(John Hefti/Associated Press)
It has been a trend in baseball over the last couple of years for the beginning of the hot stove season to slowly take off. Never in a hundred years would baseball fans ever predict that it'd be the New York Mets who kick things off and make the first major headline in free-agency.
That's right, over the last 24 hours, the New York Mets made a huge splash in free-agency and added three huge bats to their lineup. Mets new GM Billy Eppler made his presence known early in New York after he signed infielder Eduardo Escobar and outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha.
Over the last two weeks, the Mets have been the butt of the joke after the Los Angeles Angels pillaged them for Noah Syndergaard and possibly their best reliever, Aaron Loup. Now, all of those jokes are behind us. You know that your team has done a good job when fan's of other teams are in their Twitter mentions trying to discredit the transactions.
Marte is the high-impact center fielder that the Mets have been lacking for years. Being possibly New York's best CF signing since Carlos Beltran back in 2005, Marte is bringing an explosive bat into a completely overhauled Mets lineup and outfield.
In the 2021 season with both the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics, Marte carried a slash line of .310/.383/.458 with 12 homeruns. Marte will make himself right at home in Citi Field -- which happens to be a pitcher's ballpark -- as Marte has a reputation for absolutely raking in pitcher's parks.
Marte also stole 47 bases last year, a speed boost that a painfully slow Mets team needs. Pending a physical, Starling Marte will officially be a Met, signing a 4-year, $78 million contract with New York.
Sad news for the Michael Conforto faithful, as the 2-year, $26.5 million signing of Mark Canha pretty much signals the end of Conforto's long-time tenure with the Mets. Canha's batting average might not be pretty, but the reason so many teams were drawn to him is because he is an absolute on-base machine.
Canha hit a measly .244 last season but carried a .344 OBP with 17 homeruns. Canha spent seven-years with Oakland, and made three postseason appearances, which makes the veteran that much more valuable to a postseason-starved Mets team that is doing everything they can to win within the next few years.
Eduardo Escobar received his first All-Star nod in 2021, with a slash line of .253/.314/.472 with 90 RBI's and 28 homeruns in his split time between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers.
Escobar can slot in at second base and third base. Third base has been a position that the Mets have been sorely lacking in over the last few years, never quite having an impactful everyday third baseman. If Javier Baez does indeed return to New York, slotting in at second base, Escobar would most likely be locking up the hot corner for the Mets over his 2-year, $20 million deal.
Rumors have swirled that the Mets are still in on Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, but after the Escobar signing I'm not sure where that leaves New York in terms of signing either of those guys.
All signs point to the Mets not yet being finished in the early stages of free-agency, as their sights shift to starting pitching. After adding three solid bats early in the offseason, New York looks to give the best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, some support in the rotation behind him.
SNY has speculated that the Mets have been in touch with Max Scherzer, but not much has developed there. The Mets are supposedly aggressively pursuing SP Kevin Gausman.