This will be a big winter for the Mets.
What looked like a World Series team went sideways at the end, letting the NL East crown slip away to the Braves before a wild card round no-show against the Padres. And now the front office must not only retain its own key free agents but also look to add to a roster that won 101 games, but fell short when it mattered.
Here are five position players the Mets should be in on:
Yankees RF Aaron Judge. Judge is on the wrong side of 30 but will command a potentially historic contract after his epic 62-homer prove-it season. Would Judge accept a blank check to move across town? The Mets have the money, and Judge would make a formidable duo with Pete Alonso. But there are a lot of factors involved and early indications suggest Judge is a long shot to land with the Mets.
Cubs C Wilson Contreras. The Mets did not swing a deal for Contreras at the trade deadline. But now they can just sign him to address one of their main weaknesses. Contreras has a stellar 2022 with a career-best 128 OPS+ and his third All-Star nod. The Mets’ catcher situation for the past few seasons has been bad. We know Francisco Álvarez should be in the big leagues from the start next year. But putting him in a catcher/designated hitter platoon with Contreras is not the worst idea.
Astros DH Trey Mancini: Another name the Mets were connected to at the deadline. Mancini was a star for the Orioles and is now three wins from a ring in Houston. It’s unlikely he re-signs there, though. And he would be a good fit for the Mets on a short-term deal. They need more production and power at DH.
Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier. This could be Plan B if the Mets cannot re-sign Brandon Nimmo. After ten seasons in Tampa Bay, Kiermaier will turn 33 next year, but he still brings a plus glove. His bat is average at best, but the Mets may be OK with less production at the plate in return for improved defense. One major question mark is health. Kiermaier has played 130-plus games in a season only once.
Dodgers 3B Justin Turner. The Mets certainly don’t need another third baseman, with Bret Baty, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Vientos all expected back. But Turner has a club option with the Dodgers this winter after a tough 2022. If the ex-Met hits the market, he could return after becoming a star in Los Angeles. Turner would be another option at third as well as a DH possibility.
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