When the New York Mets re-signed Jose Reyes last week, they made it clear they were still looking for a starting infielder. There are several viable options on the table for them, including free agents Neil Walker, Eduardo Nunez, and Todd Frazier. A trade for Pittsburgh Pirates’ second baseman Josh Harrison is also still on the table, but there appears to be no end in sight to the Mets’ quest for an infielder. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic attributes this ongoing saga to the fact that the Mets simply can’t decide which infielder they feel is the best value for them.
Part of the problem is that all four players are very similar to each other in terms of value. Rosenthal notes that each player was worth between 2.1 to 3.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) last season and is projected to contribute between 1.2-2.2 WAR this season. The hold up with Harrison appears the Mets’ hesitance to part with Brandon Nimmo and his five years of team control, while bringing back Walker may rile up the fan base. Adding Walker after the signings of Reyes and Jay Bruce will add to the perception that the Mets are simply happy collecting the group of players that contributed to a 92 loss season a year ago.
Another problem with Harrison, as well as fellow target Nunez, is that neither of them is great at getting on base. The Mets’ roster is already loaded with free swingers like Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores, and Juan Lagares so adding another isn’t ideal. Frazier offers on base skills and solid defense, but he doesn’t contribute much in terms of batting average or speed. The Mets also remain very hesitant to commit more than one year to Frazier, who could end up back in the Bronx if the Yankees also offer a one year contract.
Simply put, the Mets are spending so much time hemming and hawing over valuation that they might miss out on a good deal. Rosenthal points out that the simplest thing to do would be to identify the player they like the best and go get him. It makes too much sense not to be done. If the Mets like Harrison the best, they need to go trade for him and not let Brandon Nimmo stop a deal when he has no path to playing time for the next three years. If they deem one of the free agents the best fit, the Mets need to go sign that player. Paying a bit extra to secure the player you want isn’t rocket science, although it might end up being that way with the Mets’ self imposed budget constraints.