We never really know what’s going to happen in a given offseason. Well, maybe we could have said “nothing” for the 1979 Mets and been more or less right. But we knew last year that the Mets were going to spend a lot of money – even if we didn’t necessarily know on which players – and we don’t have that this go round. They could open up Steve Cohen’s checkbook once again and play at the top of the market. Or they could sign multiple players, even if they’re closer to the discount bin. We know moves will be made, as they can’t go into the year with fewer than 30 players on the 40-man roster.

Below is the list of FanGraphs’ top 50 free agents. Without regards to an overall plan – no, the Mets won’t sign 20 or more of these guys – here’s a sentence or two with my thoughts with each player.

Shohei Ohtani – Before September, he was my top target. Now, with the injury which will keep him off the mound all of 2024, my interest has cooled considerably.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto – It will be disappointing to me if the Mets don’t sign him

Cody Bellinger – Last year was great but check out what came before that. Too risky for my tastes, especially given what he’ll likely pull down given his age.

Aaron Nola – Thought a move away from Citizens Bank Park might have been good for him (and the Phillies’ defense, too) but he’s actually pitched better at home than on the road.

Blake Snell – He’s really good. But you’d hope for more than a five-inning pitcher for the money he’ll get.

Jordan Montgomery – He’s exceeded 10 fWAR the past three seasons and it’s not too hard to see him getting a five-year deal. Part of my Plan B if Yamamoto gets away.

Matt Chapman – Don’t like the message it would send if the Mets signed him and blocked two or three prospects, regardless of how underwhelming those prospects were a season ago.

Sonny Gray – He was great last year but he’s a little older and a little more of an injury concern than you’d prefer.

Eduardo Rodriguez – A little younger and a little more of an injury-risk than Gray. If the Mets get two high-profile SP, he would be ok as the second one.

Josh Hader – Seems like a guy who needs to be the closer and the Mets already have that guy

Marcus Stroman – Did he burn too many bridges on his way out the door? If he would fit in the clubhouse, he’s be a very nice addition.

Shota Imanga – Sure, if the Mets sign three SP, he could be the third.

Jeimer Candelario – A flyer on a one-year deal but as the third-best hitter on the list, it seems like he’ll get more than that from some other tam.

Jung-Hoo Lee – Young enough to be worth a multi-year deal, so long as you’re willing to suffer with some growing pains as he adapts from KBO to MLB. But if the Mets’ timetable is really 2025 or 2026, he makes a lot of sense.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – A lifetime .813 OPS vs. LHP certainly makes him interesting. But he’s more of a backup plan for me.

Lucas Giolito – Can Jeremy Hefner fix him? Another guy that would be nice as the third of three SP.

Mitch Garver – Rakes against LHP, with a lifetime .885 OPS. Mets wouldn’t need him to catch so could he stay healthy being just a DH? Would love him on a one-year deal with a team option.

Kevin Kiermaier – Still a strong defensive player, although nowhere near as good as he once was. He could be a value on a WAR/dollar basis but not someone to do cartwheels if he signs.

Jorge Soler – How much do you want to pay for a DH? Younger than Garver and likely to be healthier, too. Will probably get more years than the Mets should give him.

Rhys Hoskins – Trying to come back from a torn ACL. My preference would be to let another team take that risk.

Teoscar Hernandez – He had a .342 BABIP and only a 1.8 fWAR last year. Like a bunch of others on this list, he’s interesting as a righty power bat. A guy to keep tabs on if his market craters.

Seth Lugo – Not sure if Lugo would consider it but the Mets should.

Harrison Bader – A fourth outfielder to me.

Michael Wacha – His FIP has gone down in three straight seasons after his Covid year with the Mets. Another fallback option.

Kyle Gibson – Signed with the Cardinals.

Jack Flaherty – Young enough to be worth a flyer.

J.D. Martinez – Mets could use his bat but unless he hates LA, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers letting him get away.

Yuki Matsui – The Mets need multiple relievers but do you want to hand out the multi-year deal it would take to get him?

Brandon Belt – Love the player but it’s hard to imagine an older, injury-prone LHB being a priority for the Mets.

Adam Duvall – Could be a nice 300-PA guy but my guess is other teams would offer him a bigger role.

Justin Turner – It would certainly feed the LOLMets crowd if the Mets cut ties with Turner right before he broke out and then brought him back when the fork was just about to be inserted.

Jordan Hicks – Is he willing to go to a team with little or no shot to be the closer? If so, the Mets should definitely be in the market.

