Rumors: Simmons, Gardner, Soria, Zobrist, Murph

The Hot Stove is just beginning to heat up, and the Mets are, unusually, in the middle of some of the hottest rumors. Here’s who the Mets have been linked to thus far….

The people at MLB Trade Rumors have come out with their annual “top 50 free agents” with team predictions—a list that I often disagree with—but its worthy to note what the experts are thinking. Ranked as the tenth best free agent in this years class, the MLBTR staff predicts that the Mets will land Nats shortstop Ian Desmond on a five year, $80 million deal. The length and the amount both seem excessive when taking into account the horrible year Desmond is coming off, working to a .233 batting average with his least amount of home runs in five years. This contract would also further block prospects like Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds, so I’m going to give a big no to this one. MLBTR also predicts that the Mets will grab the sixteenth best free agent, Dexter Fowler, for four years and $60 million. Although this seems more likely than Desmond, I can’t see the Mets clogging up the outfield with a long term deal with a player whose name isn’t Yoenis Cespedes. Fowler is productive, for sure, hitting 17 homers and swiping 20 bags this year, but the .250 batting average isn’t worth the long term money in my eyes. This is another move that would further block prospects like Brandon Nimmo, Travis Taijeron, and Darrell Ceciliani, and harm the playing time of Juan Lagares without the upside that Cespedes brings to the table.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Mets were among teams to display interest in the Braves’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The asking price was too high, Sherman says, as the Braves reportedly asked for either Harvey or deGrom in return. I don’t think a computer in MLB The Show would make that trade.

John Heyman of CBS News has linked the Mets with reliever Joakim Soria. Soria had a strong bounce-back 2015 campaign, posting a 2.51 ERA in stints with the Tigers and Pirates. New York will have a lot of competition to face for him, though, as the his market is already thriving—with the Tigers, Red Sox, and Royals all showing early interest in the veteran reliever.

Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, as well as Jarred Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, pose a possible trade for Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. The Bronx Bombers, of course, traded for the Twins’ Aaron Hicks recently, which could potentially mean Gardner is a trade candidate—either him, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Carlos Beltran. Gardner had a disappointing end to an All-Star first half, finishing the season with a .259 batting average with 16 home runs and 20 stolen bases—not much different from Fowler. Diamond raises the case where Tommy-John-rebound Zack Wheeler could be traded for Gardner, but I can’t imagine General Manager Sandy Alderson giving up on Wheeler so quickly for a part-time outfielder on the decline of his career.

(Keep in mind most of Gardner’s home runs would be fly balls in the average junior high baseball field, not a chance would his numbers translate successfully at Citi Field.)

Vorkunov also reports that the Mets are to meet with utility-man Ben Zobrist‘s agent in the expectable case that Daniel Murphy doesn’t accept New York’s one year, $15.8 million qualifying offer. The Mets will again face serious competition, as Zobrist’s versatility fits the needs of practically any team.

Daniel Murphy has through Friday to accept or decline the Mets’ qualifying offer, which he is expected to reject; it’s projected that he can make more on the open market. However, Murphy seems like a family man to me, so the thought of him staying in New York is in the back of my mind, as he might not want to uproot his family’s lives. The Rockies, Angels, and Dodgers have all been linked to Murph.

Stay tuned for more Mets rumors and news. This offseason should be an interesting one.

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