The Mets go to five years on Bay, to meet with Boras on Holliday

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Jon Heyman reports that the Mets are getting aggressive on Jason Bay, upping their offer to five years, while also inquiring about Matt Holliday.

This is interesting in terms of leverage. On the one hand, it’s strange to see the Mets go an extra year on Bay a day after the Red Sox cut the cord on him and after the Yankees were reported to have no interest at all.  When your biggest competitors drop out of the bidding, you tend not to up your offer. The fact that the Mets did so smells like desperation to do something. Heyman suggests that there’s another mystery bidder lurking — maybe the Angels — but it hasn’t been reported anywhere, and in an age where the briefest of musings by a GM about a player is reported, it suggests that there’s no one else really on the scene yet.

At the same time, Heyman says that Omar is talking to Holliday. From the Mets perspective, it makes sense for them in that it signals to Bay that he’s not the only game in town. From Holliday’s perspective, it makes sense in that it’s a great way to use the Mets to pressure the Cardinals or someone else to prime the pot a bit more. I know, such a thing is unthinkable given that Scott Boras is Matt Holliday’s client — and that noted Boras mouthpiece Jon Heyman is reporting it — but maybe he can overcome his shyness and play Omar off of someone in the service of his client. And for what it’s worth, Buster Olney says that the Mets are merely “monitoring” the Holliday talks with St. Louis, but are “not actively involved.”  If you make me choose, I’m choosing Buster here.

Whatever is really going on, all of this comes against a backdrop of people saying that the Mets need to do something big and the Mets saying that they’re going to do something big.

So stay tuned: Omar is about to pay too much for someone.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.