braun, Trade Target: Mets at Least Checked in

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    The Mets are clearly looking to make upgrades to both corner outfield positions, and they are apparently leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit.

    According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Mets made an inquiry into the availability of Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun.

    Braun served a 65-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. While the Brewers insisted that Braun would not be made available, it didn't stop Mets GM Sandy Alderson from at least asking.

    Heyman contacted Alderson by phone to see if in fact he had reached out to the Brewers. 

    Via Heyman:

    Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, responding by phone to a question about whether the Mets had “checked in” on Braun with the Brewers, saying, “If you could count a four-word sentence as checking …”

    That might depend on what the actual sentence was I told him,, so I asked.

    “What's up with Braun?” Alderson relayed.

    The Mets have also pursued Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz, among others, but have previously stated they will not be doling out $100 contracts.

    Braun has eight years and $135.5 million remaining on his deal. 

Alfredo Aceves: Free Agent, Mets Among Teams Interested

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Update: Friday, Nov. 15 at 12:43 p.m. ET

    Newsday's Marc Carig tweets that if the Mets do sign Aceves, it's likely to be to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, Nov. 14 at 4:15 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Buster Olney says there's a "good chance" that Aceves signs with the Mets, pointing to his versatility, healthy arm, experience in New York and relatively low price tag as reasons why.

    --End of Update--

     

    Despite the fact that he's pitched to a 5.21 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over the past two seasons, the Mets have interest in free agent pitcher Alfredo Aceves, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

    Aceves, who turns 31 in December, has filled every role imaginable over his six-year major league career, and owns a career 3.69 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.

    Working out in Mexico, multiple teams are believed to have interest, and while he's proven that he can handle New York, having spent the first three years of his career with the Yankees, the Mets aren't likely to get into a bidding war for his services.

Andre Ethier: Potential Trade Target

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Update: Friday, Nov. 8 at 9:22 p.m. ET

    With the revelation from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Dodgers are listening to offers on their trio of veteran outfielders comes a report from the New York Daily News' Andy Martino that the Mets are once again considering trying to acquire Andre Ethier.

    Rumors about the team's interest in the two-time All-Star go back more than a year, and Martino speculates that the Mets could put a deal together for the 31-year-old centered around pitching prospect Rafael Montero, one that sees the Dodgers pick up a chunk of the nearly $70 million that remains on his contract.

    A versatile outfielder who can play all three positions, Ethier, a career .288/.362/.470 hitter, would give the Mets a more reliable left-handed bat with some pop than the team currently has in Lucas Duda, who presumably would be the odd man out of the equation with Eric Young Jr. in left field and Juan Lagares in center.

     

Mets Want to Trade for a Big Bat...But Have Limits on What They'll Pay

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Mets want to acquire a big bat via trade, but they don't want to include RHP's Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard in any deal, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

    With Matt Harvey out for the season due to Tommy John surgery and no guarantee that he'll return to his pre-surgery dominance, that makes sense.

    But, as Martino notes, you have to give something of value in order to get something of value. While the Mets have other prospects that are sure to be intriguing to other teams, any GM willing to talk trade with GM Sandy Alderson is going to want either Wheeler or Syndergaard in any deal that includes an impact bat.

    For now, it seems that the Mets are talking a good game, but talk is cheap.

    Until they pull the trigger on a move to improve what was barely a serviceable lineup in 2013, there's little reason for optimism that things will be better at Citi Field next season. 

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