There are reports the Mets are considering making a pitch for reliever David Robertson from the firesale-holding White Sox. It would be nice, but don’t count on him coming to Flushing.
The problem is, as usual, money. The Mets payroll is currently estimated at more than $150 million — an unpalatable number. The Mets likely want to get closer to $140 million, and trading Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson only gets them to that number. Robertson will make $12 million next season (and $13 million in 2018), which would bring the Mets payroll back up to the current number.
Unless they want to expand payroll (and there’s no evidence of that), the Mets would have to trade another big contract in order to fit Robertson in. And they really have no such contracts to deal.
Perhaps the Mets trade both Bruce and Granderson and go with Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto in center and right, respectively. That would make room for Robertson, but would also weaken the lineup.
Besides, I think Sandy Alderson believes he can get someone as effective as Robertson for a fraction of the money. As is the uncertainty of relief pitching, he could be right.
But making a splash with David Robertson would be a power move for the Mets that they are ready to win now. Teams usually spend big on their bullpens to put their teams over the top. It is similar to what Omar Minaya did prior to the ill-fated 2009 season. He signed Francisco Rodriguez and traded for J.J. Putz to man the back of the bullpen. In the end, though, Putz turned out to be ineffective and eventually suffered a season-ending injury, just like the rest of the team.
Alderson will go out and get bullpen help at some point during the winter. Just don’t expect it to a be a name with whom you are familiar.