During the course of the day, I often text and talk with a variety of MLB insiders to better understand what is happening in the hot stove.
The following are insights, ideas and notes gathered from recent conversations with team sources, rival executives, reporters, front office assistants and talent evaluators...
Adding to the bullpen...
My hunch is the Mets will sign at least one relief pitcher before the end of the Winter Meetings.
I predict the Mets land on free-agent RHP Dellin Betances, who rival executives see ultimately choosing between them or returning to the Yankees.
The Brewers and Rangers are among the teams the Mets have contacted about trading a big-league player (J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith) for a closer. That said, trade rumors involving closer Josh Hader are coming from teams contacting the Brewers, who -- though open to ideas -- are not very interested in trading him.
Adding a starting pitcher...
There is a decent trade market for mid- to back-end starting pitchers. However, to be worth it for the Mets, it would need to be a salary-for-salary type deal, such as dealing Jed Lowrie or Jeurys Familia for J.A. Happ.
Otherwise, the Mets are probably better served just signing a similarly-productive pitcher from the free agent market for half the money, such as Gio Gonzalez or Ivan Nova.
Most people I know are convinced the Pirates will deal Chris Archer, who is due $9 million in 2020, after which he can be a free agent. However, in exchange Pittsburgh wants a young position player, such as J.D. Davis or Smith.
Given that free agent pitchers are asking for and getting more than expected, I bet we soon see rumors about rebuilding teams like the Tigers offering up their best young pitchers, such as Matthew Boyd, who will likely earn around $20 million the next three seasons.
Adding an outfielder...
The Mets are still looking for a center fielder, which would suggest recently acquired OF Jake Marisnick may be viewed as a fourth outfielder -- not a one-spot solution.
Brodie Van Wagenen is reportedly interested in Pirates CF Starling Marte. Similarly, the buzz from L.A. continues to be the Dodgers looking to swap a contract for Joc Pederson.
The Rockies will gladly trade CF Charlie Blackmon, who is guaranteed $21 million each of the next two seasons, after which he has two player options. However, at that money, 33 years old and getting worse each season, the Rockies will need to pick up at least half of the money due to him.
I surveyed six team sources and five expect Mookie Betts to be on the Red Sox next April.
No more Syndergaard rumors...
No one I know has heard Noah Syndergaard's name mentioned in legit trade talks.
"If I had to guess, at this point, i think they're more likely to give him an extension than trade him," one insider said.
How much? The same person said six years, $100 million seems fair for both sides.
Random trade ideas suggested to me...
The Mets and Padres should explore swapping Jeurys Familia (due $22 million for two years) for LF-1B Wil Myers (due $66 million for three years) and either cash or prospects.
The Reds are looking for a catcher like Mets C Wilson Ramos. I see no evidence Van Wagenen wants to deal Ramos, but -- if he does -- the Angels might also have interest.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is a senior writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime.