Mets free agency and trade buzz: New York’s reportedly showing ‘strong interest’ in Lucas Giolito

Mets free agency and trade buzz: New York’s reportedly showing ‘strong interest’ in Lucas Giolito

Here’s the latest Mets free agency and trade buzz during the 2023-24 MLB offseason…


Dec. 26, 11:30 p.m.

As the Mets look to fill out their starting rotation this offseason, the club is reportedly showing strong interest in right-hander Lucas Giolito, according to Mike Puma of the NY Post.

Among the handful of top arms remaining on the free agent market, Giolito certainly makes the most sense for the Mets on a one or two year prove-it deal.

The right-hander is coming off a season in which he posted 4.88 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 33 starts with the White Sox, Angels, and Guardians.

Though he’s been a bit shaky over the past few years, he has remained a relatively reliable innings-eater, having made 30+ starts in three straight campaigns.

Dec. 23, 7:00 p.m.

With ace right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto officially off the board on a historic deal with the Dodgers, the Mets and many other teams will have to turn elsewhere to fill out their rotation this offseason.

One of the more intriguing arms remaining on the free agent market is Japanese southpaw Shota Imanaga.

With his Jan. 11 deadline quickly approaching, the 30-year-old is expected to meet with teams in the United States after the New Year, according to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Imanaga doesn’t quite have the upside Yamamoto posses, but he’s certainly enjoyed his fair share of success over the past few years in the NPB.

Both the Mets and Yankees could make a ton of sense for the left-hander, who struck out 188 batters last season and is seen as more of a middle of the rotation arm.

Dec. 20, 12:07 p.m.

In addition to reaching out to the top free agent starting pitchers on the market who can contribute in 2023, the Mets have “checked in” on free agent right-hander Brandon Woodruff, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post.

Woodruff had surgery in October to repair the anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder, and is expected to miss most of the 2024 season — and perhaps all of it.

That means any team signing Woodruff would be doing so with an eye on him providing value in 2025, when he’ll be entering his age-32 season.

Woodruff has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since 2020, with a 2.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP to go along with 566 strikeouts in 473.1 innings over 81 starts — a strikeout rate of nearly 11 per nine innings.

The expectation is that Woodruff will ink a two-year deal this offseason, which would give the signing team a chance at an upside play in 2024 and provide him with some security while he rehabs.

At present, the Mets have only one reliable starting pitcher (Kodai Senga) under contract beyond 2024.

Dec. 15, 8:50 p.m.

The Mets have reportedly engaged in discussions with the camp of infielder and former Met Justin Turner, per the New York Post’s Mike Puma.

Turner has been mentioned as a potential name to join the Mets for some weeks now, especially after Ronny Mauricio injured his knee in the Dominican Winter League.

SNY’s Andy Martino brought up during the Dec. 5 episode of Mets Hot Stove that Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns liked Turner when he was running the Milwaukee Brewers and tried to acquire him then.

Dec. 14, 8:00 p.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are acquiring RHP Tyler Glasnow and OF Manuel Margot from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHP Ryan Pepiot and OF Jonny Deluca, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Glasnow and Margot were mentioned as potential targets for the Mets as they look to upgrade their starting rotation and outfield. However, as David Stearns said earlier this offseason, New York is reluctant to trade prospects for rental players.

As for the Dodgers, it’s unknown how this acquisition will impact their pursuit of Japanese ace right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, with Glasnow expected to sign an extension.

Dec. 13, 8:34 a.m.

The Mets remain interested in free agent outfielder Michael A. Taylor, reports Mike Puma of The New York Post.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Dec. 4 that the Mets had talked to Taylor.

Much of Taylor’s value comes from his defense and speed, and he was elite in both areas in 2023.

He was in the 94th percentile in outs above average and 90th percentile in arm strength.

His sprint speed was in the 85th percentile.

The 32-year-old Taylor, who profiles as a fourth outfielder, slashed .220/.278/.442 in 129 games this past season for the Twins.

