Look to trade market first, then free agents

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

My educated guess is the Mets will push hard on the trade market early, in an effort to add power in their lineup. The buzz in baseball is that Scott Boras will slow-play the market for Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Mets like Choo, but they’re not interested in giving him a six- or seven-year deal. Then again, no team is expected to jump early and overpay for Choo, especially with Ellsbury available, so both negotiations will likely drag out.

Shin Soo ChooSo, the Mets will likely work hard on the A’s, Rockies, Angels and Dodgers, among other teams, all of whom have hitting to trade and a desire for young pitching. In talking to people around baseball, the Mets can make a meaningful move by offering a combination of Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero, etc. In other words, I assume Sandy Alderson‘s early goal will be to gauge the trade market, because it will dictate how he attacks the free agent market. I mean, if he can make a deal that shakes up the roster, fills more than one hole and brings on significant salary, it makes Choo less necessary.

In the end, my feeling is the Mets hope to trade big-league players and a prospect or two and end up with at least a clean-up hitter, be it Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer, Mark Trumbo, or some other, similar player we’re not talking about yet. They’ve been so dismissive about the current roster, and they have been talking about this type of deal for so long, and because these type of players are available, it seems like this is the winter to make it happen.

Then, I expect them to spend whatever money they have left on mid-tier free agents, filling in wherever they can, including one innings eater for the starting rotation.

Stephen Drew and Nelson Cruz seem to be the most likely position player acquisitions, given the money, roster and circumstance. But, again, that will depend on what can be acquired in trade.