Mets free agency and trade buzz: Chris Bassitt reportedly seeking contract longer than three years
Here is the latest free agency and trade buzz surrounding the Mets…
Dec. 3, 8:00 p.m.
Chris Bassitt remains a free agent, and Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the RHP is looking for a contract that’s longer than three years.
The Mets don’t sound enthusiastic about going to four or five years with Bassitt, per the report. With Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, the Mets are pivoting to bring either Justin Verlander or Carlos Rodon to New York along with a middle of the rotation pitcher.
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets were looking at Andrew Heaney, Kyle Gibson — who reportedly signed with the Baltimore Orioles — Taijuan Walker, Ross Stripling, Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga to fill that role.
In his first season with the Mets in 2022, Bassitt had a 3.42 ERA (3.66 FIP) and 1.14 WHIP with 167 strikeouts in 181.2 innings over 30 starts.
Dec. 3, 1:05 p.m.
Following Jacob deGrom‘s signing with the Texas Rangers, the Mets are still in active talks with several starting pitchers in addition to Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon, according to SNY’s Andy Martino.
According to Marino, former Yankees starter Jameson Taillon is among those pitchers the Mets are in discussions with, although there are many teams interested in him. Former Los Angeles Dodger Andrew Heaney is another starter the Mets have had talks with.
Kyle Gibson was on the Mets’ list, but he reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday morning.
Martino reported Friday that the Mets are determined to land either Verlander or Rodon, plus a mid-rotation starter.
Dec. 3, 10:32 a.m.
The Baltimore Orioles are among the teams interested in free-agent pitcher Carlos Rodon, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.
The Mets, Yankees and likely the San Francisco Giants are other teams that are also in on the lefty.
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Mets spoke to Rodon via Zoom this week and will now circle back to him after Jacob deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers. The Mets are determined to sign either Rodon or free-agent pitcher Justin Verlander, per Martino.
Rodon has earned All-Star appearances the last two seasons, going 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA with the Chicago White Sox in 2021 and then going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA with the Giants in 2022.
Dec. 2, 5:35 p.m.
The Phillies are set to meet with the top four free-agent shortstops this offseason, including Mets target Trea Turner.
According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, Philadelphia has scheduled meetings with Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. The report also states that the Phillies are looking to quickly sign one of the star shortstops even before the Winter Meetings end Wednesday.
Turner has been described to The Athletic as the Phillies’ “No. 1 choice” and they will have sit-downs with all four shortstops before the Winter Meetings begin on Sunday.
SNY’s Andy Martino previously reported from the GM Meetings in Las Vegas that the Mets have been internally discussing Turner “for a long time,” knowing that he was about to hit free agency.
Dec. 1, 1:37 p.m.
Mets GM Billy Eppler said on Thursday that “talks are continuing to advance on a number of fronts in a number of demographics” as the Mets talk to free agent pitchers and position players.
“There’s some more clarity,” Eppler told reporters on Thursday during a Zoom to reintroduce Edwin Diaz. “As that continues to happen and as those conversations continue to happen, you get a sense of things that kind of fall into reality, or maybe some things that — where the gap just provides too great to kind of bridge that. It’s all the discovery process, and we’re moving towards being able to identify more realities.”
Asked specifically about Jacob deGrom and the Mets’ needs in the rotation, Eppler noted:
“Without getting into specifics, I can just say I’m having active and pretty regular dialogue on a number of fronts. There’s the volume of phone calls and connections that we’re making on a daily basis — starting and relief and the position player market. It’s pretty constant. That’s the update.”
Pressed further about deGrom and whether the Mets needed clarity on his future before acting elsewhere, Eppler seemed to suggest that the deGrom domino doesn’t have to fall first.
“I wouldn’t say that’s critically important,” Eppler said. “We’ve assessed the market, and we’ve had enough dialogue to try to get a sense of what we think is going to be a reality. We are positioned to be able to execute other things if it makes sense, and we get close enough. We don’t need one thing to happen first before other things can become a reality.”
Nov. 30, 10:07 a.m.
The Mets are “hoping for a return” of free agent RHP Chris Bassitt, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN, who adds that the “behind-the-scenes action” involving Bassitt could lead to him signing during the Winter Meetings that begin on Dec. 4.
Bassitt, who is entering his age-34 season, rejected the Mets’ one-year qualifying offer earlier this offseason.
