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NY Mets Rumors: Free agent targets could be limited by qualifying offers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20: A detailed view of the ball bags belonging to the New York Mets sitting in the dugout prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20: A detailed view of the ball bags belonging to the New York Mets sitting in the dugout prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Who is ready for some juicy New York Mets rumors? You won’t get any oozing with goodness just yet but a hint of some Mets rumors to come arrived this week from Rising Apple alumni Danny Abriano over at SNY.

As Abriano wisely points out, as active as the Mets should be this offseason, the qualifying offer handed out by other teams could get in the way of some options. He lists Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Robbie Ray, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Carlos Rodon, and adds Nick Castellanos as a possibility as well pending an opt-out.

Fortunately, there are a couple of players ineligible for the qualifying offer that could pique their interest.

Offseason Mets rumors could focus heavily on any of these guys

Because there is no qualifying offer available to them, Kris Bryant, Max Scherzer, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Escobar, and Starling Marte are five of the most intriguing free agents for the Mets to consider, according to Abriano. He also points out that the Mets could simply keep any of their big name free agents as well. This list includes Javier Baez, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Conforto.

Even if we remove those qualifying offer players, there’s a nice stack of free agents available to choose from. But what’s the DL on the QO and why does it matter?

For those unfamiliar, players who are given a qualifying offer then reject it have a second-round draft pick attached to them. Let’s use the Mets as an example.

If the Mets offer Conforto the qualifying offer and he rejects it, whichever team signs him will forfeit their second-round draft pick to the Mets. There is one way around this. That’s to fall within the top 10 of the draft aka lose a lot of games before the season is through.

This does help narrow down which Mets rumors might have thicker legs to stand on

Someone will most certainly sign all of these free agents even if they do have the draft pick compensation attached to them. The Mets, who already have the 11th overall pick locked after missing out on Kumar Rocker, are likely to fall outside of the top 10. They could slide a little further in the next week and a half but that would require an epically bad ending for them and the handful of teams right on their tail.

It’s not exactly as if too many of the names Abriano mentions were expected to be on the Mets rumors radar. Shortstops like Correa, Seager, and Story never seemed to be likely candidates in the first place. Baez is a much more logical fit to play second base than to try to bring in new blood and shoehorn him at an unfamiliar position.

Meanwhile, the names without the QO provide a variety of possibilities. Scherzer and Gausman are at entirely different points of their career but both pitching extremely well in 2021. Bryant, Escobar, and Marte have been potential fits for the Amazins since at least last offseason. Nothing much has changed in this regard.

Next. Predicting which free agents the Mets bring back

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When reading offseason Mets rumors, we should all expect to see a flurry of names appear. Few players should be off-limits—except for these early qualifying offer candidates that shortens the draft for New York.

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