Dec. 10, 1:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who agreed to sign Shohei Ohtani to the most lucrative contract in the history of American sports, don’t appear done looking to add big names this offseason as, according to The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya, Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow has “emerged as a prominent” trade target over the last week.

There is the suggestion that, with Ohtani now signed, the talks between the Dodgers and Rays could pick up, according to Ardaya. But LA is joined in its pursuit by the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angles and at least one other ball club that has approached Tampa.

Glasnow, 30, is owed $25 million this year and will become a free agent next offseason. In 21 starts last season, he pitched to a 3.53 ERA (2.91 FIP) and 1.083 WHIP with 37 walks and 162 strikeouts. over 120 innings pitched after Tommy John surgery took most of his 2021 and 2022.

Ardaya also mentioned that there is “buzz” around centerfielder Michael A. Taylor, a potential target of the Mets to fill an outfield role, and former Yankee utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Dec. 7, 12:41 p.m.

A couple of NL West teams in the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres are active on center fielders this offseason, which includes former Yankee and potential Mets target Harrison Bader, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Both clubs are also reported to have interest in another Mets target, outfielder Jung Hoo Lee, who has a robust market since his posting window opened on Tuesday morning, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

After trading Juan Soto and Trent Grisham to the Yanks on Wednesday, the Padres have a dearth of major league outfielders on their roster.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has seven outfielders on its roster, including Michael Conforto, but are without a true center fielder.

Dec. 5, 7:20 p.m.

Right-hander Erick Fedde is signing a two-year deal worth up to $15 million with the Chicago White Sox, according to multiple reports.

The Mets were one of numerous teams showing interest in the 30-year-old, who is a former first-round pick and top prospect of the Washington Nationals.

Fedde has struggled throughout his big-league career, but he’s coming off a terrific campaign in the KBO in which he took home the league’s MVP and Cy Young after posting a 2.00 ERA and 209 strikeouts.

With him now off the board, David Stearns and the Mets will now have to turn elsewhere as they look to build out their starting rotation this offseason.

Dec. 5, 3:17 p.m.

The Mets have interest in free agent right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who adds that the Dodgers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Royals have also expressed interest.

Along with the Mets, the Dodgers and Red Sox also have strong interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto, with Yamamoto’s eventual destination perhaps impacting how strongly those teams pursue Giolito.

Giolito, 29, pitched well for the White Sox last season before getting traded to the Angels and eventually finishing the year with the Guardians.

In 121 innings over 21 starts for the White Sox, Giolito had a 3.79 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 131 strikeouts.

In 12 combined starts with the Angels and Guardians, Giolito pitched so poorly that his ERA for the season rose to 4.88. He had a 6.89 ERA for Los Angeles and a 7.04 ERA for Cleveland.

Giolito put together very strong seasons for the White Sox from 2019 to 2021, when he had a 3.47 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 72 starts while striking out 11.1 batters per nine.

Dec. 4, 11:30 p.m.

The Mets and Chicago White Sox are the two finalists for right-hander Erick Fedde, with a decision coming as soon as Tuesday, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Feinsand reports that a deal is expected to come in around the two-year, $10 million range for the 30-year-old.

Fedde has struggled throughout his big-league career, but he’s coming off a terrific campaign in the KBO in which he took home the league’s MVP after posting a 2.00 ERA and 209 strikeouts.

Dec. 4, 3:39 p.m.

The Mets “could be a potential fallback” for free agent LHP Blake Snell, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post, who discussed the situation on The Walk-Off via Bleacher Report.

Heyman suggested that Snell’s deal could eclipse $200 million.

Snell, the reigning National League Cy Young award winner, is attached to a qualifying offer, which means the Mets will forfeit a pick in the 2024 MLB Draft if they sign him.

In 32 starts over 180 innings for the Padres in 2023, Snell — who is entering his age-31 season — led the majors with a 2.25 ERA (3.44 FIP). He had a 1.18 WHIP and allowed just 5.8 hits per nine, which also led the league.

Snell also led the league in a stat no one wants the distinction of having, with the 99 walks he issued being the most in baseball — good for a rate of 5.0 per nine, which was his worst walk rate since his rookie season.

