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Mets: 3 future free agents the Mets will have a real chance to sign

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: A New York Mets batting helmet in the dugout before a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: A New York Mets batting helmet in the dugout before a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 12: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ball hit by Jose Martinez of the St Louis Cardinals inning in the sixth inning at Coors Field on September 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

*5-year, $165 million deal for 3B Nolan Arenado in 2021-22

If the Mets trade prospects for one player with the intent of keeping him long term, it must be for Nolan Arenado. Third base is a much bigger priority than shortstop thanks to the stellar performance by Andrés Giménez last season.

In fact, if any of the players in this slideshow actually becomes a Met under Steve Cohen’s ownership, Arenado would be the most impactful. While his current 8-year, $260 million contract becomes an issue for the trade market (and not because of his hefty $32.5 million salary), I don’t need to sell Arenado to Mets fans – his stats speak for themselves.

Since making his debut in 2013, this superstar third baseman has cemented his role as one of the elite baseball players in the MLB. He has built a reputation as a power hitter who can maintain an above . 300 batting average and play a solid third base.

He’s a perennial NL All-Star, having made the team each year from 2015-2019 in addition to winning the NL Silver Slugger award for four consecutive years. He holds 4 NL Platinum Gloves (2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020) and 8 NL Gold Gloves for every season he’s been in the majors. He’s also led the NL in HRs in 2016 (41), 2015 (42), and 2018 (38) while posting 40+ home run seasons in three out of his last five seasons except for 2017 (37) and 2018 (38).

With Steve Cohen in charge, Mets fans no longer have to settle for the tertiary players. Now we can compete for the top free agents, and realistically expect to get some of them! And Nolan Arenado would be a good start.

There are two scenarios in which they can acquire him for the long term. Since Arenado has an opt-out after the 2021 season in addition to a no-trade clause, the likelihood of him being traded by next July is slim, although not impossible given the right conditions.

If he doesn’t opt out, he’s locked into the contract and then other teams can trade for him. But if he does opt-out, then he will hit the open market and go to the highest bidder; which would mean the Mets could be in play!

Hypothetically, he would have 5-years, $164 million remaining on his contract while entering his age 31 season.  Also, the fact that Steve Cohen and other teams could be in the running might make Arenado feel like he can renegotiate his contract to make more than $32.5 million a year and go to a winner.

Coincidently, what will also need to happen in the 2021-22 offseason is making a decision on whether to extend SP Noah Syndergaard and/or OF Michael Conforto who will otherwise hit free agency.

As such, next offseason will be a busy winter for Cohen if these players are not extended or traded prior to their contracts expiring. Therefore, it will really be Cohen’s chance to change the landscape of Mets baseball and put his fingerprint on this roster with these key moves.

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