The New York Mets are reportedly keeping tabs on the Bryce Harper situation as the winter meetings draw near.
As Major League Baseball’s biggest free agent available on the market this offseason, the 26-year-old outfielder is poised to have one of the biggest paydays in the game’s history on a contract that is likely to exceed $300 million.
That kind of price tag almost immediately put the Mets out of contention as Harper’s contract expired with the Washington Nationals last season. After all, the Wilpon family has not been known to open up their checkbooks and splurge on top-tier talent often. Harper’s name instead has been linked mostly with the likes of the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
However, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is monitoring Harper, but there is “skepticism” that the Wilpons would allow such a move.
The Mets have been plenty busy this offseason as they’ve floated the name of star pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the trade market while suddenly becoming major players in a possible deal for Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano.
Those deals would present Van Wagenen to address more pressing areas of need. Whether it’s by dealing Syndergaard or forcing the Mariners to sweeten the return in order to take on Cano’s big contract, the Mets could get the bullpen or catching help they so desperately need.
Harper would create a logjam should the Mets make what would be their largest free-agency splash in franchise history. Their outfield is plenty set with the talents of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo.
Even if Harper’s agent, Scott Boras’ claims were true and his client can play first base, it would obviously withhold star prospect Peter Alonso’s ascension to the major leagues.
Granted, picking up the 2015 NL MVP and a player entering his prime averaging 32 home runs an 91 RBI per 162 games would provide an upgrade at any spot within the Mets roster should they feel so inclined. It would make at least one notable name expendable, which would create an opportunity to get an even better return for those actual needs on the trade market.