Verdict: Signing free agent J.T. Realmuto should take priority this offseason.
At the end of the day, I believe the Mets signing J.T. Realmuto should be the first deep pocket move that Steve Cohen should make as an owner. The Mets will still have another season of control with Michael Conforto roaming the outfield, where on the opposite side of the coin they will have a glaring need behind the plate next season.
What better way to stick it to your division rivals who signed away Zack Wheeler this past offseason than to sign their prized catcher and assert dominance with a new owner. This is a rare type of move where the Mets can upgrade themselves both offensively and defensively at the same time, without also having to give up any assets. It’s a move that would simply require cold hard cash and I would not be surprised to see the front office pony up whatever it may take to outbid the Phillies.
Conforto may be a candidate for an extension after the crazy free agency period has ended and even possibly closer to Spring Training. We all know that Scott Boras is going to play hardball with the Mets when trying to get a deal done, but the Mets will have a bit of time on their side in regards to locking up Conforto long term. The Mets won’t have that kind of time on their side when trying to sign Realmuto this offseason.
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While both players are very close in importance to being two of the Mets top priorities this offseason, time is on Conforto’s side which allows us to believe Realmuto will be the Mets top priority this winter.