The New York Mets are expected to be aggressive this offseason and they already have proven that they are going to be early on at the MLB Winter Meetings with their recent signing of ace starting pitcher Justin Verlander. While Verlander was an enormous get for the Mets, there is still plenty of work to do when reconstructing this roster and I'll outline five areas that the General Manager Billy Eppler should be targeting in regards to improving the roster for 2023.
All of these needs for the Mets this offseason are ranked from number one being the most pressing need currently to number five being the least important need at the moment. For a team with so many holes on its roster, it's very difficult to select which need supersedes the other as they are all equally important. Let's dive into what I believe are the most important needs this winter ranked below.
The Mets have five big needs they need to fill over the coming months and they can shore up their roster this week at the Winter Meetings
1. One to two starting pitchers: The Mets are in need of at least one other quality starting pitching option or two to fill out their rotation. The pitching market is starting to heat up rapidly and the Mets have shown interest in pitchers such as Kodai Senga, Carlos Rodon, and Jameson Taillon, among others. I believe this should be the Mets' next order of business due to how quickly pitching may start to fly off the shelves now that both Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander are off the market.
2. Starting center fielder: Ideally this need would be filled by the Mets re-signing free agent centerfielder Brandon Nimmo, but right now Nimmo's market is scorching hot and the Mets seemed to be honed in on the starting pitching market currently. I'm sure they could pivot to Nimmo at any given moment as well, but the Mets are also doing due diligence on other free-agent outfielders such as Andrew Benintendi as potential backup options in case Nimmo's asking price should be out of reach of their comfort zone.
3. 8th inning option: The Mets have to completely reconstruct their bullpen this offseason and one important line of business that may be flying under the radar currently is finding a quality set-up man for Edwin Diaz. Adam Ottavino, who did a phenomenal job as a bridge to Diaz last season, is also currently a free agent and the Mets have recently expressed interest in a reunion. Ideally, I would love to have Ottavino return in that role, but should that deal not come to fruition they need to find a reliable weapon to lock down the 8th inning for our closer.
4. More middle relief help: This need kind of goes hand in hand with finding a set-up man as the entirety of the Mets bullpen has been stripped thin. Similar to reconstructing their starting rotation, GM Billy Eppler has his hands full in regards to putting together an almost entirely new bullpen for the 2023 season. The reliever market is always volatile from year to year, and sometimes you can find some bargain deals on power arms which makes me slide this need a bit further down the list in terms of importance right now.
5. Designated Hitter: The Mets also have a clear need in their lineup when it comes to who will step up in the designated hitter role next season, after J.D. Davis, Dom Smith, and Darin Ruf, among others, largely struggled in the role. Recently it was publicly disclosed that the Mets were going to handle this role internally after free agent Jose Abreu had signed a deal with the Houston Astros, which is why this need is a bit further down the list. The Mets picked up Daniel Vogelbach's $1.5 million option earlier this offseason which is one potential internal option that will be considered. It's also entirely possible that the Mets still look outside the organization for another option to take over this role full-time or in a platoon scenario.
All of this being said the Mets' front office has their work cut out for them, but they are off to a pretty good start so far. I anticipate them filling their remaining needs on the starting pitching market first before moving towards other areas of need on this list. What a rollercoaster of a ride we are in for if the rest of the winter is anything like the Justin Verlander signing this week.