Yariel Rodriguez – My first choice would be Hicks but could see Rodriguez as a nice option, too.

Michael A. Taylor – You never hear about him being a platoon option but he has a lifetime 89-point advantage in OPS versus LHP and last year had a .914 mark in 112 PA versus lefties. Would definitely be interested in him as a fourth outfielder.

Gary Sanchez – He’ll simply be worth more to other teams than he would be to the Mets.

Michael Brantley – Too old and too injured.

Reynaldo Lopez – He was someone promoted by me as a guy to sign back in October but he’s already inked a deal with the Braves.

Kenta Maeda – A fallback to the fallbacks.

Wade Miley – He’s better than you think, even if that’s a low bar to clear. Probably a better bet than Maeda at this point.

Tommy Pham – Probably wants to be a starter, which puts him above my interest level.

Luis Severino – There’s been buzz connecting him with the Mets and he’s an upside play if the price is right.

James Paxton – He’s four years older than Severino but if the Mets are trying to make the playoffs next season, he might be the better option.

Brent Suter – My guess is that other teams will like him more than me. Wouldn’t mind at all seeing him on the Mets but a high-dollar, multi-year deal is too rich for my blood.

Sean Manaea – Seems like a guy that a club should sign with the idea of flipping him at the trade deadline if he’s any good. The Mets were (unfortunately) that type of team last year but are they that one in 2024, too?

Robert Stephenson – Was great last year after he joined the Rays. Brooks Raley proved a reliever could still be good after leaving Tampa, so the Mets should be interested.

Amed Rosario – Just not a good fit for the 2024 Mets.

Alex Wood – He might be a great fit as a longman/spot starter but can’t see why you wouldn’t give internal options that shot.

Joc Pederson – Doesn’t seem like a great fit but he’s also just one year removed from a 146 OPS+. Could be one of those “opportunistic” signings Cohen mentioned.

Tim Anderson – This is a high-risk, high-reward player. But it’s a gamble for another team.

Nick Martinez – Some team will pay him more for his uncertain role than where my comfort level sits.

28 comments on “Mets-related thoughts on FanGraphs’ top 50 free agents

  • Woodrow

    Second tier guys I like,Rodriguez,Giolito,Severino and Soler,Hernandez,Duval and Hicks,Stephenson,Rodriguez

  • ChrisF

    Doesn’t seem like you like many on this list, perhaps 5 or 6 with most as pitchers. I think one thing that we are all at odds with, and which places fans more on the side of owners, is handing out shorter contracts, ya know: I’d like this guy, but not at 4 years etc. unfortunately, the added years are a real part of the game unless you really jack up the AAV or look almost exclusively for pillow contracts, or, i suppose, the geriatric class with 1 year deals.

    Im not even sure myself what i would do with the list above, but the fact is we need a half dozen pitchers alone, and possibly a DH unless its all chips in on Vientos/Mauricio/???

  • Metsense

    There are many holes to fill. Your thoughts on each free agent is enlightening. These are my top free agent picks in each position . The Mets should get younger not older.
    One top pitcher: 1-Yamamoto 2 Montgomery 3- Rodriguez
    One SP#3 or SP#4 : 1- Giolito 2- Imanaga 3- Flaherty 4- Severino
    One OF: 1- Gurriel 2- Lee 3- Bellinger
    Two Set up Men: 1-Hicks 2- Rodriguez 3- Matsui 4-Peralta
    One Tier 2 reliever: 1-Stephenson 2- doesn’t matter

  • TexasGusCC

    A nice read and I can’t even disagree with any of it (not Brian’s style, LOL). It seems like everyone is on the same page, but I would like to make sure the Baby Mets get a better shot. In all, while the offense was less than the year before, a return by Marte and a little more spirit than they showed in August and late June would be enough. Pitching, pitching, and more pitching is the need.

    Off topic: a different top 50 list I found… wow.

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks for the link. While I have a lot of problems with their ordered list, the scouting reports are very helpful. It doesn’t say when the list was created but given some of the names on it, it was after the trade deadline. But it wasn’t at the end of the year. I’m not a big backer of his but it was surprising to me that Nick Morabito wasn’t on it. Joander Suarez is missing, too.

  • Mike W

    Yamamoto goes without saying as the first choice. I also like Montgomery. I think that Severino could be a nice pickup.

    Justin Turner would be great on a short deal. Could play third and DH.

