General manager Sandy Alderson has made it clear that the Mets, unsurprisingly, are interested in signing star Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani, according to Newsday. Otani is a hard-throwing ace that has frustrated batters in his five seasons in Japan, as he has a career ERA of 2.52 and 10.3 K/9 rate. However, his most surprising skill is his potent power at the plate. The 23-year old drilled 8 home runs in 231 plate appearances this season. With the restricted payroll Alderson set for the Mets this offseason, it’s unlikely they will win the Otani sweepstakes.
Alderson also made it clear that the Mets will not pursue strictly an outfielder, but will try to sign an outfielder that can play at first, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. This is likely a back-up plan in case rookie first baseman Dominic Smith needs to spend more time in the minor leagues and a stronger hitter needs to play at first. The Mets have already expressed interest in signing Carlos Santana, one of the best hitting first basemen in his free agency class. However, he likely won’t be able to play in right field as he has only spent seven of his 1,116 career games playing in right field.
The Mets also announced their new staff for the 2018 season which will be headlined by some new faces, most notably new skipper Mickey Callaway and new pitching coach Dave Eiland. Pat Roessler will replace Kevin Long as the Mets’ new hitting coach after spending the past three seasons as their assistant hitting coach. Ruben Amaro Jr. will become the Mets new first base coach, after spending the past two seasons as the Red Sox’s first base coach. Ricky Bones reprises his role as the Mets bullpen coach and Glenn Sherlock will also retake his role as the Mets’ third base coach.
Although Nationals ace Max Scherzer won his second consecutive NL Cy Young award, Jacob deGrom received two fifth-place votes in the process, finishing eighth in voting overall. deGrom led an ailing rotation in 2017, sporting a record of 15-10 with an ERA of 3.53 and a career high strikeout rate of 10.68.
Photo Credit: Christopher Pasatieri