The New York Mets, expected to make big splashed around the free agent market by virtue of having a billionaire new owner, ended up making their biggest acquisitions via trade, bringing All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco in a transaction with the Cleveland Indians.
The Mets did go to the free agent market to bring catcher James McCann, relievers Trevor May and Aaron Loup, infielder Jonathan Villar, outfielders Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora, and starter Taijuan Walker, among others. But they didn’t sign any of the “Big Three” free agents: Trevor Bauer, JT Realmuto, and George Springer.
Instead, the Lindor trade (and, in a lesser scale, the one that netted the Mets starter Joey Lucchesi) helped shape the offseason for them, as the team focused on the mid and low tiers of the market.
According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, the Mets were aggressive in their pursuit of Bauer, to the point that they offered $105 million in comparison to the Dodgers’ $102 million.
The Mets really wanted Bauer
DiComo, after Mets’ president Sandy Alderson’s most recent encounter with the press, wrote that “Bauer opted to sign with the Dodgers for $102 million, which the Mets did not consider a significant defeat. In the weeks leading up to their offer, the Mets weighed the risks and benefits of a Bauer signing — polling women in the organization, among others, given Bauer’s checkered history on social media. When the Mets missed out on Bauer, they pivoted instead to Taijuan Walker, ultimately signing him to a deal worth less than 20 percent of Bauer’s.”
“I’m not here to say, ‘Wow, we dodged a bullet,’” Alderson said. “I’m happy with the way the offseason went generally, and not unhappy about losing out on Bauer or others.”
With Springer, the Mets were willing to go five years, but not six, and with Realmuto, the team preferred for a quick resolution and the catcher didn’t want to sign in November.