Last year around this time, the Mets made some aggressive offseason moves. Owner Steve Cohen and the club’s management group made some big Black Friday bargains, signing free agents Mark Canha and Starling Marte. A day later, the club continued its shopping spree with third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
It was a very happy holiday season for the Mets. As it turns out, the Mets and its fans are still very thankful for those three players.
Fans are eager for a repeat of last winter. Less than a month into the 2022-23 offseason, the Mets have made just one impact signing, inking Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102 million contract, the most guaranteed money ever for a reliever.
But apart from Diaz, it has been relatively slow.
Organizational depth doesn’t excite fans, but these are exactly the types of moves the Mets have made so far. To recap, they claimed three off waivers lefty Tayler Saucedo and righties Stephen Ridings and William Woods, and they acquired another pair of righties, Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham, in a trade with the Miami Marlins.
Continuing the theme of minor league depth, they signed left-hander Zach Muckenhirn and right-hander Denyi Reyes to minor league contracts with Major League spring training invites on Thursday.
These can be some pretty unsexy moves, but they are necessary. Building depth at the Double-A and Triple-A levels puts the club in position to be ready when the big league depth takes a hit. There have been times throughout Mets history that the club has been forced to sign players from the independent leagues to fill voids for injured players. This gives the team flexibility when it comes to the ball.
That doesn’t change the fact that the Mets will need to get some established relievers. The Mets will look to add a handful of arms to join Diaz and Drew Smith, the only two regular relievers left on the roster.
Meanwhile, a former wing found a new team on Thursday. The Boston Red Sox signed lefty Joely Rodriguez to a one-year, $2 million, plus incentives deal. Rodriguez came to the Mets in spring training this year that sent reliever Miguel Castro across town to the Yankees. He was a club character and well-liked by his fellow Queens. He was also the only full-time left in the bullpen, but he was unable to replicate his 2021 numbers, posting a 2-4 record with a 4.47 ERA.
Rodriguez’s departure underscores the work the Mets still need to do in the bullpen, and then there’s the matter of finding 3-4 relievers, one of which may or may not be Jacob deGrom.
But it’s important to remember that baseball’s offseason is a multi-month affair. That won’t ease the fears of fans who have been burned by the franchise too many times, but there’s still plenty of time to put the roster pieces in place.
And if nothing else, maybe try asking Santa Claus for deGrom.