In addition to concerns about his command, Snell has thrown more than 130 innings just twice in his eight-year career and often has trouble pitching deep into games.

SNY’s Andy Martino recently reported that separate from the Mets’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto pursuit, Jordan Montgomery would be a likelier option for New York than Snell or Eduardo Rodriguez.

Star outfielder Jung Hoo Lee has been posted by the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO, and his 30-day window to sign with an MLB team will open on Tuesday.

Along with the Mets and Yankees, Lee has been linked in reports to the Giants and Padres.

MLB Trade Rumors projected before the offseason that Lee would sign a five-year deal worth $50 million.

The 25-year-old has been a star over the past few seasons in the KBO. Lee’s a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, and a five-time Gold Glove award winner.

The sweet-swinging lefty is a career .340 hitter and has been able to get on base at a stellar .407 clip. He also batted .429 with two doubles and five RBI across four games as part of Team Korea during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Lee underwent season-ending ankle surgery in July, but MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported earlier this offseason that he is expected to be full-go for the beginning of the next season.

Dec. 3, 7:23 p.m.

At the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings from Dec. 4-6 in Nashville, Tenn., the Mets’ “shopping list” is an outfielder, free agent starting pitching and relief pitching, according to SNY’s Andy Martino.

Chief among those on New York’s list is Yoshinobu Yamamoto, whom the Mets “are still in on,” as Martino described.

Nov. 30, 4:30 p.m.

The Mets have made an addition to their bullpen, signing right-hander Austin Adams to a one-year Major League, non-guaranteed split contract, according to the team.

Adams spent last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but his season was cut a bit short after landing on the 60-day IL due to a fractured ankle in early August.

When he was on the mound he struggled a bit, pitching to a 5.71 ERA and 1.38 WHIP across just 17.1 innings of work.

The 32-year-old right-hander could be an intriguing bounce-back candidate for New York, as he has been able to enjoy some success over his seven-year big-league career.

Adams struggles with command at times but he generates a ton of strikeouts (27.7 K-rate) and posses a wicked slider which he throws around 90 percent of the time.

Nov. 30, 8:53 a.m.

In a wide-ranging article about David Stearns‘ acclimation to the Mets job — and the financial resources he now has at his disposal — Joel Sherman of The New York Post spoke with rival executives regarding the Mets’ offseason plans.

And one executive said his perception is that the Mets are going “full bore” in trying to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shota Imanaga, and others.

“They’re not messing around,” the exec told The Post. “I don’t think they have the stomach for a year or two to get the ship turned around.”

Sherman noted that “many executives spoken to think the Mets have an advantage with Yamamoto” since Steve Cohen has the ability to let Yamamoto’s camp know he’ll simply top any offer.

The Mets’ strong interest in Yamamoto has been reported by SNY’s Andy Martino.

Nov. 29, 8:45 p.m.

SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are in agreement with utility man Joey Wendle pending a physical.

Wendle’s deal is reportedly for roughly $2 million plus performance bonuses.

Wendle, 33, is an eight-year veteran who has spent time with the Oakland A‘s, Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins. Last season, Wendle slashed .212/.248/.306 in 112 games with the Marlins.

His best season came in 2021 with the Rays when he slashed .265/.319/.422 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI en route to his first and only All-Star selection.

The appeal of Wendle is his flexibility around the field. Wendle has experience at every infield position, aside from first base, as well as left and right field, albeit in limited time.

Nov. 29, 4:48 p.m.

Trade talks for Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease have “intensified in the last 48 hours,” according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. The Atlanta Braves – his hometown team – are among the finalists.

Morosi noted that some close to the negotiations believe that a trade before the MLB’s Winter Meetings begin Monday, Dec. 4 is “increasingly possible.”

Cease had a disappointing 2023 campaign, pitching to a 4.58 ERA (3.72 FIP) in 177.0 innings over 33 starts. The righty, who turns 28 in late December, still had 214 strikeouts (his third-straight season of over 200 Ks) for a 10.9 strikeout per 9-inning ratio, but walked 79 batters (4.0 walks per nine) to contribute to a 1.418 WHIP on the year.