    The bullpen is another story. We need at least three relievers, maybe four.

    Please forgive me fans, but I don’t want McNeil playing left field. We need someone with more pop.

    • TexasGusCC

      Mike, I agree on McNeil in LF. It not just the pop, but he doesn’t have an outfielder’s arm. Also, McNeil as an infielder is a very good player; as an outfielder, no better than average.

      • Mike W

        McNeil may be valuable if he hits .320, but not .270. No real speed and and ok with the glove.

  • NYM6986

    I’d imagine that this is what the free agent pool looks like each year with most being someone you would need to take a chance on, versus the first tier that would simply make your team stronger, without having to make excuses. Our problem, as noted in the comments, is that we have some significant pieces that need to be filled, and filling them with hopefuls, or someone who had an outlier season after a few year of decline, appears costly and without a strong probability to succeed. Pham as a fourth outfielder and Stroman as a starter makes sense, but I believe they have burned their Mets bridge with their negative comments. With money not being a hurdle, signing Yamamoto is as big a must have as it is not letting him sign elsewhere. If there is a 3B to trade for then Baty and Vientos could be included in a deal, but I’d keep Mauricio based on his potential and speed, something dramatically missing on this team. Free agents, some close to the end of their playing days, are looking for a payday but more importantly, with all of the contracts being in the millions, are searching for that WS ring. How many of them are looking at the Mets, and think we are not ready for that step, so instead they look to sign with the Rangers, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers, Astros, etc. We will soon see how smart Stearns is, but can’t we sign someone already and give something for the fan base to cheer about?

    • Mike W

      Amen NYM. What is Stearns waiting for. This is not Milwaukee.

  • James Preller

    Brian on Chapman: “Don’t like the message it would send if the Mets signed him and blocked two or three prospects, regardless of how underwhelming those prospects were a season ago.”

    While I’m not advocating for Chapman, I think the Mets must do something at 3B. An Escobar type. Because Baty failed the audition spectacularly — and can’t field at all — and while I find much to like about Mauricio, the Mets can’t go into the season believing he’s the everyday 3B and it will all work out fine. That brand of thinking helped sink 2023.

    I get the hesitation on Turner. I’m hoping for a trade option where somebody can play 3B part-time and hit a little bit. Polanco?

    It is very, very possible that the Mets do not currently possess a 3B of the future.

    Second point: As my pal often tells me, free agency is like shopping in a badly stocked supermarket. There’s no bread, some of the meat has turned rancid, the tomatoes look good, there’s still a few cans of chick peas, and there’s one really awesome piece of brisket left.

    You can’t build a team that way. You can only supplement.

  • Dan Capwell

    Yamamoto is the key to the Mets future IMO. If they can’t sign him, they should figure out how they are going to get the next best under 30 starting pitcher to come here.

    That is probably going to mean a trade, which means a core player like a Pete Alonso or Jeff McNeil going the other way. It’s going to hurt, but it’s the only way. Old timers like me can remember the Lee Mazzilli trade. “Maz” was the face of a very bad Mets team, and it looked like he was traded for a pair of nobodies. One of those turned out to be Ron Darling. There was also the trade of the useful and versatile Bob Bailor a year later for a guy named Sid Fernandez. Both of those trades got a “WTF” reaction, but without them, no 1986 WS Champs.

    • Bob P

      The other pitcher the Mets received in the Mazzilli trade was Walt Terrell, who was a solid starter for the Mets for a couple of years, and then was flipped for Howard Johnson. That trade worked out really well for the Mets, plus they got Maz back during the 86 season, albeit later in his career.

    • Brian Joura

      No one I knew was the tiniest bit concerned about losing Bob Bailor. If anything, whatever little concern there was centered around losing Carlos Diaz.

      “Bill Conlin of The Sporting News had an intriguing comment after the deal: “You can find more big league scouts who are high on lefthanded reliever Carlos Diaz than on former Dodger strikeout phenom Sid Fernandez.” Conlin also said that Cashen was “rolling the dice” and that Dodgers general manager Al Campanis seldom made mistakes with young players.


      “That article noted that with Howe suspended for the year, the Dodgers were still counting on Diaz as the left-handed “stopper” out of their bullpen in 1984.”

      Carlos Diaz

    • Mike W

      Let’s not forget wunderkind Calvin Schiraldi for Bob Ojeda.

  • BoomBoom

    Starting to hear some whispers about an Alex Bregman trade. How would you feel about 1 yr of Bregman, with a possible extension?

