PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto are in the middle of contract negotiations with the Mets, and team president Sandy Alderson this month mentioned Noah Syndergaard as another candidate for such a deal.
But the same doesn’t seem to be true for the Mets’ fourth major pending free agent, Marcus Stroman.
"We haven’t gone down that road at all," Stroman, a Medford native, said Tuesday. "I’m open, but I’m focused on doing everything I can to help this team win."
For now, then, Stroman is headed back to free agency this offseason for what could be a career-defining payday. He had the opportunity for the same last November until he opted to return to the Mets and accept a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer.
After passing on participating in last season because of what he said were coronavirus concerns, Stroman, who turns 30 in May, will have a shot at improving his stock with a full 2021 season.
Not that he is thinking about free agency already.
"I truly don’t live outside of the moment," he said. "I don’t even live in tomorrow or next week. So I truly believe my free agency will be fine. It’s all been manifested. I work extremely hard, so everything will play out as it should."
In his fifth exhibition game of camp, Stroman (3.44 ERA) allowed three runs in five innings in a 5-3 win over the Marlins. He struck out three and walked none.
The other Jacob
Bullpen candidate Jacob Barnes, a righthander, is up to four consecutive scoreless Grapefruit League appearances — and his escape job Tuesday might’ve been his most impressive yet.
He entered in the sixth inning, in relief of Stroman, with runners on first and second and nobody out. Isan Diaz struck out swinging (cutter), Chad Wallach struck out swinging (cutter again) and JJ Bleday popped out to third baseman J.D. Davis in foul territory.
"It was tremendous," manager Luis Rojas said. "That was a high-leverage situation. Him coming in and shutting it down, getting the two strikeouts and a pop-up, coming back after sometimes losing command — everything."
Francisco Lindor homered for the fourth time in five games, but what got Pete Alonso’s attention was his ability to hold a runner at second base.
"Even though he didn’t necessarily make a play, the way he handled the entire situation, he was basically orchestrating the game," Alonso said. "Obviously he’s extremely talented, but his baseball IQ is going to keep him in the game a really long time."
Rojas mentioned that the Mets might carry both Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto on the Opening Day roster, with one heading to the bullpen. They are "still a long ways" from making that decision, Rojas said . . . The Mets will have their third and final off day Thursday. "It’s about to get a little hot again," Rojas said. "One of the priorities here is also leaving camp healthy, so I think it’s an important day off."