Nov. 28, 8:44 a.m.

Star Japanese LHP Shota Imanaga has been posted by his NPB club, the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, starting the clock on his 45-day window to sign with an MLB team.

The 30-year-old is coming off a fantastic season for Yokohama, as he posted a 2.77 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched.

Imanaga’s walk rate was also minuscule — a career-best 1.4 per nine innings.

In eight seasons in Japan for NPB, Imanaga has a 3.18 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while averaging 9.2 strikeouts per nine and 2.5 walks per nine.

Imanaga does not have the upside fellow NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto does, but there is expected to be strong interest in the southpaw.

Nov. 27, 9:40 a.m

Right-hander Sonny Gray and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a three-year, $75 million deal, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Gray is the Cardinals’ third foray into the starting pitching market this offseason after agreeing to deals with Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson. This could indicate that St. Louis is no longer in the race to sign Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The 11-year MLB veteran was an All-Star for the Twins last season, pitching to a 2.79 ERA (2.83 FIP, best in MLB) in 184.0 innings over 32 starts. Gray struck out 183 batters with 55 walks and his eight home runs allowed gave him the lowest homers per nining rate in baseball (0.391). The 34-year-old one-time Yankee had a 5.3 WAR last season, the fourth-highest in the game.

The Mets’ interest in Gray likely cooled after the Twins extended him a qualifying offer, and would end up costing New York draft capital.

Nov. 26, 8:15 p.m.

The Detroit Tigers have secured the signature of right-hander Kenta Maeda on a two-year, $24-million deal, according to multiple reports.

The 35-year-old pitched for the last three seasons of Detroit’s division foes in Minnesota. In 2023, he had a 4.23 ERA (4.02 FIP) in 104.1 innings over 21 games (20 starts) with a 1.169 WHIP. He struck out 117 batters with just 28 walks after missing all of the 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Maeda has a 3.92 ERA over 866.1 innings and 190 games (155 starts) in his seven-year big league career.

Nov. 20, 5:00 p.m.

The Mets announced on Monday afternoon that they’ve reached an agreement with right-hander Cole Sulser on a minor league deal with an invite to MLB spring training.

Sulser made just four appearances at the big league level last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing four earned runs across 5.1 innings. He landed on the IL with a right shoulder strain and then struggled his way through 18 minor league outings.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed some MLB success, having pitched to a 2.70 ERA back in 2021 with the Baltimore Orioles. He’s regressed mightily since then but will look to turn things around with New York.

Sulser relies on a three pitch mix of a fastball, slider, and changeup.

Nov. 20, 12:05 p.m.

Free agent relief pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, a potential target for the Mets this offseason, has agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

Lopez will make $4 million in 2024 and $11 million each in 2025 and 2026. There is a club option for the 2027 season for $8 million with a $4 million buyout, Atlanta announced.

Over the last three seasons, Lopez posted a 3.14 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 201 strikeouts in 189 innings over 149 appearances (including 10 starts) for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago dealt Lopez and starter Lucas Giolito to the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline before releasing him a month later in a salary dump. He finished the 2023 season – his first as a full-time reliever – with the Cleveland Guardians, who claimed him on waivers.

Overall, he pitched to a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings over 68 outings for the three teams last year.

Nov. 18, 10:10 p.m.

After the non–tender deadline, the Mets have around a dozen spots to fill on the 40-man roster and one pitcher who they are showing interest in is former Yankee Luis Severino.

The Athletic’s Will Sammon reports the Queens club is among the teams to have shown interest in the right-hander and “plan to soon meet” with him.

Severino is coming off a rough 2023 campaign marred by several injuries and some struggles on the mound, the final year of a four-year, $40 million extension he signed with the Yanks ahead of the 2019 season. He pitched to a career-worst 6.65 ERA (6.14 FIP) in 89.1 innings over 19 outings (18 starts).

But the righty, who turns 30 in Feb. 2024, has had success in the past, pitching to a 3.18 ERA over 102 innings in 2022 after missing nearly all of the prior three seasons with injury. (He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020.)

