While the New York Mets made their first major move in over a month by signing free-agent right fielder Jay Bruce to a three-year deal on Wednesday night, it looks as though they let another opportunity to address a major need go by the wayside.
According to FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman, it looked as though the Mets and Cleveland Indians had a deal in place that would have sent second baseman Jason Kipnis to New York. However, the trade was canceled at the last moment, and Heyman suggests that it was the Mets that nixed the deal, stating that it was "very likely over money."
Kipnis had been on the Mets radar since at least mid-December.
The Mets have built a reputation of being run like a small-market club when it comes to spending money despite playing in the largest sports market in the United States. Kipnis is due $28 million over the next two seasons with a $2.5 million buyout option in 2020.
Talks with Bruce might have been the reason why this deal was canceled. His new deal worth $39 million over the next three years might have taken up too much of the Mets' small available payroll, which is expected to come in at around $155 million in 2018. Adding another $30.5 million over the next two years in the form of Kipnis' contract might have forced the Mets to make a decision between him and Bruce.
But the Mets are still without a second or third baseman. Depending on who they bring on — and one shouldn't expect the Mets to re-engage with Cleveland about Kipnis — Asdrubal Cabrera will fill the other position in 2018. New York has been in discussions with third basemen Todd Frazier and Mike Moustakas.