The Mets haven’t made a big splash in the offseason, but that could change as the team remains interested in two of their former players, free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce and free-agent reliever Addison Reed, and still is speaking with the Pirates about outfielder Andrew McCutchen and second baseman Josh Harrison, according to an industry source.
“The team you see right now I don’t think is the team [they are] going to spring training with,’’ the source said. “I think [they will] surprise some people.’’
The Mets had a $148-million payroll in 2017 and reportedly want to shave $20 million off that figure, but the source said money is available for the right deals whether it be now or at this season’s trade deadline.
Obtaining McCutchen and Harrison could be problematic because of the Mets’ thin farm system. Plus, McCutchen is owed $14.5 million in the final year of his contract and Harrison is signed through 2020 for a total of $32 million. McCutchen reportedly has been linked to a trade involving the Giants.
Bruce hit 29 home runs with 75 RBIs in 103 games for the Mets last season before he was dealt to the Indians. It was part of a sell-off that included Reed to the Red Sox, Neil Walker to the Brewers, Lucas Duda to the Rays, Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers and Rene Rivera, who was claimed by the Cubs. The Mets also shopped Asdrubal Cabrera but ultimately picked up his $8.5-million option for 2018. Cabrera gives the Mets the versatility they seek as he can play second or third base.
Bruce, who appears open to a return, would bring the added benefit of filling in at first base if Dominic Smith does not pan out. Reed had 19 saves after taking over for injured closer Jeurys Familia. Reed reportedly has been linked to the Phillies and Cardinals. His asking price has been projected at $10 million a season.
While the team looks to add a hitter or two, the emphasis remains on pitching. The hope is the starting rotation returns healthy, but new manager Mickey Callaway likes a deep bullpen so work continues on that front. The Mets signed Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14-million deal in December.
David Wright update. The source said Wright has told the Mets he feels “great,’’ after rotator cuff and back surgery, but the team’s 35-year old captain, who has not played since May 2016, is not anticipated to be the starting third baseman this season. Wright is owed $47 million through 2020.