Contrary to popular belief — or narrative pushing — players are willing to sign with the New York Mets, after all.
Steve Cohen went on a Black Friday shopping spree, doling out $124.5 million to bring on infielder Eduardo Escobar along with outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha.
It’s the first big roster move to rock the foundation of an underperforming 2021 team that fell woefully short of postseason expectations.
Escobar will be able to play second or third base depending on what else the Mets can do this offseason. While they remain in the hunt to bring back Javier Baez, SNY’s Andy Martino reported that the All-Star free agent and the Mets are far apart on the price tag of a new contract.
The 32-year-old Escobar is coming off the best offensive stretch of his professional career with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers. From 2019-2021, he has posted 162-game averages of .254/.311/.470 (.780 OPS) with 30 home runs and 103 RBI.
He’ll be thrown right into the mix of a Mets infield that could potentially make another big move and bring in a third baseman like Kris Bryant, or could potentially move either JD Davis or Jeff McNeil this offseason, too.
In the outfield, Marte is the main prize as he’ll provide the Mets with a natural center fielder for the first time since Juan Lagares patrolled the deepest parts of Citi Field.
Like Escobar, the 33-year-old Marte just finished one of his best seasons as a pro, slashing .310/.383/.458 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI, and 47 stolen bases. More importantly, he stabilizes the Mets’ outfield defense, allowing the team to shift Brandon Nimmo to a more natural right field as the writing continues to drip from the wall indicating that Michael Conforto will not return to the Mets in 2022.
Canha will take over in left, providing a concrete option at the position rather than playing the likes of infielders in McNeil, Davis, or Dominic Smith out of position there.
In no way are the Mets done, though. Starting pitching remains a paramount concern after an injury-riddled 2021 that most notably impacted Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco led into an offseason that saw Noah Syndergaard turn down New York’s qualifying offer to head out west and join the Los Angeles Angels.
Marcus Stroman — the team’s most consistent and reliable pitcher last season — indicated on Twitter that the Mets aren’t too interested in bringing him back and are investing their free-agency resources elsewhere.
MLB insider Joel Sherman reported this weekend that the Mets are “very involved” within the very best of the starting-pitching market — headlined by Kevin Gausman, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray. American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray is also considered a target, as well.