By: Joe Messineo

Mets Offseason Preview: Departures, Free Agent Targets, and More


The 2015 season was a bittersweet one for Mets fans. They saw their young team overachieve and hint at great things to come, and they’ll now get to raise the National League pennant for the first time in 15 years. But they also saw their team come up short at critical moments in the World Series, losing a hard-fought but too-short World Series to the Kansas City Royals.

Now the New York Mets enter their most important offseason in more than a decade. With a core of young pitchers in place and a championship window clearly opening, the Mets are poised to take advantage of their position and build an even more competitive squad. Here’s our Mets 2015 offseason preview.

The Key Question

Let’s start with one great mystery that surrounds this Mets offseason: will the club return to the old free-spending ways of the mid-2000s?

The Mets cut payroll drastically after some bad seasons and some even worse investments by the team’s owners (remember that Bernie Madoff guy?). But all along, the Mets brass has insisted that the money will be there when revenue is up and the team is closer to contention. Well, we’re here: the stadium was bursting with fans this postseason, and the Mets won the pennant. Will the Mets organization make good on their promise?

We think they might. Even if you’re not inclined to believe ownership, there are clues elsewhere: in Sandy Alderson’s memoir, he discusses a potential big-money deal for Robinson Cano. The money, it seems, might be there for the right player at the right time.

A lot depends on the answer to this question, though, so we’ll return to it a few times in our preview.

Payroll Obligations

The Mets are in a pretty good spot on payroll, but they will see their payroll rise no matter what they do. The Mets’ Opening Day payroll was just over $100,000,000 in 2015. Even if the Mets do absolutely nothing this offseason, they’ll be paying close to that for the guys they already have under contract.

That’s because a few guys are getting raises, some through their contracts and some – like ace pitcher Matt Harvey and closer Jeurys Familia – through Major League Baseball’s arbitration process. It’s tough to predict arbitration, but it’s safe to say that raises, arbitration, and bare minimum contracts to fill the gaps will cost the Mets around $90 million. That gives them around $10 million more to spend to match last year’s Opening Day payroll, which isn’t a ton.

Of course, it comes back to the question: will the Mets spend more this year than last year?

Trades vs. Free Agents

We’ll discussed free agents more than trades in this article because the sense most observers have is that the Mets would rather buy their solutions than trade for them. The Mets have indicated that they’ll be shopping, probably somewhat frugally (but, again, who knows!), rather than swapping.

If the Mets do make a trade, their most expendable assets come at the catcher and starting pitcher positions. With Travis D’Arnaud looking like a permanent solution (barring more injuries), Kevin Plawecki becomes a chip. He probably won’t fetch a ton from any other team, though. Trading starting pitching would be a tough pill to swallow for the pitching-focused Mets, but they definitely have plenty of it. Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom are probably out of the question, but would the Mets consider trading Zack Wheeler, who might be cut out of the postseason rotation anyway?

Departing Free Agents

Here are the players from this year’s Mets who are now free agents:


SP Bartolo Colon – With Zack Wheeler returning from a year spend rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, there’s not much reason to shell out for the big man in 2016.

RP Tyler Clippard – Clippard performed poorly down the stretch for the Mets. It’s hard to say if he’ll be back, though for the right price, he might be. Setup men don’t grow on trees.

RP Eric O’Flaherty – Another relief pitcher, O’Flaherty was worth -0.1 WAR for the Mets this year. Don’t count on them bringing him back.

RP Bobby Parnell – Parnell’s effectiveness has waned in recent seasons, so the Mets probably won’t go after him too desperately. It’s not out of the question that he be brought back on a team-friendly deal, though. He had good stuff once, and perhaps he can find it again.

RP Jerry Blevins – Yet another reliever. The Mets will have a chance to rebuild the bullpen this offseason. Blevins is a lefty, so he might be a candidate to return.

Position Players

OF Yoenis Cespedes – This is where it gets interesting. The Mets are probably planning to let Cespedes walk, because he’s stated repeatedly that he’s looking for a large multi-year deal (probably for 6 years), and that’s longer than the Mets want to commit. The Mets will probably try to replace Cespedes on the open market. They can’t offer him a qualifying offer due to a clause in his contract.

2B Daniel Murphy – Murphy was key to the Mets’ postseason surge – and also to their world series loss. He’ll probably get a qualifying offer (1 year, $15.8 million), since the Mets can be fairly sure he’ll reject it. That would give them Mets a draft pick when Murphy signs elsewhere, as he seems destined to do. The Mets front office doesn’t think Murphy is worth the type of contract he’ll command on the open market.

3B Juan Uribe – The Mets would like a player to platoon with the aging David Wright at third. Is Uribe that guy? We’re leaning towards no, but it’s possible.

2B Kelly Johnson – The Mets will probably see about re-signing Johnson, since depth at second base would help after Murphy walks.

Major Offseason Needs and Potential Free-Agent Targets


The Mets will probably let Cespedes walk, which means they’ll need some more outfield power. A lefty would be good, since the Mets lineup could use one and the Mets could platoon the newcomer with CF Juan Lagares. The pipe dream solution is Jason Heyward, but that would require the Mets to really loosen the purse strings. A more reasonable answer might be Colby Rasmus or Denard Span.

Second Base

With Murphy gone, the Mets will need a new man in the middle infield. The best bet is that they promote Dilson Herrera from within. They’ll sign another 2B for depth, though. Maybe 2015 Met Kelly Johnson would fit the bill.


Shortstop was one of last year’s biggest areas of needs. It’s this year’s, too. Will the Mets ignore it again and go with Ruben Tejada or Wilmer Flores, like they did this year? If they sign a big-time outfielder, they might. Otherwise, look for them to consider a guy like free agent Ian Desmond, formerly of the Nationals.

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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