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Mets acting GM Zack Scott: 'We're not done' improving roster

Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics hits during

Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics hits during the MLB Home Run Derby on July 8, 2019, in Cleveland. Credit: AP/Ron Schwane

After all the moves the Mets have made this offseason, there may be more to come.

Acting general manager Zack Scott, in his first interview since joining the club in December, said he wants to be "opportunistic" in making further additions.

"No, we’re not done. We want to do some other things," Scott said Friday during a virtual news conference. "Will everything align and those things happen? Maybe, maybe not. I told Sandy [Alderson, the Mets’ president] that I’m happy with the team as is, but if we can make improvements, we’ll make improvements. We’re definitely not done trying to make improvements to the team."

Two areas could use an upgrade but don’t necessarily need it: third base and pitching.

The Mets have been linked to several star third basemen — the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez, most recently the Athletics’ Matt Chapman — who would need to be acquired via trade. Bryant will be a free agent after this season and thus likely would cost the least. Chapman isn’t scheduled to reach free agency until after the 2023 season and Suarez is under contract through at least 2024.

For now, J.D. Davis is penciled in at third base, with Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar also able to play that spot.

"I know there’s been a lot of rumors out there," Scott said. "We’re always going to look for ways to improve the team in any way we can. But we’re fully comfortable going into the season with J.D. Davis playing an important role in our club."

Notably, Scott didn’t say that Davis would be the starter, just that the Mets like him in "an important role," which could mean a prominent bench spot. Scott pointed to Davis’ hitting ability — he has a .288/.370/.483 slash line in two seasons with the Mets — and the fact that he is under team control through 2024. He did not mention Davis’ defense, which is a weakness.

"He’s a very valuable player to our organization," he said.

Do the Mets have room for another sizable expenditure for a position player, even without knowing if they’ll be able to use the DH this season?

"We have a lot of flexibility here," Scott said. "[Owner Steve Cohen has] been very supportive of things that we want to do. We want to be opportunistic, we want to be able to improve the team in any way that we can. That can be a position player, that can be pitching. It’s really just trying to make the team the best we can all the way around."

The Mets have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson in the rotation. The fifth spot seems up for grabs among the likes of Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto and others. Noah Syndergaard is expected back in June after Tommy John surgery.

Scott left open the possibility of — but did not commit to — the Mets adding another legitimate top-five starter. Rich Hill and James Paxton are among the free agents still available. Both frequently are injured but are highly effective when they are available, a dynamic that would seem to fit nicely with the rotation depth the Mets have built up this offseason.

"I definitely subscribe to the ‘never can have too much pitching’ cliche," Scott said, attributing that to lessons learned in his 17 years with the Red Sox. "The fastest way for your season to go sideways or backward is to not have quality pitching depth or to have too many injuries there. You always have to expect some level of injury there. So increasing our depth is always something that we’ll be pursuing. It doesn’t mean we’re not happy with the guys we have."

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