Mets expect to be involved in potential trade talks for star players with big contracts this offseason

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Danny Abriano
·3 min read
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Francisco Lindor smiling
Francisco Lindor smiling

Mets president Sandy Alderson suggested earlier this offseason that the team was likelier to target free agents to fill their needs than to set their sights on the trade market.

But a caveat to the above was that it revolved around Alderson's understandable reluctance to trade his best prospects. And it doesn't always take one or more of a team's best prospects to swing a deal for a star player -- especially if that player has a large contract and/or is close to free agency.

To that end, Alderson went in depth on Wednesday during an interview with Craig Carton and Evan Roberts on WFAN about how he expects the Mets to approach the trade market for higher profile players this offseason. 

"I expect that we'll be involved in that because they're alternatives to free agency," Alderson said. "The players that we might identify, who have big contracts and we have a year of control (over). (There's a) variety of reasons their clubs would like to trade them -- not withstanding, outstanding performance. 

"That's similar to being in the free-agent market in the sense that, 'OK, there's a lot of money involved. There might not be as many prospects involved as in a typical trade.' And that's something we're trying to avoid, which is trade prospects. So yeah, if there are -- I don't expect this to happen, but if there are really good players out there that, for whatever reason, a club is looking to move."

On Wednesday, it was reported that the Colorado Rockies were open to dealing third baseman Nolan Arenado and that they "want to engage" the Mets in trade talks.

Arenado, 29, is owed $199 million over the next six seasons and can almost certainly be had without a huge haul going back the other way.

Asked specifically whether the Rockies had called the Mets about Arenado, Alderson was evasive.

"It's always better in your business to be speculative than accurate," Alderson said with a laugh. "So I appreciate that. I would put this in the speculative category."

Alderson also went into further detail about his reluctance to trade top prospects, responding to a question about whether it's fair to say he doesn't have the stomach to part with any this offseason.

"Well, that's pretty close," Alderson said. "It depends on how you define top prospects, but anyway, your general proposition, I think, is very accurate. That is that, as I said before, there are only two things that work in baseball and trades -- one thing is money and the other is prospects or talent, major-league talent coming back. So we want to stay away from giving up as much of our young talent as we possibly can. 

"On the other hand, in some situations, it might be better to give up a prospect, take on money, not have a long-term obligation and be able to turn that money around the following year -- either in an extension or in an investment of some other player. So to me, I view that part of the trade market ... it's the kin to the free-agent market, which is it's more about money than it's about prospects -- although, obviously, in a trade, you'd have to give up somebody."

One player who is known to be available this offseason and fits the criteria mentioned above by Alderson (expensive one-year deal, not under contract beyond 2021, a candidate for a long-term extension) is Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.

It might be likelier for the Mets to first attempt to fill their remaining needs via free agency, with the potential that they could sign center fielder George Springer, whom SNY's Andy Martino has reported is high on their list.

But Alderson also seems open to exploring multiple intriguing star player options on the trade market, adding a wrinkle to an already very intriguing offseason.