Well, the Winter Meetings: 2017 Edition are winding down. I trust a few people had some fun in the sun of Orlando and I am supremely confident that more than a few mojitos were guzzled by the grizzled. All that’s left is the Rule 5 draft, wherein a couple of teams will try to strike gold, panning for overlooked minor league talent. For Mets fans – who need a second baseman, in case you haven’t heard – the Rule 5 draft will forever conjure up images of the immortal Brad Emaus, the plucky infielder whom the Mets took at the 2010 Meetings. He earned the Opening Day starting nod the following April, stuck around for 37 at-bats and hit a robust .162.
Anyway, the Mets will come away from the meetings having bolstered their bullpen a bit, at the very least. The signing of reliever Anthony Swarzak has been their only move of the gathering so far, and at first flush, it looks like a solid deal. Swarzak provided some quality innings last year, split between the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, and one of the Mets’ top priorities going in was to shore up the ‘pen. The problem is, there is much left to do and we fans cannot be sure if the team has the wherewithal to do it. They need the aforementioned second baseman, a “real” third baseman – converted veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is number one on the depth chart at this writing – another outfielder and, possibly, a starting pitcher. For right now, let’s concentrate on the vacancies in the infield. There’s been some brave talk about the Mets being “in” on a potential Manny Machado deal with the Baltimore Orioles, but they have neither the talent to offer, nor – apparently – the cash to lock up the All-Star infielder long-term. Machado is a pipe dream at best. As for whom they’ve been linked to for second base, the names are less than thrilling: Josh Harrison, Jason Kipnis, Cesar Hernandez or a reunion with Neil Walker. No. Their best bet might be free agent from right across town.
Todd Frazier is a quality hitter with power, coming off a down year in terms of batting average. He was a huge cog for a young Yankee team that came within a whisper of reaching the World Series last year. He is a third baseman by trade — Cabrera could shift to the less physically demanding second base for now – and he can play first as well, thus easing some of the pressure on young Dominic Smith at that position. Besides which, he’s a local from New Jersey, and has the reputation of being a clubhouse leader. Now let’s see, where have we heard this before? A free agent from the Yankees, who is a professional hitter and a good guy to have from a leadership standpoint? Sounds an awful lot like Curtis Granderson to me. If the Mets can sign Frazier to a reasonable deal, he would seem perfect to fill that leadership void left when David Wright got broken beyond repair and Granderson was traded. We know Frazier can hit at Citi Field; he did a pretty good job tattooing the Mets when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Meetings may be over, but there’s a lot of winter left. Here’s hoping the Mets can make the most of it.
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