Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has the scoop:
The Mets clandestinely met with free-agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, according to league sources.
No Mets person would admit there was a meeting with Peralta, but sources on other teams said he did meet with them.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post was told by a Mets executive Wednesday night that Peralta just happened to be in the same town as this week’s GM meetings — Orlando, Florida — and that the Mets’ plan is to meet face-to-face with all of the players they’re interested in acquiring this offseason. That executive said “not to put big stock” in this one specific meeting.
The Mets aren’t satisfied with the production of current shortstop Ruben Tejada, who hit .202/.259/.260 with zero home runs and 10 RBI in 227 plate appearances this year. The 24-year-old could be moved to second base or relegated to a bench role if the Mets are able to make some infield upgrades this winter.
Peralta, 31, batted .303/.358/.457 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI across 448 plate appearances this summer for Detroit. He was hit with a 50-game performance-enhancing drug suspension in early August.
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.