In his first season with the Mets in 2022, Bassitt had a 3.42 ERA (3.66 FIP) and 1.14 WHIP with 167 strikeouts in 181.2 innings over 30 starts.
It is reasonable to believe Bassitt could receive a deal in the three-year range worth around $20 million per season.
The Mets have been prioritizing a reunion with Jacob deGrom, and have also had meetings with Carlos Rodon and Justin Verlander, SNY’s Andy Martino has reported.
The Mets also met with Japanese ace Kodai Senga, per Martino.
Nov. 28, 2:20 p.m.
Free agent first baseman/DH Jose Abreu is finalizing a deal with the Houston Astros, per multiple reports.
Abreu’s contract with Houston will be for three years, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The Mets, who have a hole to fill at DH, could’ve made sense as a fit for Abreu. However, SNY’s Andy Martino reported Monday that the Mets’ “expectation is to go internal” at DH.
The Mets went internal at DH to start the 2022 season, using a platoon of J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith that failed. They then traded for lefty Daniel Vogelbach and righty Darin Ruf to form a new DH platoon.
Vogelbach performed relatively well, and the Mets picked up his option for the 2023 season. Ruf struggled badly, and it’s hard to see him being back with the Mets in 2023 (he’s under contract and set to earn $3 million).
In addition to Vogelbach, internal DH options for the Mets this coming season could include Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, and Mark Vientos, who all got a brief taste of the majors in 2022.
Nov. 26, 10:00 a.m.
The Mets are reportedly interested in bringing back right-hander Adam Ottavino this offseason, depending on his asking price, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Ottavino certainly set himself up for a nice payday after a strong first season in the Mets bullpen and is said to be seeking a multi-year deal.
Billy Eppler and company reportedly would prefer to avoid anything longer than a one-year deal.
Ottavino was one of the Mets’ most reliable relievers not named Edwin Diaz last season. The 37-year-old posted a 2.06 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 79 strikeouts in 65.2 innings. His 30.6 percent K-rate jumped up five percent from 2021 and finished in the 89th percentile in baseball.
One arm the Mets are less confident about retaining is Seth Lugo. Sources reportedly have told Puma that the right-hander is still yet to hear from New York this offseason.
Some teams may be willing to sign Lugo to a multi-year deal as a starting pitcher this offseason. The Mets, however, view him as a reliever moving forward.
The bullpen certainly will be towards the top of the Mets’ priority list this offseason. Perhaps they’ll look to make a splash or two at the upcoming Winter Meetings.
Nov. 23, 8:48 a.m.
The Mets have been in contact with a bunch of free-agent pitchers, including Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Japanese ace Kodai Senga.
Signing both deGrom and Verlander would probably add roughly $90 million to the payroll annually, but could the Mets sign deGrom and Senga?
In addition to the Mets, the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers have been mentioned as possibilities for deGrom, and the Yankees recently requested his medicals, reported SNY’s Andy Martino.
The Yanks also checked in on Senga, per Jon Morosi of MLB Network, but Martino doesn’t think deGrom or Senga will ultimately wind up in the Bronx.
Both of them landing in Queens is possible, though.
“I don’t think the Yankees are signing deGrom or Senga — that’s the feeling I have from reporting,” Martino said on Tuesday on Baseball Night in New York on SNY. “I think the Mets could end up with them both.”
While deGrom could be seeking a deal that pays him $45 million per season, the estimates from some experts on Senga’s contract have pegged him around $15 million per season.
Nov. 21, 10:23 a.m.
The Mets have been in contact with RHP Jameson Taillon, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Taillon, 31, was not extended a one-year qualifying offer by the Yankees. That means he will not be attached to draft pick compensation.
In 2022 for the Yankees, Taillon had a 3.91 ERA (3.94 FIP) and 1.12 WHIP with 151 strikeouts in 177.1 innings over 32 starts. Those 32 starts matched a career-high — Taillon also made 32 starts in 2018 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In addition to Taillon, the Mets also have interest in Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga — as SNY’s Andy Martino reported last week.
Meanwhile, the Mets remain engaged with Jacob deGrom‘s camp.
Nov. 20, 6:26 p.m.
The Mets spoke with Justin Verlander, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
New York and Verlander talked last week on Zoom, according to Rosenthal.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported Nov. 15 that the Mets were “considering whether or not to pursue” Verlander as Jacob deGrom tests free agency.
“The idea of signing Verlander to a high average annual value contract like Max Scherzer‘s has been floating around the Mets front office for months, and it remains a topic of discussion,” Martino wrote.
