With Steve Cohen officially on as new owner and team president Sandy Alderson working quickly to put together the front office that will work under him, the Mets are going to be connected to most of the big names on the free agent and trade market this offseason.
George Springer is a legit possibility.
They're making eyes at Trevor Bauer.
And they're among the "five strongest" candidates to swing a deal with the Cleveland Indians for star shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Lindor, who is entering his age-27 season, is one of the best two-way players in the sport and will be a cornerstone piece for the team that acquires him when (not if) he's traded this offseason.
It can be argued that the Indians waited a year too long to trade Lindor, who is now just one year away from free agency, which means the package they get back this offseason will almost certainly be less impressive than the one they could've gotten last winter.
Given what Lindor will cost and the numerous needs the Mets have, should they trade for him? Let's analyze the pros and cons, starting with the cons...
Lindor will cost players and money
Unlike any of the stars on the free agent market, the Mets will have to part with both players and a massive amount of money to get Lindor (assuming they extend him, which they absolutely should if he's acquired).
Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Indians want three players in exchange who are MLB-ready or close to it. But while the Indians can ask for that, it doesn't mean they'll get it.
Some players who have been whispered about perhaps being needed from the Mets' end include Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, though the Mets should simply hang up the phone if the Indians won't budge off either player. You simply do not get an established, under-control, relatively inexpensive player of that caliber in exchange for someone who is making $19.5 million and is a year from free agency -- especially in this market.
He doesn't fill a position of need
The top three things on the Mets' agenda this offseason should be finding a catcher, a center fielder, and more starting pitching.
Would they be able to adequately fill all of those needs if they traded for Lindor? Perhaps, but it would possibly mean no Bauer on the mound or Springer in center field.
The 2021 free agent class for shortstops could be epic
Looking ahead to next offseason, it's possible that Javier Baez, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Trevor Story will all hit the free agent market. It's also possible that some or all of them won't.
The Colorado Rockies have prioritized locking up Story (which will be easier said than done unless they can trade Nolan Arenado), and it's hard to see the Los Angeles Dodgers letting Seager go. Maybe Correa and Baez are the ones who make it to free agency, but maybe they sign extensions before then, too.
It's nice to dream, but that dream could turn into a nightmare for any team banking on landing one of the above stars next offseason. That makes the prospect of Lindor even more tantalizing.
Lindor is a superstar in his prime
While Lindor does not technically fill a position of need for the Mets, he is a superstar in his prime who also happens to be a great clubhouse guy with an infectious personality. Players like that rarely hit the market. And when they do, smart teams pounce.
While Lindor's relatively down 2020 campaign should give teams just a tiny bit of pause, what he has done on both sides of the ball during his six-year career is remarkable.
He is a perennial MVP candidate who is also one of the best defenders in baseball. For the Mets, he would give them a jolt similar to the one they got when Mike Piazza arrived via trade from the then-Florida Marlins in 1998. But this time, the Mets -- with the best pitcher in baseball and a really good offense already in place -- would be in even better position to win it all.
The Mets could match up perfectly with the Indians
The Indians can ask for Alonso. They can ask for McNeil. But that doesn't mean they'll get either player.
If Cleveland is serious about having the Mets involved in the Lindor sweepstakes, they'll have to get real when it comes to their asking price. And if they do, they might realize that a package built around some combination of Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Andres Gimenez, and some of the Mets' top prospects would be a great fit for them.
He's arguably a better bet than any free agent out there
While Lindor will cost any team players and money, he's also the best potential investment on the free agent or trade market. And he's in his prime.
J.T. Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball but is about to hit the wrong side of 30.
Springer is 31 and might have to move from center field in a few seasons.
Bauer is also about to be on the wrong side of 30.
Lindor will be 27 for the entire 2021 season, and any team trading for and extending him would be getting the middle and end of his prime. The same can't be said for any of the other stars on the market.
If the Indians are willing to accept a package that revolves around one big league piece (perhaps Nimmo), one MLB-ready piece (think Gimenez) and a prospect not in the Mets' top 5, the Mets should pounce.
If Cleveland would rather subtract a player like Nimmo from the deal and add a top prospect to go along with Gimenez and a lesser prospect, that could also work.
The Mets might then have to decide between trading for and extending Lindor or signing Springer, who would also be a tremendous fit in Queens.
These are good problems to have.