The Winter Meetings this past week in San Diego stimulated a whirlwind of roster activity across MLB, but for the Mets…not so much. Besides yesterday’s signing of veteran outfielder John Mayberry, nothing transpired from the discussions engaged by GM Sandy Alderson. He hinted at exploring all possibilities of roster improvement, including the shortstop position and another lefty in the bullpen, but pulled the trigger only for Mayberry. Reports, rumors, social media banter, etc. has all fueled the discussions from the outside, but how aggressive any forthcoming moves are being sought from the inside is still an unknown. Pertinent information from the deal makers is relayed with so much calculation; it’s difficult for the media and fans to sift through the words with any certainty. So what, if anything, is on the horizon in respect to roster activity?
Dillon Gee has been at the forefront of most of the reported discussions, with the Giants, Rangers, Royals, Rockies, and Twins being the inquirers. One report, via ESPN’s Marly Rivera that might give an idea of Alderson’s value assessment of Wilmer Flores, is the nixed trade proposal of shortstop Eduardo Escobar for Dillon Gee. Escobar, in 133 games for the Twins last year, slashed .275/.315/.406 with 6 HR and 37 RBIS. Defensively, in 98 games at shortstop, the 26 year old Venezuelan had five errors to go along with – 6 DRS and a 2.1 UZR. Alderson clearly didn’t see Escobar as enough of an upgrade to pull a deal for Gee, who appears to be the odd man out of the rotation. The Rangers and Twins could be taking their names out of any Gee talk after the acquisitions of Ross Detwiler and Ervin Santana respectively.
The shortstop market is a thin one, as Alderson has continuously said and reflective by Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Drew, and Jed Lowrie’s continued availability. The Yankees got their shortstop via a trade for Didi Gregorious to replace Derek Jeter, and the Dodgers landed Jimmy Rollins among others in their flurry of trades and signings to play shortstop. Considering many view Cabrera and Lowrie as second basemen going forward coupled with Drew’s awful 2014 season, the free agent trio may be on the market for a while, especially when you consider only the Oakland Athletics still have a clear need for a starting shortstop. The Mets, who appear comfortable with Flores, have the leverage of low demand if they want to let the market price drop but it appears unlikely.
As for the trade market, the Mets will have to patiently wait for Max Scherzer and James Shields to sign a deal before they can accurately corner the market for Gee or even Jon Niese; there’s little chance the Mets will go into Spring Training with both considering the other options in the rotation. So aside from today’s minor league signing of Scott Rice and yesterday’s Rule 5 drafting of Sean Gilmartin, the 40 man roster should be stable for the near future unless the Mets do decide to sign another veteran lefty for the bullpen.
Teams don’t win championships in the December; the Mets staying low-key at the Winter Meetings may be indicative of a team satisfied with the sum of their parts. Right?
Follow Sean Flattery on Twitter @SeanFlatts