    I agree that Yamamoto is the key this offseason. And the Mets can easily afford both Yamamoto and another tier 1 pitcher but I would like to see a trade for Bieber or Glasnow. A rotation of Yamamoto, Glasnow, Senga, Quintana, and depth would be pretty fearsome if all healthy. None of the offensive players get me all that excited and feel like all the money this offseason should be spent on pitching – starters and relievers. I’d be high on Stephenson, Matt Moore, Brent Suter, Jordan Hicks. The staff could look like this then:

    SP 1 Glasnow
    SP 2 Yamamoto
    SP 3 Senga
    SP 4 Quintana
    SP 5 Luchessi
    SP 6 Butto
    7. Swingman McGill
    8. Closer Diaz
    9. 8th inning Hicks
    10/11 Raley/Moore
    12. Stephenson
    13. Drew Smith

    • Brian Joura

      FWIW, your posts would be better with attribution. It makes it more credible when you provide a link to the Metsmerized story about this rumor than if the source is Vinny from Queens on talk radio.

      • BoomBoom

        It wasn’t from Metsmerized, it was from Jim Duquette on MLB Network radio. Metsmerized heard it there as well. But point taken.

    • Mike W

      I would notvtrade for Glasnow. His career high in innings pitched was 2023 with 120 innings. He is a walking DL.

    • Metsense

      Glasgow has a salary of $25m in 2025. If the Mets are to trade for a one year rental then Shane Bieber ( est $12.2m) and Corbin Burnes ( est $15.1m) would be less expensive.

      • Metsense

        Edit Glasgow in 2024 not 2025 had a salary of $25m. It was a back loaded salary.

  • Paulc

    Top targets should be Yamamoto, Montgomery, and Hoskins. Not sure what to think of Severino, maybe if he takes a 1-2 year prove-it deal in the event Mets can’t sign both Yamamoto and Montgomery or swing a trade for Glasnow. On Hoskins, an ACL does not seem an injury to recur on a bat-first player, unlike a speedster. Hoskins might be a buy-low power bat to fill the DH hole and provide insurance if Alonso is traded or walks next year.

    As for the bullpen, I find relievers are really a matter of luck in any given year, so it’s always a crap-shoot. Sign a few cheap guys with high K/9 rates and see what happens.

  • TexasGusCC

    If you guys want to laugh, The Athletic has the top ten worse contracts right now still on the books in MLB. The #10 spot belongs to DeGrom, #1-9 are all Scott Boras clients. LOL

    • Brian Joura

      According to B-R, which lists agents on their player pages, here are the reps for the guys listed in The Athletic article:

      deGrom – VC Sports Group
      Rodon – Boras
      Sale – Wasserman
      Corbin – ISE Management
      Story – Wasserman
      Baez – Wasserman
      Bryant – Boras
      Stanton – Wasserman
      Rendon – Boras
      Strasburg – Boras

      For three of the non-Boras players, it lists a previous agency. Boras was not one of those three.

    • AgingBull

      I enjoyed reading that article too, Gus. On one hand, those contracts are all horrible. On the other hand, one could predict these when they were signed. From my standpoint, I think the only one that I thought was a good deal (for the team!) when it was signed was Rendon. Every other one looked bad at the time and nightmarish now. The Mets dodged several bullets by not signing Baez, Correa, or DeGrom.

      I would like to see a companion article about these 8 and 9-figure contracts that are working out well. It is too early to call Lindor’s contract a win, but he’s definitely had a nice ROI thus far. What 6+ year deals have worked out well for a starting pitcher in recent history?

      • Brian Joura

        Off the top of my head I’d say Verlander with Detroit, Scherzer with the Nats and Cole with the Yankees.

        • AgingBull

          Good call on Max and Verlander. Full disclosure – I really do not like Cole. That said, at $36M/year, he should regularly put up about 6-7 WAR and in his three years with that other NY team, he’s averaging a little over 5. That may not be the fairest measure but there’s still about 6 years left for him to deliver.

          I hate the long-term contracts for pitchers because of the injury risk or even just losing a little off their fastball or an edge to their breaking stuff. But the market is what it is and I am happy for Cohen to spend his money.

          • Brian Joura

            Regardless of how you feel about a pitcher, it’s pretty unrealistic to expect someone putting up 6-7 WAR per year over an extended span. In the 2021-2023 time frame, the pitcher with the most fWAR – Zack Wheeler – has a 17.3 total, which is under 6 per year.

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