SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Brodie Van Wagenen suggested last week that Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman might be in the 2020 rotation, he appeared to telegraph that the Mets were more likely to play in the free agent reliever market this offseason than sign a starter.
That makes sense, when you consider that a better bullpen would likely have delivered the team to the postseason.
That bit of context helps to inform our understanding of the first li'l nugget of the team's post-managerial search offseason, that the front office met Monday morning with the agency that represents both Zack Wheeler and World Series champion reliever Daniel Hudson.
(A quick word of caution: Teams and agents are here all week to meet, so news of any sit-down should not shake the world).
Wheeler is almost certain to decline the qualifying offer this week and become a free agent. The Mets passed on a chance to lock him up earlier this year, and acquired Marcus Stroman in July with an eye on filling the rotation hole next year.
The sides will continue to talk, but it feels like it would be an extreme upset to see Wheeler and the Mets agree to an extension.
Hudson seems to better represent the team's offseason strategy. According to major league sources, the Mets were interested in the righty last year, but teams were scared off by medical concerns.
After moving through the Angels and Blue Jays organizations last year, he re-established himself by becoming a key reliever in Washington's championship run. He should command a two-year deal, though the market for relievers is far from clear.
Whether the Mets sign Hudson, Dellin Betances, Will Harris, Will Smith, or Joe Smith (that's a lot of Will's and Smith's in different combinations, by the way), their quickest path to contention in 2020 could be shopping in that aisle.