The initial reaction to Robinson Cano being suspended for the entire 2021 season for a failed drug test was the Mets had a little more than $20 million extra to spend on free agents. DJ LeMahieu’s
The initial reaction to Robinson Cano being suspended for the entire 2021 season for a failed drug test was the Mets had a little more than $20 million extra to spend on free agents.
DJ LeMahieu’s name immediately was linked to Queens and provided fodder for a delicious bidding war between the Mets and Yankees. That might not formulate, since the Yankees remain the betting favorite to retain their most complete player and reigning MLB batting champion.
However, that doesn’t mean neophyte owner Steve Cohen stuffs the Cano savings into his car ashtray. Cohen likely already had his free-agent budget set before Cano was suspended for a second time in what was shaping up as a Hall of Fame career.
In addition to LeMahieu, the top rung of the free-agent ladder includes right-hander Trevor Bauer, catcher J.T. Realmuto and outfielder George Springer. Cohen is a good choice to get at least one of them.
So, could Cohen use some of the Cano bonus to engage outfielder Michael Conforto and agent Scott Boras in talks for a multiyear deal? Conforto is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.
When the Wilpons owned the Mets and Brodie Van Wagenen was the GM, they discussed the issue internally, but it never gained traction.
Now, Sandy Alderson is the Mets’ president, and as the Mets’ GM in 2014, he used the 10th pick in the draft to take Conforto, so there is a history.
While Boras has a history of advising clients to enter free agency, Conforto’s 2020 season could lead the Mets make an offer that satisfies the left-handed hitter, who will be 28 on March 1.
Conforto finished seventh among NL hitters with a .322 average and sixth with a .412 on-base percentage in 2020, when he earned $8 million and played in 54 games.