With the winter meetings getting started Sunday in San Diego, here are five Mets topics to keep an eye on:
1. Will we learn anything about Steve Cohen’s pending purchase of the Mets? The Mets have refused to clarify or elaborate on any part of the Wilpons' sale of the majority stake of the team — a deal that isn’t final yet — and there is no guarantee that we will learn anything about that this week. But general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made a point of bringing chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon to the winter meetings last year, so there is a chance he will be present again. Might he break his silence? At minimum, Van Wagenen will speak to reporters four times.
2. What is Dominic Smith’s fate? He is a useful player — and under team control for five more years — without an obvious path to regular playing time with the 2020 Mets. That makes him trade bait, especially if the Mets can find the right match, e.g. a team looking for a first baseman(/leftfielder) that has pitching to spare.
3. Who are the coaches? Carlos Beltran’s first coaching staff is expected to be finalized this week. We already know the biggest roles: bench coach Hensley Meulens, plus Jeremy Hefner as pitching coach and Chili Davis back as hitting coach. Several members of the organization last year are candidates to return in some capacity: Gary DiSarcina, Jeremy Accardo, Luis Rojas, Tony DeFrancesco.
4. What will Beltran say about the cheating allegations against the Astros? Every manager holds a news conference during the winter meetings, and that includes Beltran and Boston’s Alex Cora, both of whom are connected to the 2017 Astros’ alleged illegal sign-stealing scandal. When the story broke last month, Beltran denied any wrongdoing. We’ll see if anything changes now that Major League Baseball is investigating the issue and presumably has talked to Beltran.
5. What’s the deal with Yoenis Cespedes? Last month, Van Wagenen said it was too early to know Cespedes’ status for 2020. But now we’re just two months away from pitchers and catchers reporting. Cespedes’ availability — or lack thereof — has significant playing-time and financial ramifications on the rest of the organization.