Watching the Yankees-Red Sox series wasn’t just entertaining for the schadenfreude (c’mon, you know you liked seeing all those dejected Bombers fans in the crowd), it was also fun to keep an eye on the pending free agents. Regardless of who winds up in the big chair for the Mets, the team figures to be shopping for some free agent additions this winter. The Yankees, winners of 100 games this season, have nine players entering the open market. Could the Mets lure a player or two across town? Let’s have a look at the inventory.
The Mets will certainly be in the market for some offensive upgrades, but do any Yankees fit the bill? Brett Gardner is a scrappy gamer who offers long at bats, a good glove in the field and a penchant for getting on base. And, even at 35, he still has wheels. However, he’s got a team option for $12.5 million that the Yankees are likely to pick up. Even if they don’t though, the Mets are all stocked up on lefty corner outfielders. Adeiny Hechevarria is a nice glove and reserve middle infielder but with Luis Guillorme and Gavin Cecchini, as well as Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera, the Mets have plenty of in-house options for infield reserves. The versatile clubhouse favorite and former Met Neil Walker is not likely to come back to Queens at age 33. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen would have been an awesome get a few years ago, but he’s not the hitter he was and can’t really play center field anymore.
With a sturdy rotation, plus in-house depth pieces in Seth Lugo and Cory Oswalt, the Mets aren’t likely to prioritize starting pitching in free agency. However, in the event the new GM decides to sell high on Zack Wheeler or one of the other starters, the Mets would need to fill in with another starting arm. The Yankees have three hitting free agency in C.C. Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn. Happ, who went an astounding 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA with the Yankees, will be the hottest commodity, but the lefty is about to turn 35 and a likely candidate to return to the Bronx. Sabathia, now 38, seems intent on continuing his career whether with the Yankees or elsewhere. Though he’s still a solid back end pitcher, he typically can only be counted on for five innings and has had his share of knee troubles. His velocity is way down from his prime, but he still knows how to throw strikes. As much fun as it would be to see him bat in the National League, he’s probably not a good target for the Mets. The 31-year-old Lance Lynn, has been a steady workhorse, but coming off an uneven year. Should the Mets need a starter, he could make sense as a back-of-the-rotation innings eater.
Former closer David Robertson looked like his old dominant self against the Red Sox, busting hitters inside with tailing fastballs and keeping them off-balance with a sweeping slurve. The sturdy righty has appeared in at least 60 games every year since 2010 and could be just the arm the Mets need – a reliable closer who would come a lot cheaper than Craig Kimbrel. Ideally, the Mets reel in Robertson and still have the money to bring in a secondary closer – someone who can play the Addison Reed role and lock down the eighth inning and close when needed. Someone like Zach Britton. The 30-year-old lefty missed the first half of the season recovering from Achilles surgery, but was pretty solid for the Yankees in September. He may never be as dominant again as he was with the Orioles a few years ago, but he’d make a heck of a setup man.