Mailbag: Mets Have An Interesting Offseason On The Horizon

Mets beat reporter Pat Ragazzo answers fan questions regarding the outlook of the team heading into what should be a wild offseason.
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With the Mets' disappointing 2021 season coming to a close, there are a ton of question marks heading into the offseason.

For now, Mets beat reporter Pat Ragazzo is here to answer your fan questions, as we get set to embark on what should be an interesting winter for New York.

Look out for your questions below!

Nicholas Durst- @Nick_Durst: Will [Carlos] Beltran finally make his Mets managerial debut next season?

Hey, Nick. Love this question. Changes are imminent for the Mets this offseason, and whoever comes in to run the baseball operations department will likely want to bring in their own manager. 

This doesn't bode well for Luis Rojas' chances of re-signing with the Mets, as his deal is set to expire after the season. With A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora getting second chances to manage again, following the fall out of the Astro's sign stealing scandal, Beltran deserves another shot as well.

Will that shot be with the Mets? This remains to be seen, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on. In my opinion, the Mets should kick the tires at bringing him back. 

You hear how knowledgable Alex Rodriguez is on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Beltran has a similar extensive level of knowledge for the game, which I believe will translate over nicely to the dugout.

Sbubby-@therubbyduck: What's the most likely path for Carlos Correa to become a Met? Taking everything into account (payroll, position, locker room, chemistry, etc.)

Well, payroll will be a big one, but I also don't see the Mets  showing interest in Carlos Correa. Francisco Lindor is their shortstop and under contract for the next 10-years. 

Correa is also a shortstop and it is unlikely that he'd be willing to make a positional change to come to New York. I honestly believe the Yankees should go hard for Correa this offseason, now that they've finally accepted the fact that Gleyber Torres is a second baseman.

For the Mets, think Javier Báez as the most likely option out of the superstar shortstop class. Beyond Báez, I believe the Mets should bring in Kris Bryant, or Eduardo Escobar to play third base as well. This would give them arguably the best infield in the league with Báez, Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Bryant/Escobar.

YoungAdoba- @KickinItWithKeef: Are Dom smith and Jeff McNeil with the team next year?

Jeff McNeil absolutely should be. He has endured a down year offensively, but he is also what the front office will consider to be a prime bounce back candidate in 2022. The Mets would be foolish to trade away a career .300 hitter, after one disappointing season. 

McNeil's problems are easily fixable with better coaching and an improved approach. And unless the Mets are blown away by a trade offer, since he holds the highest value due to his track record, McNeil will be with the team next season. There is definitely a legitimate chance that the Mets receive calls about McNeil's availability this offseason but I don't believe they will pull the trigger, regardless of who the new POBO is.

As for Dom Smith, he is the most likely trade candidate of the two. Maybe the Mets ship him out for a bullpen arm. If not, he could factor in as a DH or bench player. But I don't believe Smith will be in the starting lineup next year if he does stay a Met.

Samcarus-@sam-carus5: What type of deal do you see Conforto getting if he declines the QO [Qualifying Offer]?

Michael Conforto has had an abysmal season for the Mets, which couldn't have come at a worse time for him in his walk-year. I think he'd be crazy not to accept the qualifying offer which should be around $18-20 million.

But if he does in fact decline it, I don't see him getting more than a two-year deal, worth $10 million annually. However, that would set him up to become a free agent again when he is 31-years-old, which is less than ideal for him. 

This factor is more so the reason why I think he stays with the Mets on the QO to build his value back up in order to cash in after 2022.

Randy Cauthen- @Joe_Bourgeois: What's your guess of who will be new POBO/GM?

For the Mets' president of baseball operations vacancy, I believe it will be Billy Beane or Theo Epstein, or bust. Beane seems like the better fit, due to his history with Sandy Alderson, but Epstein is more available.

As for GM, I think the new POBO will bring in his own guy. There aren't too many names out there right now, besides maybe Mike Hill, the former president of baseball ops for the Miami Marlins. Hill interviewed for the top position with the Mets last offseason, but didn't get the job.

DK13- @dk13_chrisdano: Which internal free agents do you think come back? Who do you see as external targets?

Internal Free Agents:

Michael Conforto: Yes [QO]

Noah Syndergaard: Yes [One-year, $10.5 million]

Javier Báez: Yes [Five-years, $125 million]

Marcus Stroman: No

Aaron Loup: Yes [Three-years, $30 million]

Jeurys Familia: No 

External Free Agents: 

Kris Bryant or Eduardo Escobar to play third base.

If Escobar, I like Starling Marte to come in to play the corner outfield as well.

If Nick Castellanos opts out of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds, the Mets should go hard for him to pair with Báez.

Beyond the offense, the Mets are in need of pitching as well, especially if they lose Stroman.

If Stroman walks, Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray are two potential options that would strengthen their rotation, but they will be costly.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding Jacob deGrom's health next season, the Mets need to cover themselves by bringing in another ace.

I also believe the Mets should go after an elite late-inning reliever such as Kenley Jansen or Craig Kimbrel. If the Mets want to turn things around, they are going to need to spend on star talent in order to stack their roster.

Michael Basile- @Mikeslogic218:  Are [Mark] Vientos or [Brett] Baty candidates for MLB jobs or trade bait?

Great question, Mike. Mark Vientos has had a stellar minor league season and was rewarded by getting a promotion to Triple-A. This means he could very well make his major league debut at some point next year. But if the Mets sign a third baseman to a long-term deal, they could shop Vientos at the trade deadline if they are in a position to "go for it" by next July.

As for Baty, he is a natural third baseman but the Mets have given him time in left field as well, to expand his versatility. 

The 2019 first-round draft choice finished the year in Double-A and probably won't make his MLB debut until 2023. Regardless, I think the Mets should hang on to him unless he is the piece that can land them a superstar this offseason or at the deadline in order to propel them into World Series contenders.

Johnny- @PrideofSpuyten: How high will the Mets' payroll go this offseason?

If the Mets want to turn things around quickly, team owner Steve Cohen is going to have to spend a lot this offseason. 

The Mets had the third-highest payroll in baseball this season and it still wasn't enough to produce a winning-season. Now, they must add significant pieces to fill a slew of holes in order to clean up some of their roster deficiencies.

They also have a number of talented free agents to retain as well, in: Stroman, Báez, Conforto, Syndergaard and Loup.

Ben Whetsone- @Benny1Arm: What moves do they realistically make from the top down to make this team/organization better?!

First, they must bring in the right POBO to run things. It starts at the top. Next, they need an overhaul on the coaching staff, from the managerial position, to the hitting coaches.

Cohen is also going to need to try to re-sign some of the Mets' pending free agents, while bringing in a few external big names on the open market. To sum things up, they are going to have to spend an absurd amount to get better.