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The New York Mets will shop for an outfielder in round two of free agency once the MLB lockout ends. Kris Bryant will be among the options, per reports.
Steve Cohen has splurged so far in free agency, signing the likes of Max Scherzer to the richest AAV in baseball history, and adding Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha. Marte will serve as a stable corner outfielder, but the Mets aren’t done at that position.
Per Sports Illustrated reporter Pat Ragazzo, the Mets hope to sign Kris Bryant or Michael Conforto once the lockout ends. Bryant would be the bigger fish, as he ended last season on a surge with the 107-win San Francisco Giants. He would also essentially replace Conforto, who the Mets are interested in bringing back as well.
Can Mets afford Kris Bryant?
“(The outfield) is something we have talked about, where we are,” Mets manager Buck Showalter told reporters. “We are on the same page with everything where that is concerned. It’s a scenario that we are examining to see if we feel comfortable with it. We’re always going to look within first.”
The Mets were in on Bryant before the lockout, and are expected to be among his possible suitors shortly after as well. The lockout forced teams to pause all free agent plans, and put players without a home at a serious disadvantage.
As for a Conforto return, the Mets outfielder turned down a one-year, $18 million qualifying offer prior to free agency. Assuming the Mets don’t offer him more than that, he will not look to re-sign in Queens.
Per Spotrac, Bryant’s market value should be just shy of $24 million. Assuming he gets the multiyear deal he’s looking for, Bryant will not be a cheap investment by Cohen.
The Mets owner doesn’t seem to care. Cohen is willing to flaunt his wallet when necessary, and this could be one of those times.