An hour or so ago Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman said that the Mets were talking to John Lackey, Matt Holliday and Jason Bay “with renewed hopes to sign 1 of big 3.” This contrasts with the general
consensus here in Indy — especially among the New York writers —
that the Mets aren’t really players for any of those guys and that if they do anything this week it will be to sign Bengie Molina and eat a few nice catered meals.
Could that have changed? And if so, what could have “renewed those hopes?” A sudden change of budgetary heart on the part of the Wilpons? A sudden backtracking on the part of Lackey’s people regarding their desire for the five or six year deal that no one seems to want to give him? The Red Sox dropping out of the Jason Bay derby? Here’s a theory of my own: if the Mets are suddenly thinking bigger, it’s because the Yankees have been going hog wild (relatively speaking) this week, and they don’t want to get blown the hell off the back pages of the tabloids.
Whatever the case, any renewed push for one of the big three on the Mets’ part strikes me as a reactive move as opposed to one that was planned out ahead of time, because until this afternoon, all signs pointed to a relatively quiet Winter Meetings for the New York Mets.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.