SCOTTSDALE — Sandy Alderson finally met with representatives for Yoenis Cespedes, but the Mets GM left the meetings here Thursday morning with no better idea of whether the Cuban slugger will be back in Queens or move on than when he arrived Monday.
“It was still a very preliminary conversation,” Alderson said of meeting with Brodie Van Wagenen at the GM Meetings on Wednesday night. “I don’t think they have an idea and don’t think that if they had an idea they didn’t share it with us.”
Still, Alderson said that he feels that Cespedes could be re-signed or off the table for the Mets within the timetable that the Mets had set as their goal. Alderson said that because of moving parts required to re-sign the outfielder, the Mets would “realistically” need a deal to be done before the end of the MLB Winter Meetings, which end Dec. 8, and not hang on to the end of January like they did to re-sign him last winter.
Admittedly, the timing is out of his control.
“Probably, yes,” Alderson said of being able to get something done in his self-imposed deadline, before adding. “But, I have no idea what the market is, the market will drive this one way or another. Both timing and other aspects.”
Alderson said he expects to talk with Van Wagenen again, but he added that the Mets will work on their contingency plans as they wait.
Part of the pieces the Mets would have to move if they re-sign the right-handed hitting Cespedes is the left-handed struggling Jay Bruce. The Mets are looking to keep their payroll under the $140 million mark this year.
That would not leave a lot of room for a big contract to Cespedes and Bruce’s $13 million option the team just picked up.
While Alderson would obviously not talk about the specific plans for the Mets, he did admit that the Mets front office talked to a few teams about possible trades over the last few days.
“We had some very preliminary discussions,” Alderson said of those meetings with other front offices. “I can’t say the groundwork was laid or anything, but there were brief conversations with a number of teams.”
When pressed specifically about interest in lefty-hitting Bruce, Alderson indicated there had been inquiries.
Jay Bruce figures to be traded if the Mets are able to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes.
“I think people are aware we are left-handed I wouldn’t be any more specific than that,” Alderson said. “So, we’ve had inquiries across the board. We have four or five guys in that category.”
Bruce is the most obvious trade piece on the roster.
Despite hitting just .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 50 games after being dealt by the Reds to the Mets, Bruce is a streaky hitter with proven power — with seven seasons of 25 home runs or more. He has a career slash-line of .248/.318/.391 and teams can dismiss his time with the Mets as an adverse reaction to New York.
But if the Mets are unable to sign Cespedes to a new deal, they are going to be looking to turn Bruce’s poor start in New York around quickly.
The Mets are not looking to plug in another big-name free agent in their outfielder and see their current outfield as their Plan B.
When asked about the current outfield of Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares, Alderson admitted it is one of their contingency plans.
“I think anybody who is being prudent under the circumstance would line up different scenarios as options and alternatives, so certainly every team can lineup with what they have, but we have some quality in our outfield now,” Alderson said. “It’s just a little left-handed.”
Key in that scenario is the turnaround Conforto offensively and his continued development defensively. Alderson already indicated that he sees Conforto as a capable center fielder, but Thursday he indicated that he expects the 23-year old to bounce back from last season’s struggles. He hit .220 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 109 games between two demotions to the minor leagues.
“I think it was more mental than anything else,” Alderson said. “We are very confident he will bounce back. He’s a better player than he showed last year, with consistent playing time think that will be demonstrated.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News