The Mets may not even pretend to contend next year

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While all teams are constantly making changes and are trying to build a winner, the Mets haven’t declared a full-fledged rebuild — the kind where everyone of value is sold off and the process begins anew — for many, many years.  But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that’s on the table this winter.

After commenting on Sandy Alderson’s comments regarding a potential $100-110 million payroll for 2012, Sherman says that at least some on the organization believe that even more drastic measures are needed:

And actually for the first time this week, a top Mets official said to me what none had been willing to before, either for the record or for background: That one serious discussion being had at the upper reaches of the franchise is whether it would be wise to cut back greatly next year and make 2012 a rebuilding season in which club officials do not go through the annual game of trying to convince fans, if everything breaks right, they can be a playoff team.

Given where Alderson is on the record, that implies that this scenario would mean less than that $100-110 million idea.  Although even with that said, it doesn’t sound like a scorched earth rebuild, as Sherman mentions the possibility of the Mets jumping back into the free agent pool following the 2012 season. Maybe it’s just semantics: we’re not going to give lip service to the idea of contending, even if we don’t cut things back to, say, $80 million.

Whatever they do, I think they have the right general manager to handle a rebuild, be it major or moderate, so this kind of talk shouldn’t be nearly as worrisome as it might have been a couple of years ago.

Report: Astros, Michael Brantley agree to two-year, $32 million contract

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.

Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.