What now, after the Mets’ Black Friday spending madness?
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Contrary to popular belief – or the narrative push – players are ready to sign with the New York Mets, after all.
Steve Cohen took a Black Friday shopping spree, handing out $ 124.5 million to bring in infielder Eduardo Escobar as well as outfielder Starling Marte and Mark Canha.
This is the first big roster change to lay the groundwork for an underperforming 2021 squad that has fallen short of playoff expectations.
Escobar can play second or third depending on what else the Mets can do in the offseason. While they remain on the hunt for Javier Baez, SNY’s Andy Martino has reported that the free agent All-Star and the Mets are nowhere near the price of a new contract.
Escobar, 32, has just enjoyed the best offensive streak of his professional career with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers. From 2019-2021, he posted 162-game averages of .254 / .311 / .470 (0.780 OPS) with 30 homers and 103 RBIs.
He’ll be thrown straight into the mix of a Mets infielder that could potentially take another big step and bring in a third baseman like Kris Bryant, or could potentially move JD Davis or Jeff McNeil this offseason as well.
In the outfield, Marte is the main prize as he will provide the Mets with a natural outfield for the first time since Juan Lagares patrolled the deeper parts of Citi Field.
Like Escobar, 33-year-old Marte has just completed one of his best seasons as a pro, slicing .310 / 0.383 / .458 with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs and 47 goals stolen. More importantly, it stabilizes the Mets’ outside defense, allowing the team to move Brandon Nimmo to a more natural right field as the writing continues to flow from the wall indicating that Michael Conforto will not return to the Mets in 2022.
Canha will take over on the left, offering a concrete option to position rather than playing infielders to McNeil, Davis or Dominic Smith out of position there.
The Mets are by no means finished, however. The starting pitcher remains a primary concern after a 2021 year full of injuries that notably hit Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco, which led to an offseason that saw Noah Syndergaard turn down New York’s qualifying offer to head to the west and join the Los Angeles Angels.
Marcus Stroman – the team’s most consistent and reliable pitcher last season – has posted on Twitter that the Mets aren’t too interested in bringing him back and are investing their free agency resources elsewhere.
MLB Insider Joel sherman reported this weekend that the Mets are “very involved” with the best in the starting pitching market – with Kevin Gausman, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray in the lead. American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray is also seen as a target.