12 teams – including the Mets – have expressed interest in Steve Cishek

Steve Cishek 1 slice

BaronSteve Cishek was non-tendered by the Cardinals last week, making him a free agent for the first time in his career.

And now that he’s a free agent, Cishek’s services are in high demand, as there are as many as 12 teams to express interest in the right-handed sidearm reliever, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN Radio in Minneapolis.

One of those teams, according to Marc Carig of Newsday, happens to be the Mets as they expand their search for bullpen help this winter.

Cishek would be an interesting high-upside move for the Mets. He struggled in Miami early in the 2015 season, but excelled in St. Louis after being traded, posting a 2.31 ERA and an ERA+ of 174 after being acquired from the Marlins.

2015 Winter MeetingsHowever, Cishek earned $6.6 million in 2015 in his second year of arbitration eligibility, and the Cardinals clearly didn’t see the value in spending more than $7 million on him for 2016.

But any team that signs Cishek would have him under control for two more seasons through arbitration (he was a super-two player in 2014). He has a good history as the Marlins closer despite his deep struggles with them in 2015, and he could be a valuable weapon against right-handed hitters with his career .588 opposing OPS.

Cishek also might be a less expensive option for the Mets to consider as well, although he won’t be cheap in all probability, especially as the relief market grows more and more inflated with multi-year offers and deals being forged.

But Cishek is unique in that he comes with that extra year of control no matter what. And a team like the Mets covet players with years of control. Perhaps they could work out a two-year contract which buys out that expensive fourth year of arbitration at a potential discount.

In this market, a two-year contract worth $10-12 million seems very reasonable for Cishek, who could pitch in a variety of roles for the Mets and possibly spell Jeurys Familia as the club’s closer if necessary.

And if he’s right, he could be one of the great values in the short-relief market this winter.

Mets have 3 primary needs to fill ahead of the Winter Meetings

Gaylord Entertainment Marriott

BaronIts only been five weeks since the last time the Mets played a baseball game, but the club has spent those five weeks looking for ways to get over the top of the mountain and win the 2016 World Series, exactly 30 years after their last championship.

They will begin to do so at the Winter Meetings which technically begin tomorrow morning at the at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Mets are already projected to have a $92-95 million in payroll for 2016 with players currently under contract, projected salaries through arbitration, and players earning the league minimum. That’s all without adding new talent.

And the Mets need to add and replenish some of the talent lost on the big league roster.

2015 Winter MeetingsYoenis Cespedes, Jerry Blevins, Eric O’Flaherty, Bartolo Colon, Bobby Parnell, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Murphy are all free agents.

The Mets added OF Brandon Nimmo, RHP Seth Lugo, and RHP Robert Gsellman to the 40-man roster in late November to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings. They did not protect Matt Bowman or Wuilmer Becerra, so they could conceivably taken in the Rule 5 draft by other teams.

The 40-man roster currently stands at 39.

The Mets have already signed RHP Jim Henderson, RHP Stolmy Pimentel and infielder Ty Kelly to minor league contracts, but have yet to sign anyone to a Major League deal this winter.

That could change this week, as team insiders insist they will be active in their attempt to fortify the roster this week in Nashville.

DePodesta Ricciardi Ricco WilponHowever, the front office will be missing a key presence to their contingent in Nashville this week, as Sandy Alderson will stay in New York as he undergoes treatment for cancer.

Instead, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon will join assistant GM John Ricco, manager Terry Collins, Vice President, Player Development & Amateur Scouting Paul DePodesta, and special assistant JP Ricciardi as the continent for the Mets at the Winter Meetings.

The Mets have identified three primary needs as they head to the Winter Meetings, with hopes their activity can lead to solutions as they look ahead to Spring Training.

Their goal is to lengthen their lineup by improving their contact rate, reducing their strikeouts, and lengthening their lineup with a greater ability to get on-base.

They also want to create a lockdown formula in their bullpen, and improve their overall defense behind their championship-caliber starting pitching, the latter they hope will make them more efficient and lengthen their outings.

Here’s a look at how the Mets hope to reach those goals this winter… Continue reading

Mets still eyeing outfield, relief markets


Rich MacLeod

While the Mets offseason has been centered around free agent infielder Ben Zobrist up until this point, that doesn’t mean the team isn’t eying other options at other positions.

According to Newsday’s Marc Carig, the Mets are still looking into the outfield market, and specifically at players such as Denard Span and Gerardo Parra. Continue reading