It's hot stove season in Gotham.
With the Fall Classic officially in the books, the 2020-21 MLB offseason is underway in earnest -- and it likely means Mets fans will be meeting some new faces next season.
Fourteen Mets players became free agents on Wednesday, hours after the conclusion of an exciting but unprecedented World Series between the Rays and Dodgers.
In addition to 11 Mets players whose contracts officially expired, the team is also reportedly declining 2021 club options for three others -- catchers Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos, and infielder Todd Frazier.
None of the declined options came as a surprise after all three players struggled to contribute meaningfully in the virus-shortened campaign. Combined they would have earned over $22M next season if the Mets had exercised their options -- instead the Mets owe about $4M in buyouts.
In addition to those three players, the following Mets also hit free agency on Wednesday:
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF
- Marcus Stroman, RHP
- Jed Lowrie, IF
- Rick Porcello, RHP
- Michael Wacha, RHP
- Jake Marisnick, OF
- Justin Wilson, LHP
- Jared Hughes, RHP
- Erasmo Ramirez, RHP
- Eduardo Nunez, IF
- Rene Rivera, C
Two Mets held player options for next season -- relievers Dellin Betances and Brad Brach. Both were expected to opt-in for 2020, the Daily News reported.
Obviously the starting rotation will be the primary area to address this offseason for the Amazin's. Three-fifths of their rotation from a season ago is now on the open market, with Stroman headlining the list.
The potential return of Noah Syndergaard would in theory once again give the Mets a potent 1-2, with ace Jacob deGrom. They'll also have to decide the optimal role for swing man Seth Lugo, and figure out what they have in pleasant surprise David Peterson.
Cespedes' roller-coaster tenure with the team is now officially over after he famously opted out only a few games into his return last season, while the Lowrie era ends after two years, nine games and a whopping eight plate appearances.
The Mets' offseason plan, like most other teams, has yet to be revealed amid uncertainty over the coronavirus crisis -- not to mention the ongoing sale of the team to Steve Cohen, who would be the richest owner in baseball and is thought to be willing to open the checkbook for premium talent.