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Mets offseason of free-agent uncertainty officially underway

Marcus Stroman Mets
Marcus Stroman
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have officially been relegated to a winter of maneuvering in a baseball world that sees their division rivals, the Atlanta Braves, as world champions. 

Atlanta’s 7-0 comprehensive Game 6 win on Tuesday night clinched the franchise’s first World Series triumph since 1995 while clinching the sobering fact that the Mets are the only team in the National League East who have not won a World Series since the turn of the millennium. 

With the offseason officially underway as the confetti flies in Atlanta, the Mets are preparing for a crucial winter in every facet of the organization. Not only are they searching for the right names to final fill their front-office vacancies at the president of baseball operation and general manager positions, but they have 11 players who became free agents on Wednesday afternoon.

The most headline-grabbing names on the list are infielder Javier Baez, right fielder Michael Conforto, and starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman. 

Baez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline and put together a strong showing in Queens, slashing .299/.371/.515 (.886 OPS) with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 47 games. He could potentially keep together one of the most talented middle infield in baseball should he choose to stick with the Mets long-term as a second baseman next to his friend and shortstop Francisco Lindor. 

While Baez is the shortest-tenured Met looking for a big deal, Conforto is the elder statesman of the position players looking for a new contract. The homegrown product who came up in 2015 was slated to earn a contract of over $200 million, but a nightmare 2021 campaign has derailed any hopes of that.

As for the team’s uncertain stable of starting pitchers, retaining Stroman should be a priority after the right-hander put up a career year in 2021, posting a 3.02 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 179 innings of work. 

On the other hand, Syndergaard overcame an arduous rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery that included multiple delays to make just two appearances in 2021 — his first since the 2019 season. 

Other notable Mets free agents include:

  • LHP Aaron Loup
  • INF Jonathan Villar
  • RHP Jeurys Familia
  • LHP Brad Hand
  • RHP Dellin Betances
  • LHP Rich Hill
  • RHP Heath Hembree

All free agents but Baez and Stroman are eligible to sign a qualifying offer — worth $18.4 million in 2022 — which the Mets have until Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. ET to offer.

 

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