New York Mets Roster
- NL East
- Citi Field
The New York Mets reached one-year deals with seven players on Friday to avoid salary arbitration, including shortstop Francisco Lindor ($22.3 million), outfielder Michael Conforto ($12.25 million) and first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith ($2.55 million). Lindor, a four-time All-Star, said he's not opposed to a long-term contract after being acquired from Cleveland in a blockbuster trade. The 27-year-old hit .258 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and a .750 OPS in 60 games in his final season with the Indians and will remain an elite fantasy shortstop in his new home. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo ($4.7 million) and right-handers Edwin Diaz ($7 million), Seth Lugo ($2.925 million) and Robert Gsellman ($1.3 million) also agreed to one-year deals to avoid arbitration on Friday. The Mets exchange arbitration salaries with right-hander Miguel Castro and third baseman/outfielder J.D. Davis.
The New York Mets signed veteran Jose Martinez to a split contract on Thursday to give them more right-handed bench depth. Martinez will make $1 million, with another $500,00 in incentives if he makes the major league roster or $225,000 in incentives if he's in the minors, according to a source. He hit .298 with 41 home runs and an .821 OPS from 2016-19 with the Cardinals, so the Mets are hoping he can bounce back with the bat after struggling with the Rays and Cubs in 2020. Martinez has a .307/.382/.534 slash line against lefties and could be a platoon partner for Brandon Nimmo in left field. The 32-year-old could be a nice late-round flier in deep mixed and NL-only leagues if he's only facing southpaws the majority of the time.
New York Mets president Sandy Alderson made it clear that he's not comfortable with Dominic Smith as a left fielder. Smith can play there, if needed, and the Mets would like to keep his bat in the lineup, so they definitely are pushing for the National League to adopt a full-time designated hitter. If the NL does have a DH in 2021, the Mets could push Brandon Nimmo to left field if they can sign free-agent outfielder George Springer to play center field. As New York's primary DH in the shortened 2020 season, Smith slashed .316/.377/.616 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBI over 177 at-bats. Without the universal DH again in 2021, the left-hander's fantasy value could be capped if he's not in the lineup on a regular basis.
New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, who is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season, said that he's open to discussing a long-term contract extension with his new team. If the 27-year-old does work out an extension with owner Steve Cohen, president Sandy Alderson and general manager Jared Porter, it would likely come before Opening Day. The Mets have yet to speak with Lindor's agent, David Meter, but Alderson said keeping Lindor in a Mets uniform for the long haul is the goal. Lindor has three top-10 MVP finishes in his career, as many as all Mets position players combined in the last 12 years. A comparable deal for Lindor might be the 12-year, $365 million contract Mookie Betts signed with the Dodgers last summer. The All-Star shortstop's fantasy value as an elite shortstop shouldn't change much with his move to the Big Apple.
The New York Mets are reportedly planning to use pitcher Seth Lugo out of the bullpen in 2021. Lugo served as both a starter and reliever in 2021, making nine appearances out of the bullpen before moving to the starting rotation. Consistent with his pitching history, Lugo was much more effective out of the bullpen in 2020. His ERA in his six games started (in a total of 26 1/3 innings pitched) was 6.15. By comparison, Lugo's ERA as a reliever in 2020 was 2.61. Prior to 2020, as a relief pitcher, Lugo's career ERA was 2.53 versus a career ERA of 4.06 as a starter in 31 career starts. Given Lugo's impact as a dominant reliever, a move back to the bullpen will be a welcome move for Mets fans, as well as managers who roster Lugo. If Lugo returns to the bullpen for 2021, his fantasy outlook will gain value, especially in those leagues that reward holds. He can help with ratios and strikeouts and even grab a save or two. If Lugo, however, remains in the rotation, his fantasy outlook will take a hit given his career history and performance as a starter in 2020.