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.
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.
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?
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.