With a whopping 11 players set for free agency, the Mets will get a winter transformation that could be both refreshing and shocking. Moving on from last year’s disappointment will be easier with a new cast, but without any discernible leadership at the moment as they still fail to find a new GM, the Mets could also end up as their offense of the last season: swing and lack.
At most, they realistically bring back two or three of these guys. But if the team prioritizes their list of free agents, it probably follows something similar to that order.
11) Dellin Bétances
Betances have just completed a season-ending shoulder surgery and have pitched all 13.1 innings since the end of the 2018 season.
At this point, he’ll be lucky enough to get an unlisted invite to spring training, and that almost certainly won’t come from the Mets.
10) Heath Hembree
Playing for four different teams over the past two seasons, Hembree has a 7.29 ERA.
His best stretch of the past two years has come for the Mets, however, who still won’t jump out of their chair to sign a guy who gave them 15 helpful appearances.
9) Rich hill
Hill has shown all the indications he can still throw. He also said after his last start to the season that he still wanted and still planned to pitch.
The point is, he’s 41, however. If the Mets want to strengthen the end of their rotation, they can do so in the form of pitchers 12 to 15 years younger than Hill and deliver more value going forward.
8) Brad the hand
Prior to joining the Mets, Hand was designated to be assigned by the Blue Jays, a competing team who specifically identified him as an upgrade to the relievers’ pen. Toronto retired after just 8.2 innings as their deadline acquisition totaled 13 hits and seven earned runs during that span.
If Hand can touch his beloved slider again – he had an evil 42.7% puff rate on the pitch at the start of the year, which dropped to 27.9% last season – then he might at new to be fine. The skated southpaw’s performance in 2021 didn’t inspire much confidence, however, and especially with a much deeper pool of up-and-coming talent available in the free agent class, the Mets need not pay for Hand.
7) Jeurys Familia
Familia unofficially announced her departure on October 2 when she took to Instagram to thank the organization. Writing that fans “will always be a big part of my life” in his caption, the volatile reliever seemed to mentally push the Mets into the rearview mirror.
Three consecutive replacement seasons or worse also give the Mets no reason to reunite with the man who won their last World Series trip.
6) Jonathan Villar
Bringing Villar back in particular isn’t very important in and of itself, but having someone the Mets feel comfortable playing third base with every day is. Villar’s speed, versatility and punching bat might make him a more acceptable option than JD Davis, who would benefit from a change of scenery.
5) Aaron Wolf
His show ending the 2021 season could very well turn out to be a mirage. After all, Loup hadn’t pitched 40 innings in a season since 2017, and in his 56.2 innings in 2021, he set career records in strikeout percentage, wins over substitution and batting average of his opponents while setting the franchise single-season record for ERA by one reliever.
It was a godsend for Wolf in terms of getting cash at the end of his career, but many in the industry will wonder if his heavenly year was an outlier. Still, the Atlanta championship run has proven once again how important a deep backup corps is, and if Wolf throws another season even 75% as strong as his 2021, the Mets will be kicking themselves out. foot if it’s for a different team.
4) Noah Syndergaard
The story of the arm injuries and subsequent setbacks is undoubtedly troubling, but while Syndergaard can be healthy, the team know firsthand how special he can be. The question now is whether they are willing to risk a lot of money.
The chances of Syndergaard accepting his qualifying offer of $ 18.4million over one year are slim as the 29-year-old will want his first multi-year contract.
3) Michel Conforto
As they did with Syndergaard, the Mets also extended a qualifying offer to Conforto. Given the gravity of his 2021 season, the outfielder may struggle to find takers for a long-term deal, so he’s slightly more likely to accept the qualifying offer.
The difference between Syndergaard and Conforto is that concerns about the former are based on injury, while concerns about the latter clearly stem from a below-average season. Bringing the kid out of the country with the qualifying offer would essentially be a ‘prove it’ deal, but it might be worth it if he starts hitting again.
2) Marcus Stroman
In each of the four seasons he’s made at least 30 starts, including last year, Stroman has garnered at least 3.0 wins over substitution.
That makes him an ideal and reliable starter behind Jacob deGrom, but Stroman could legitimately campaign for $ 100 million on his next contract.
Steve Cohen can afford it, but whether he wants to pay for it is a whole other question.
1) Javier Baez
While Stroman is awesome, Baez plays every day. As a positional player, Baez can have a bigger impact than a starter who passes once every five days. Recovering Baez would also relieve the sting of losing hope Pete Crow-Armstrong. Trading him and then potentially losing Baez after just a few months could come back to haunt the team in a big way.
Having Baez in control of the squad for the next four or five years would also appease Francisco Lindor, who was quick to express his desire to share the midfield with his childhood friend.