“The central question — a very difficult one to answer — is who makes for a better bet to stay healthy: Verlander, coming off a presumed Cy Young season but about to turn 40, or deGrom, 34 years old but unable to stay on the field for the past two seasons?
“The best answer is probably that neither is a good bet, but the Mets have financial resources and are at least mulling the idea of Verlander. They remain engaged with deGrom’s camp, and of course have checked in on just about every free agent or trade option imaginable.”
Verlander, who turns 40 on Feb. 20, “is expected to command a multi-year contract with an average salary in the range of Scherzer‘s record $43.3 million,” according to Rosenthal.
Nov. 17, 9:55 p.m.
The Mets reportedly had their much-anticipated meeting with Japanese pitching star, Kodai Senga recently and it went well, according to The Athletic.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported earlier this week that the Mets are forging ahead with a pursuit of Senga.
It should be noted that Mets GM Billy Eppler has extensive experience scouting in Japan, going back to his time with the Yankees. As the GM who signed Shohei Ohtani in Los Angeles, he carries extra name recognition in that baseball community.
Nov. 16, 8:49 a.m.
Justin Verlander is seeking a deal similar to the one Mets ace Max Scherzer signed last offseason, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
The Mets signed Scherzer to a three-year deal worth $130 million, which gave him the highest average annual value ever for a pitcher at $43.3 million.
Scherzer was 37 years old when he signed that deal and turned 38 this past July, while Verlander will turn 40 in February — about a month before the start of the 2023 season.
Crane noted to MLB.com that he hoped the absence of a state income tax in Texas could give the Astros an advantage.
“I know him well, so we’ve been pretty candid,” Crane told MLB.com. “He’s looking at the comp, which I think there’s only one or two. … J.V.’s probably got a few years left, and he wants to make the most of it. I think he’s going to test the market on that.”
Nov. 15, 10:56 a.m.
The Mets are considering whether to pursue Verlander, reports SNY’s Andy Martino, who adds that the idea of signing Verlander to a high average annual value contract “has been floating around the Mets front office for months.”
Verlander, who will turn 40 years old before the start of next season, recently opted out of his contract with the Houston Astros.
The possible pursuit of Verlander comes among the backdrop of Jacob deGrom‘s free agency, with the Mets viewing the Texas Rangers as serious suitors, per Martino.
Martino adds that the Mets remain engaged with deGrom’s camp.
Nov. 15, 9:17 a.m.
Writing that Justin Verlander seemed like a “good bet” to quickly re-sign with the Houston Astros, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Verlander might not have re-upped “perhaps because Verlander sees the potential for lucrative opportunities with the Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers, among others.”
Verlander, who is entering his age-40 season and is about to win the 2022 AL Cy Young award, could be a replacement for Jacob deGrom if deGrom signs elsewhere.
As far as the Dodgers, Rosenthal notes that they could pursue Verlander if Tyler Anderson rejects their qualifying offer — or even if Anderson accepts.
It seems likely that Verlander could be had on a high average annual deal for one or two seasons.
Nov. 14, 2:23 p.m.
The Mets have interest in signing free agent LHP Andrew Heaney, per multiple reports.
According to Will Sammon of The Athletic, the Mets have made initial contact with Heaney’s camp.
Heaney, 31, had a very strong 2022 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a 3.10 ERA (3.75 FIP) and 1.08 WHIP with 110 strikeouts in 72.2 innings — a whopping 13.6 per nine.
Heaney struggled badly in 2021 with the Los Angeles Angels and Yankees, and had a career ERA of 4.72 over eight big league seasons before his turnaround this past season.
On Nov. 6, SNY listed Heaney among five free agent starting pitchers the Mets should have interest in.
Nov. 13, 11:00 p.m.
The Mets and Rays have been in contact about Tampa Bay’s available pitching ahead of Tuesday’s roster-protection deadline, reports by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
The Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Los Angeles Angels have also shared the same interest with the Rays, according to MLB Network, which added that Tampa Bay was “in advanced trade negotiations.”
“At this point, industry observers expect multiple trades by the club over the next 48 hours,” Morosi wrote on Twitter.
To protect players who are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 7, teams must add players to their 40-man rosters by Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
Nov. 12, 10:40 a.m.
Rafael Montero, who was a potential bullpen target this offseason for the Mets, is off the market.
