NEW YORK -- Make no mistake, the New York Mets are interested in free agent Ben Zobrist. Still, if Zobrist is capable of landing a four-year deal, it very likely will be elsewhere.
Zobrist, 34, hit a combined .276/.359/.450 with the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals in 2015, and his versatility is enticing to several teams.
The Mets primarily would use Zobrist as a second baseman. But because David Wright particularly will get time off again in 2016 as a preventive measure to avoid back flareups, Zobrist's versatility would lead to him getting time at third base as well as other positions, too.
If the Mets' pursuit of Zobrist comes up short -- and that's the expectation if he is going to get a four-year offer at, say, $14 million a year -- the Mets still would like to upgrade in the middle infield. They have not ruled out re-signing Daniel Murphy if he is open to a hometown discount, and one Venezuelan report suggests they have shown interest in free agent Asdrubal Cabrera.
The trade front for a shortstop no longer appears a viable route to upgrade at that position.
If the Mets whiff in upgrading the middle infield with a bona fide starter, they alternatively would be more active in pursuing a lefty-hitting complement to Juan Lagares in center field. They then would sign a backup infielder -- whether that's Kelly Johnson or someone else of that stature.
The other area of need is a reliever to join Addison Reed in setting up Jeurys Familia.