The Yankees have been linked to Mets star free agent Jacob deGrom, but they have more enthusiasm for other pursuits. And that has nothing to do with any alleged unholy alliance between Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and his Mets counterpart, Steve Cohen. Likewise, the Mets are currently concentrating on players other than Aaron Judge.
Just as there are reasons for the Yankees not to pursue deGrom, there are reasons for the Mets not to focus on Judge. So it’s going to be difficult to prove any nefarious intent if they don’t pursue Judge. There are, after all, many teams reluctant to pursue a $350 million (or so) player, and if the Mets consider a potential effect on their relationship with the Yankees, well, that’s allowed, too.
The union is only doing its job to look into the Mets’ expected non-pursuit of Judge, as The Athletic first reported. But as commissioner Rob Manfred suggested, that’s a hard case to prove, and that’s even if there’s any merit to the case.
While Judge is the top free agent, here are a few reasons for the Mets to look elsewhere:
— They have a greater need in the rotation with three rotation stars currently free agents.
— The “Steve Cohen tax” is onerous and they will almost certainly move into that unhappy territory even without Judge.
— Even without plotting with Steinbrenner, Cohen knows this would end the era of good feeling.
That last consideration is the weakest of many reasons. But it’s allowed — as long as the two owners don’t discuss it.
Eight teams are said to be pursuing superstar shortstop Carlos Correa, but the Twins are expected to go hard to keep their star.
Cody Bellinger has interest from 11 teams following the Dodgers’ decision to nontender him (he was expected to get $19 million in arbitration). The Astros, Cubs and Giants are among the teams in play.
Bellinger will seek a one-year deal to reset his value.
The Cubs are among teams considering Michael Conforto. He is seeking a deal for two years with an opt-out. They also are in contact with Christian Vazquez, among other catchers.
The Giants would like to bring back left-hander Carlos Rodon. The Dodgers, Rangers and Yankees are also in there. The Giants, Rays and Blue Jays are among many teams in on Brandon Nimmo, plus the Mets, of course.
The Padres have to be considered players for Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga since San Diego ace Yu Darvish is his mentor.
The Brewers may trade Kolten Wong after dealing Hunter Renfroe, but one GM said it didn’t appear Corbin Burnes was available.
The Padres are a surprise team looking at shortstop, and they like Xander Bogearts. Ha-Seong Kim could become a super utility player and Fernando Tatis Jr. could move to the outfield. San Diego, looking for leadership, also likes Jose Abreu, as Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported. The Cubs also make sense in what would be a crosstown move for Abreu.
Bogaerts and Trea Turner (who has a Bryce Harper connection from their time with the Nationals) are potential fits for the Phillies. The Red Sox may not be close on Bogaerts, but they do seem hopeful to get Rafael Devers to return. Eventually.