Fresh off a World Series win, Montero and the Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year, $34.5 million deal, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
In 68.1 innings over 71 appearances during the regular season, the right-hander had a 2.37 ERA (2.64 FIP) and 1.02 WHIP with 73 strikeouts.
Montero made 10 appearances in the postseason, allowing two runs in 9.1 innings (1.93 ERA) with 10 strikeouts and six walks.
Nov. 10, 7:25 p.m.
Jose Abreu is an unrestricted free agent and according to a new report it’s likely he won’t return to the White Sox.
The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reports that the White Sox are planning to move Andrew Vaughn to his natural position at first base. They are, however, leaving the door open for Abreu to return, but the “likelihood seems to be that he will go to a new team.”
With the Mets in need of more power from the right side to fill their DH spot, Abreu could fill that role. Entering his age 36 season, Abreu is coming off another great year where he hit .304 with 15 home runs and 75 RBI for the disappointing White Sox.
In his nine-year career, the Cuban native has posted a slash of .292/.354/.506 with 243 career home runs and 863 RBI.
Nov. 10, 8:51 a.m.
The Mets are considering a reunion with free agent OF Michael Conforto, reports Will Sammon of The Athletic.
As we wrote on Nov. 5, the Mets exploring Conforto makes sense — especially if they lose free agent Brandon Nimmo.
The Mets did not make a strong effort to retain Conforto last offseason after extending the qualifying offer (which Conforto rejected). Afterward, Conforto never signed with a new team and missed the entire 2022 season following shoulder surgery in April that was a result of his getting injured during offseason workouts.
Speaking on Wednesday, Scott Boras — Conforto’s agent — said there’s broad interest in his client. But it’s hard to see Conforto getting more than a one-year, prove-it deal.
Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Mets GM Billy Eppler said Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas that the team has declined its mutual option with RHP Mychal Givens.
Givens, 32, was acquired at the trade deadline from the Chicago Cubs and pitched to a 4.79 ERA over 19 appearances and 20.2 innings with New York.
Nov. 9, 5:23 p.m.
The Mets announced that they have claimed LHP Tayler Saucedo off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Saucedo has appeared in 33 major league games in his career and has pitched to a 5.40 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. In 28.1 innings pitched, the southpaw has struck out 19, walked 11 and given up four home runs.
The Hawaii native struggled in his brief time with the Blue Jays in 2022 but was especially impressive against lefties in 2021, limiting them to a .139 average in 10.1 innings.
Nov. 9, 4:20 p.m.
Agent Scott Boras spoke to reporters at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and said that Mets owner Steve Cohen signing Max Scherzer last season made the team “a championship-level organization.”
“When Steve Cohen reached out and signed Scherzer, he really raised the flag that we’re here to be a championship-level organization,” Boras said.
“And the influence of Max on a team, their intensity, the pitching staff, the audience. I think that it brought really credible illustration to what the new Met organization is about. And that had not been there for a long time, there had not been a marquee brought to Citi Field. And I think bringing that there really changed the perception of players, how they look at the Mets, what they do.
“I think Buck‘s [Showalter] role in working and dealing with players has really been something in the player community that has been an advantage for them. I think they’re very well-received in the player community, no question.”
Nov. 8, 5:47 p.m.
According to SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino, there’s been no word on a final decision by the Mets to pick up the $14 million club option on Carlos Carrasco.
However, Martino also reported that the sentiment within the organization is that picking up Carrasco’s option “makes a lot of sense” considering the team’s rotation uncertainty and many openings.
As things stand, Max Scherzer is the only starting pitcher on the team that is penciled in for the starting rotation in 2023.
Nov. 8, 9:14 a.m.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported from the GM Meetings in Las Vegas that the Mets have been internally discussing Trea Turner “for a long time,” knowing that he was about to hit free agency.
As far as whether the Mets can fit Turner within their budget, Martino theorizes that if Jacob deGrom leaves, it could make a Turner deal more palatable for New York — with Martino noting that it could “open up a lot of money to do creative things.”
DeGrom will likely be seeking $44 million annually.
Estimates have Turner, 29, receiving a deal in excess of $30 million or more annually.
Nov. 7, 7:00 p.m.
The Angels will not trade Shohei Ohtani this offseason, general manager Perry Minasian told reporters.
“Shohei Ohtani will not be moved/traded at all this off-season and will start the 2023 season with the Angels, per Perry Minasian,” Sarah Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Times tweeted.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported Nov. 1 that multiple teams saw “no appetite” from the Angels to move on from Ohtani, who has been viewed as a potential Mets target.
