In the three weeks since losing to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, the Mets have been in conversation with many teams about potential trades, with the goal of beginning the offseason with a good feel for both the trade and free agent markets.
According to sources from multiple clubs, the former market will likely not include Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani.
Free agency begins at 9 a.m. ET on the day following the end of the World Series. A memo recently sent to clubs reinforced the longstanding rule that for the first five days after that, teams can speak to free agents, but not discuss contract terms unless that player was previously with their club (meaning: Edwin Diaz can talk terms with the Mets for those five days, but not, say, with the Dodgers).
Because of the late World Series this year, that five-day window could bump into the annual GM Meetings, which begin next Tuesday in Las Vegas. Agents and general managers do not expect that to have a significant impact on the meetings, because most do not talk contract terms with free agents that early.
Mets GM Billy Eppler faces a significant task in reconstructing a starting rotation beyond Max Scherzer. Jacob deGrom is a free agent, as is Taijuan Walker and likely Chris Bassitt. The team holds an option on Carlos Carrasco.
Even if the Mets re-sign deGrom, they will need to find multiple reliable starting pitchers to cover the innings that he and Scherzer might miss in their advancing baseball age.
Unfortunately for the Mets, Yankees, and plenty of other clubs looking for help in both the rotation and lineup -- not to mention the box office -- the Angels are showing no appetite to discuss Ohtani at present, say several teams who have checked in.
The Angels are for sale and Ohtani is a year away from free agency. The current perception from rivals is that Los Angeles is more likely to try to extend Ohtani, and, if they are unable to keep him, look to move him at July’s trade deadline.
Elsewhere in Mets business, the team is finalizing its coaching staff for 2023, with a few minor tweaks expected and an announcement coming in the near future.