Braves: Mets expected to heavily pursue Max Fried in free agency

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You know you’re going nowhere this season when Opening Day is less than two weeks away, and the most substantial talking points surrounding your team are about pursuing players on other clubs seven months from now. That’s exactly what’s going on in New York right now with the Mets.

Everybody expects Steve Cohen to aggressively go after Juan Soto in free agency, who was just acquired in a trade by their division rivals in the same city. Soto will likely be looking for a deal in the $500 million range, and the Mets are one of the few teams that might be willing to meet that asking price. Prying him away from the Yankees also has to be an attractive proposition for Cohen, who is desperate to make the Mets relevant in a city that has always been dominated by their American League rivals.

But it won’t just be Juan Soto that Cohen will be targeting next offseason. According to Bob Nightingale, they have their eyes on every big name set to hit the market at the end of the season, including Max Fried.

“The Mets plan to fully to jump into the free-agent market next winter with the likes of Juan Soto, Alex Bregman, Max Fried, Corbin Burnes and Walker Buehler available. Yet, rival teams still believe that All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso won’t be retained, and could be available at the July 30 trade deadline.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The Mets ate a lot of cash when they traded Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer at last year’s trade deadline, which allowed them to recoup some valuable prospects and hit the reset button. When they did that, they signaled a multi-year rebuild, hoping to compete again in 2025 and beyond.

With Cohen as their owner, they’ve shown spending is not an issue. He will do whatever it takes from a financial aspect to bring the Mets another World Series, which is why the part about Pete Alonso is a bit alarming. The Polar Bear is a three-time All-Star and arguably the best power hitter in the game today. If there’s one thing the Mets have struggled with as a team in recent years, it’s hitting the ball out of the park. I’m not sure why they would ever let him go to another team, but if they do, they’ll have even more money to spend on other free agents like Max Fried.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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