According to a report from MLB Trade Rumors quoting Ken Rosenthal and The Athletic, the New York Mets are looking for creative ways to shed payroll. The idea is to gain some financial flexibility this offseason.
The team decided to tender contracts to all eight of their arbitration-eligible players. They are Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, Brandon Nimmo, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, and Steven Matz.
Some of those players are about to get expensive, and while the contract of Zack Wheeler is off the books, the Mets are allegedly looking to trade costly players. Jeurys Familia and Jed Lowrie fit the bill.
Easier said than done
Of course, it would be easier said than done, given that Familia had a 5.70 ERA with an even uglier 6.30 BB/9 in 60 innings, and Lowrie didn’t have any hits in eight plate appearances. The infielder missed nearly all of the season with a string of injuries.
Familia has $22 million and two years remaining in his pact, while the Mets owe Lowrie $13 million in 2020. The team is reportedly considering pairing each one of them with a more desirable asset in order to move them.
The Seattle Mariners did a similar thing with the Mets a year ago, pairing Robinson Cano’s enormous contract with Edwin Díaz, one of the most desirable relieves in the game at the time.
New York had to send two premium prospects to the M’s in pitcher Justin Dunn and outfielder Jarred Kelenic. Gerson Bautista, Jay Bruce, and Anthony Swarzak went to Seattle, as well.
It isn’t ideal that the New York Mets are in the opposite situation this time around just a year after acquiring the talent. However, implementing the concept makes sense.
MLB Trade Rumors mentions Dominic Smith (.282/.355/.525 with 11 home runs in 197 plate appearances) and his five seasons of team control as a candidate to be paired with Familia or Lowrie in order to make the package more enticing for the club taking on the contract.
JD Davis (.307/.369/.527 with 22 home runs in 453 plate appearances) is another candidate. He is more likely to stay, though. The reason is that he has a clearer path to consistent playing time than Smith.