PORT ST. LUCIE – While this Mets’ first spring training of the Steve Cohen Era will be about preparing for the greatness of 2021, it will also be about the franchise’s long-term talent base.
And Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor aren’t the only objects of the Mets’ desire.
Mets president Sandy Alderson said Monday that, in addition to impending free agents Conforto and Lindor, the Mets also intend to sign a third-year player, Noah Syndergaard, who will start this season on the roster. injured while returning 2020 Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
“Noah’s contract expires at the end of the year,” Alderson said in a Zoom call. “It would be natural for us to talk about the possibilities, the options. We will do that. “
Syndergaard may very well want to wait to reestablish its market value with a strong return from surgery. However, this marked the first time Alderson has raised such a perspective.
As for Lindor and Conforto, Alderson said: “I think those conversations will start relatively soon in both cases.”
The Mets acquired Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Indians in a mega trade in January.
“We made the trade,” Alderson said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are guaranteed to have it in the long term, but I think we are committed to talking about it.”
Regarding Lindor’s request that these negotiations be concluded at the end of spring training, “Francisco has said that he does not want to negotiate after the season begins. We have taken it at face value. We will do our best to see what can be done between now and then. On the other hand, if things don’t work out by the end of spring training, hopefully we can keep communicating … We’ll try to make that schedule the best we can. ”Alderson praised Lindor for the leadership he has shown early in camp. .
Conforto’s agent, Scott Boras, has established his brand through free agency, although some of his clients, including Stephen Strasbrugh with the Nationals and José Altuve with the Astros, have bypassed free agency and turned lucrative. extensions.
“We’ve had Conforto for many years,” said Alderson, who selected Conforto 10th overall as the Mets general manager in the 2014 amateur draft. “He has not only become an excellent player, but who is also part of the leadership group within the clubhouse. He has represented the Mets for a long period of time and he represented us well. I think if possible, we will make an effort to keep Michael with us. “
Alderson defended the Mets’ busy winter, in which they added top-tier talent and depth to the roster, but didn’t add any of the top free agents (Trevor Bauer, DJ LeMahieu, JT Realmuto or George Springer), a surprise. . to the industry.
“I’m very comfortable with the way he shook it off,” Alderson said. “We acquired Lindor and Carrasco from Cleveland. They were great acquisitions. We had to be aware of the negotiations we could enter into with Lindor, with Conforto, possibly with Syndergaard. There are many opportunities for us to spend money in the long term. “
Discussing the Mets’ decision to sign James McCann as a receiver over Realmuto, Alderson said: “If we hadn’t turned to McCann, we may not have acquired Lindor and Carrasco after spending a lot of money on someone else,” referring to obviously to Realmuto.
It is widely believed that Springer, a Connecticut native, wanted to join the Mets. He signed a six-year, $ 150 million deal with the Blue Jays after the Mets offered him $ 125 million over five years.
“I think it all came down to five years to six,” Alderson said. “In our case, we had to constantly be aware of the players who were already on the team who were going to be in a similar position and how many of those deals we could actually negotiate and complete without being paralyzed in the future. If we had signed Springer, it would probably be less likely that we would re-sign Conforto.
“At some point, even Steve Cohen runs out of money.”