While the New York Mets front office is still solely focused on the rest of the season at hand, there is no doubt there have to be conversations going on behind the scenes as they prepare for one of the most prolific free agents' to hit the market in baseball history. The pursuit of Shohei Ohtani will be the most expensive acquisition for any team that wins his services this winter.
The Mets, obviously with Steve Cohen at the helm, are going to be in the thick of the battle for his services with other big market teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees, among other organizations throwing a giant blank check his way. But what if Ohtani remains on the West Coast this offseason as some MLB Insiders are predicting?
The Mets would certainly have to have a contingency plan in place should their pursuit of Ohtani falls flat. While Ohtani would shore up two positions on the roster as a starting pitcher and designated hitter, the organization would have to look at other avenues to fill those holes should they miss out.
The Mets front office will have plenty of possibilities this winter to improve the roster aside from Shohei Ohtani
The Mets could look at starting rotation options such as Aaron Nola, Julio Urias, Lucas Giolito, or Japanese superstar starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto who is expected to be posted by his club this upcoming winter. All three pitchers are frontline-caliber starting pitchers, but Yamamoto provides the most intrigue.
Yamamoto. who is about to turn 25 years old, has won back-to-back Pacific League MVP Awards and Sawamura Awards (Nippon Baseball League Cy Young) as well as Triple Crown Awards. If the Mets strike out on Ohtani they could score big on one of the most highly regarded players to come out of Japan since Ohtani.
While this year's free agent class is deep in terms of pitching, there aren't many impact bats that will be available on the open market. Some of the top bats include Matt Chapman, Teoscar Hernandez, and possibly Michael Conforto should he utilize his opt-out if he makes 350 plate appearances. I believe the Mets would be best served to look at the trade market.
With the St. Louis Cardinals looking to be in a slight rebuild, Billy Eppler should see what it would take to acquire star third baseman Nolan Arenado or even outfielder Juan Soto who will only have one more year left under contract with the Padres. Both team's have been tremendous disappointments and it will be interesting to see what a possible price tag would be for one of those players.
The Mets could also poke around on a player like Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo who is scheduled to be a free agent in 2024 as another potential option to find another impact bat to add to the roster. Either way, the Mets will have options this winter if Ohtani decides to stay on the West Coast, as not all hope will be lost.