Winter Meetings rumors that are supposedly happening (and probably won’t)

It’s the Winter Meetings, dammit! Here’s a post where I round up all the Mets-related rumors I’ve seen on MetsBlog and spew my opinions on them. SPOILER ALERT: Just about everything I say will include “depending on the price.”

Mets interested in Fred Lewis: Well that’s cool — depending on the price, of course. Lewis would make a fine fourth outfielder, and a legitimate contingency plan for the three penciled-in starters — all of whom have struggled with injuries recently or historically. He can play the corners and fill in at center field in a pinch.

And while Lewis won’t make anyone in New York forget Mickey Mantle, he can hit a bit too — especially against right-handed pitchers. For his career, the lefty-hitting Lewis has a solid .280/.354/.442 line against righties.

Mets close to signing Ronny Paulino: I feel like Ronny Paulino has been “close” to signing with the Mets like 15 times before. Paulino has a rep as a solid defensive catcher and fared well in Beyond the Boxscore’s catcher-defense rankings. He is not a great hitter, though his career .273/.328/.383 line is pretty similar to the 2010 National League average for catchers — .253/.326/.388.

Perhaps most importantly, the righty-hitting Paulino has, for his career, a marked platoon split. He’s got a measly .635 OPS against righties but an .881 mark against lefties, essentially the Matt Diaz of catchers. Assuming he doesn’t cost multiple years or numerous millions, he would be a great choice to spell Josh Thole against tough southpaws, or even in a straight platoon — since catchers need time off anyway. Combined, they’d give the Mets excellent offense from behind the plate.

Mets “in contact” with Russell Martin: Martin would also make a nice righty-hitting complement to Thole, but I don’t see this one happening. Martin reportedly rejected a one-year, $4.2 million deal from the Dodgers, so the only way I imagine the Mets getting seriously involved in his pursuit would be if he’s still a free agent later this winter.

The one interesting thing about Martin is that he has said he’s open to playing first, second and third next year if some team wants him for a super-utility role. But since the Mets have Thole in house, they could probably find better ways to spend $5 million.

Mets among 6-8 teams interested in D.J. Carrasco: How interested, though? Because if there are 5-7 other teams bidding on Carrasco I imagine he’s going to require a decent chunk of change, and he’s really not all that spectacular. If the Mets are trying to save money they should probably be searching the scrap heap or converting starters to fill out their pen, not signing free-agents. I’d pass on this one.

We should keep Jerry Hairston Jr.’s name in mind: I have no idea what that means, but I will do just that. I am a fan of Old Man Hairston’s kid. Plays every position pretty well, gives a team a lot of flexibility. Also, good guy.

Mets interested in every living unspectacular or recently injured free-agent starting pitcher: I mean, someone’s going to need to pitch. Maybe it’ll be Freddy Garcia or Chris Young or Jeff Francis. This one is almost entirely based on information I do not have access to: The cost and reports the pitcher’s health. Hard to speculate on which one of these guys would be best if I don’t know who seems most likely to hold up for a season.

Mets willing to take calls on every player, unlikely to deal stars: This seems like it’s probably true every year, right?

Mets might hire Moises Alou as first-base coach: Not a chance he stays healthy for the full season.

What’d I miss?

6 thoughts on “Winter Meetings rumors that are supposedly happening (and probably won’t)

  1. While Twitter is great I’m sure (I do not use it), its has turned sports reporting into a complete joke.

    Its to a point now that any time I see a rumor or something to the effect of “XXXX team is close to a deal with XXXX player”, I just wait for the next tweet or report from someone else saying “no they aren’t”.

    This race to break news first has just made the entire process a joke.

  2. I had a conversation with my brother last night regarding the Mets off season plans and we wondered why the Mets will not spend this offseason(or only spend 5 million or so). Is it strictly a luxury tax thing? If it is, then I guess I understand why they won’t spend more, but if it is not, why would they not be in on the free agent market?

    I believe they are due to have 60 million or so come off the books next year, so why could they not sign a Lee or Crawford(just using as examples) to a backloaded deal? Pay minimal amounts this year and then once they are clear of about 60 million after this season bump up the pay for that signing?

    Ted or anyone else, would love to get your opinion.

    • I don’t think it’s strictly a luxury tax thing. I think that, like all teams except possibly the Yankees, they have to operate within some sort of budget, and the budget is pretty much maxed out.

      And I think, though they could backload some contracts to push the burden down the road, that’s the type of move they’re trying to avoid — especially this offseason — so they can have more financial flexibility in the years to come.

      If Lee’s going to require outbidding the Yankees on a six- or seven-year deal, he’s probably not going to be worth it. And Crawford is a very nice player, but he mostly does all the same things Angel Pagan does, only slightly better. Is the upgrade he offers over Pagan worth a $15 million difference in salary and less financial flexibility?

      That’s assuming Pagan would be the guy to move, since they wouldn’t be able to trade Bay or Beltran without eating a ton of salary, and that they’d be silly to eat Beltran’s contract now just to make room for Crawford.

      • Of course. I totally understand the budget aspect of it. Was more so wondering IF a deal presented itself would the team take on a backloaded contract if it made the team better.

        I do not think the Mets should get Lee(wrong side of 30 and risk of injury) or Crawford(as you stated, we basically have Crawford Jr in Pagan), was just curious whether the Mets would be willing to take on backloaded salary to preserve this years budget, while making the team better this year as well as years to come.

      • That’s a good question. They always maintain that they have the flexibility to make the right deals, but I have no idea if that’s true.

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