Mets Winter Meetings Primer

By Danny Abriano

The Winter Meetings begin today in Orlando, Florida.

The next couple of days are usually ones that are filled with crazy rumors, intrigue, and lots of moves.  However, with the absurd amount of deals that have gone down over the last week or so, this year’s Winter Meetings seem to have lost a bit of their juice.

Still, there are lots of free agents who are still out there (including Stephen Drew, Shin-Soo Choo, and the majority of the high profile starting pitchers), and there are lots of trades that could still either come together or at least enter the groundwork stage at the meetings.

With Chris Young and Curtis Granderson signed, what should be the top priorities for the Mets at the meetings (and for the rest of the offseason)?  Here are three, in order of importance:

  • Upgrade Shortstop:  With the way he’s played and the way he’s been characterized by the organization (including Sandy Alderson), it would be a failure if the Mets went into 2014 with Ruben Tejada atop the depth chart at short.  There have been reports that the Mets are unlikely to bid for Stephen Drew, but never say never.  His market appears close to non-existent at the moment, so the Mets would be wise to check in on him.  The most likely way the Mets will upgrade shortstop, though, is via trade.  The Diamondbacks have a glut of shortstops, and there have been rumors that Didi Gregorius will be available.  The Athletics have Jed Lowrie, who will be a free agent after 2014, but there have been whispers that Billy Beane will likely keep him.  From the time he arrives at the meetings until the time he steps on a plane to leave, Sandy Alderson should be burning up the phone lines looking for a new shortstop.
  • Decide what the plan is at First Base:   There’s always a chance the Mets will look to upgrade first base by looking externally, but with Ike Davis, Luacs Duda, Josh Satin, and Wilmer Flores on the roster, it’s far likelier that the answer will come from within. The question, then, is whether the club will trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.  Duda gets on base more often than Davis, but doesn’t possess his upside (either offensively or defensively).  Davis, though, has been an absolute mess for the majority of the last two seasons.  With the outfield pretty much set, if Davis is dealt, the Mets should be looking to acquire a shortstop or starting pitcher as part of the return.  Perhaps if the Mets expand the package to include a prospect or two, they’ll be able to maximize Davis’ value and get a better return.
  • Find a starting pitcher:  Going into 2014, the Mets should have Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler, and Dillon Gee as the three solidified starting pitchers.  Jenrry Mejia should also be in the mix for a spot, and both Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard should be ready in short order.  With Matt Harvey set to return in either late 2014 or by opening day in 2015, the Mets should be looking for one reliable starter who can be had on a short term deal.  They can also look to the trade market for a high upside arm.  That could potentially free them up to deal one of their top starting pitching prospects in a deal for a shortstop.

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