Nov. 17, 8:22 p.m.

The Milwaukee Brewers opted to non-tender starter Brandon Woodruff at Friday’s 8 p.m. deadline.

Woodruff, who was projected to make $11.5 million if he was tendered, is now a free agent. Before the non-tender deadline, Woodruff was being shopped around by the Brewers to “multiple teams” according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Woodruff recently underwent right shoulder surgery and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2024 season and was set for free agency after next year.

It’s unclear if teams will look to sign Woodruff to a contract prior to the 2024 season or wait until he’s ready to return but the Mets are among the teams in need of multiple starters for the upcoming campaign.

Nov. 17, 10:43 a.m.

It’s unclear what the Brewers will do with pending free agent Corbin Burnes this offseason, but they’ve made his co-ace available.

Milwaukee is discussing Brandon Woodruff in conversations with “multiple teams,” reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Woodruff, who — like Burnes — is set for free agency after the 2024 season, had shoulder surgery in October and is expected to miss most (if not all) of this coming season.

The above obviously clouds the situation, and would seriously blunt any return the Brewers got for him via trade.

Woodruff, 31, is projected to earn roughly $11.5 million in 2024 during what is his final season of arbitration.

Nov. 16, 10:45 a.m.

A trade for Manuel Margot this offseason reportedly seems likely, and the Mets are among “at least five teams” including the Yankees that have have shown interest in the outfielder, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post.

Coming off a down year in 2023, Margot is set to make $10 million in 2024 with a $12 million option the following year that has a $2 million buyout.

The 29-year-old is a plus defender, and would provide the Mets with insurance in the outfield for Starling Marte, who is coming off an injury-plagued year and is entering his age-35 season.

Nov. 14, 2:41 p.m.

Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow “is out there and available today and this week” for teams interested in trading for him, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Glasnow, who will be entering his final season of arbitration in 2024, is expected to earn roughly $25 million.

The Rays often trade players who are extremely expensive and on the verge of free agency, so dealing Glasnow this offseason would make sense.

Glasnow missed almost the entire 2022 season and the first two months of 2023 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

When Glasnow returned this past season, he did so with fastball velocity that was right around his career norm (an average of 96.4 mph), continued to strike out batters at a prolific rate (12.2 per nine), and had advanced numbers that were mostly elite.

Since coming into his own in 2019 during his age-25 season, Glasnow has posted a 3.03 ERA (2.89 FIP) and 1.01 WHIP with 462 strikeouts (12.5 per nine) over 332.2 innings.

The issue has been Glasnow’s availability, but with a reconstructed UCL, perhaps his injury troubles are in the past.

Nov. 9, 10:57 a.m.

The White Sox are “open for business,” GM Chris Getz told reporters this week at the GM Meetings, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noting that Chicago is open to trading right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, and others.

Cease could be of interest to the Mets, who are looking to add two or three starting pitchers this offseason.

Entering his age-28 season, Cease is under team control through 2025. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2022 after a strong 2021 campaign, but regressed in 2023 while posting a 4.58 ERA.

A look at Cease’s advanced stats from last season show that he remained elite when it came to his whiff rate, strikeout rate, and ability to prevent hitters from barreling the ball up — so he could be due for a bounce back in 2024.

Nov. 7, 4:04 p.m.

David Stearns discussed the money vs. prospects debate, and whether New York was willing to deal from a farm system that is on the upswing and features several potentially high-impact players who should start to contribute in the majors in 2024 and 2025.

“I think where we are as an organization I’ve been very explicit about this, and certainly Steve (Cohen) has been explicit about this,” Stearns said. “We’re aiming to get to a place where we can compete consistently at a championship-caliber level for a long time. You generally don’t do that by continuously raiding your farm system.

“Does that mean we’re never gonna trade prospects? Of course not. Does it mean we’re gonna be cautious when we do? Yeah. Does it mean that we’re going do it maybe a little bit judiciously, and make sure it’s the right moment or the right time for our organization to do that? I think that’s probably fair. But we’re never going to shut down a conversation.”

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