Mets trying to be ‘more aggressive’ in MLB free agency

Mets trying to be 'more aggressive' in MLB free agency

As the Mets look to remake the organization, it sounds like they are more likely to take advantage of Steve Cohen’s billions rather than sacrificing young assets, according to new team president Sandy Alderson.

“There are only two currencies in baseball, players and money,” Alderson said Sunday on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio.

“Now, especially in the upper levels of our system, we don’t have the players,’’ Alderson said. “We have some money. So we’re going to balance those two things. We expect to be active in the free-agent market as opposed to the trade market. We don’t want to give up our young guys.”

Alderson reiterated a reluctance to move any “really good prospects,” which is no surprise after the previous regime was criticized for trading Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn as part of a package with Seattle in exchange for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

If that proves to be the case, a move for Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor figures to be off the table, as would potential trades for a third baseman such as the Cubs’ Kris Bryant or the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado.

But it would mean the Mets would be players for at least one or more of the top free agents on the market.

And with Trevor Bauer, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto and DJ LeMahieu all available, the Mets could be players for one or all of those free agents.

George Springer; Trevow Bauer; DJ LeMahieu
George Springer; Trevor Bauer; DJ LeMahieuGetty, AP, Charles Wenzelberg

“We’re not waiting for the market to develop,” Alderson said. “We’re trying to be a little more aggressive. But at the same time, it takes two to engage. I do think some segments of the market are going to move more quickly.”

That’s already started with some starting pitchers signing one-year deals, notably Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton with the Braves, as well as Robbie Ray with the Blue Jays. Marcus Stroman also accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer of $18.9 million, as did Kevin Gausman to stick with the Giants.

Besides that, though, few have signed and markets have yet to be set for players at other positions.

“We’re interested in talking to a number of players,” Alderson said. “We’ve got a number of holes to fill. We’ve got some depth that we need to create. There are a lot of different ways that we can approach this. But we’re hopeful that we can be active players. That’s our intent.”

But the market has yet to set itself after the economic fallout of the COVID pandemic that has some teams crying poverty.

According to Alderson, it will take some time for baseball to recover.

“The industry’s economy is not going to turn around in 2021,” Alderson said. “It’s going to take a couple of years for it to resolve itself.”

That’s where the Mets could pounce, since Cohen didn’t suffer the losses other current owners did due to the pandemic.

“We have some flexibility this year,’’ Alderson said. “I don’t think we’ll be financially disadvantaged, but lots of teams will still be competitive for players. But by the same token, we’re working hard at it. I expect the team to be a little different today than going into spring training.”