Yoenis Cespedes remains by far and away the Mets’ main outfield target, but sources say the team has some interest in Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez as a fall-back option should things not work out for Martinez.
The Mets have been hopeful of doing a quicker deal with Cespedes this winter than last, but they are lining up secondary options in case things don’t work out. Other star outfielders who have been mentioned as trade possibilities include Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen, and presumably the Mets could investigate those two, as well.
The Mets prefer Cespedes, generally seen as the top free agent on the market this year, since he has shown a willingness to not only play but also thrive in New York over a very productive last year-and-a-half. Martinez makes sense as an alternative, as GMs believe he is likely to be traded. The Tigers have said they hope to cut payroll, and with Martinez a year from free agency, rivals see him as perhaps the most likely of the Tigers stars to go.
It isn’t known how extensively the teams have talked, but in any case, the Mets will want to exhaust the Cespedes option first. Martinez could be an option for other teams that have interest in Cespedes. The Giants are one team that’s been tied to Martinez, and he could fit the Dodgers and many others, as well.
The Giants, Nats, Dodgers and Yankees are seen as some possible alternatives for Cespedes, who opted out of his contract after making $27.5 million in 2016.
Martinez was limited to 120 games last year but wound up with 22 home runs and 68 RBI to go with a .307 batting average and .908 OPS after a breakout year when he hit 38 home runs in 2015.