Nov. 7, 10:32 a.m.
As expected, both Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker opted out of their contracts with the Mets on Monday. DeGrom had made his intentions known since spring training.
As far as Walker, opting out was an easy decision, since his player option for 2023 was for only $6 million. The Mets will have the option of placing the roughly $20 million qualifying offer on Walker, who will be seeking a multiyear deal on the open market.
Additionally, SNY’s Andy Martino reported that Edwin Diaz — who agreed to a massive five-year deal on Sunday to return to the Mets — has deferrals in his contract.
Specifically, $26.5 million of the $102 million is deferred, which is intended to lower the Mets’ luxury tax number in the coming years. The number is calculated by taking the yearly average value of the contract.
Nov. 6, 1:20 p.m.
The Mets are planning to pick up DH/1B Daniel Vogelbach‘s $1.5 million option, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Acquired by the Mets in a midseason deal with the Pirates, Vogelbach slashed .255/.393/.436 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 183 plate appearances as part of the Mets’ DH platoon.
Meanwhile, Heyman also reports that starting pitcher Chris Bassitt will decline his $19 million mutual option.
Bassitt declining the option has been the expected move, as the veteran will likely seek a a multiyear deal on the open market.
Nov. 2, 2:11 p.m.
The Mets are prioritizing Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo above all other internal free agents, and expect to maintain open and consistent communication with Diaz when free agency begins the morning after the World Series ends, reports SNY’s Andy Martino.
Martino reported on Oct. 10 that the mutual interest between the Mets and Diaz about a return was strong, and that the Mets loved Nimmo “both as a player and as part of their culture.”
Mets GM Billy Eppler said Tuesday that the Mets “absolutely” want Diaz to return:
“Would we like to have him back? Absolutely. Are we going to be able to get something worked out? Potentially. But he’s reached a point in his career where he’s afforded himself the opportunity with the ability to look around if he so chooses, but he knows how we feel about him and we know how he feels about us and how comfortable he was this year.
“He expressed that and I’m not sure if he expressed that specifically to Buck [Showalter], but I passed it along because when I was talking to his agent, he mentioned that. Edwin can provide a big boost to the bullpen and like I said, be used in a number of roles. But we’ll see what the coming day and coming weeks provides.”
Nov. 1, 10:52 a.m.
Justin Turner, who will become a free agent in the coming days if the Los Angeles Dodgers decline their $16 million club option on him, could be interested in a reunion with the Mets.
After Turner accepted the Roberto Clemente Award on Monday night, he told Mike Puma of The New York Post that he’s “in limbo” as he waits for the Dodgers’ decision.
When Puma suggested Turner could sign with the Mets if he hits free agency, Turner “didn’t hate the idea,” per Puma.
Turner, who is entering his age-38 season, hit .278/.350/.438 with 13 homers and 36 doubles in 128 games for Los Angeles this season.
In nine seasons with the Dodgers, Turner has slashed .296/.375/.490 with 156 home runs while playing mostly third base. In 2022, Turner played 66 games at third and was the DH in 62 others.
The Mets moved on from Turner following the 2013 season after he hit just .256/.326/.370 with eight homers in four seasons with New York.
Oct. 29, 2:33 p.m.
Rather than test the free agency market as one of the top third base options, seven-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado has opted in to the remainder of his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, per multiple reports.
Arenado, 31, is now under contract with the Cardinals through the 2027 season.
With Eduardo Escobar struggling for most of the 2022 season, the Mets could look to upgrade at third base this offseason, with other internal candidates including Brett Baty and Luis Guillorme. Had he opted out, Arenado all but certainly would have been on the Mets’ radar as a potential addition.
Oct. 27, 4:14 p.m.
The Colorado Rockies have Brandon Nimmo on their “preliminary list” of free agent targets, reports Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.
Saunders notes that estimates he has seen predict that Nimmo will ink a five-year deal worth roughly $115 or $120 million.
The Mets have interest in retaining Nimmo, who has expressed a desire to return.
Nimmo, who is entering his age-30 season, made $7 million this year during what was his final season of arbitration.
Nimmo hit .274/.367/.433 in 2022 with 16 homers, 30 doubles, and seven triples, and played a terrific center field, where he was in the 91st percentile in Outs Above Average.
Source: Yahoo Sports