Zobrist visited New York last Wednesday for a recruiting trip.
“I think we spent enough time with him that, unless he has more questions for us, if we see him, it will just be to say hello and that’s about it,” Ricco said Monday afternoon. “There’s nothing formally set up right now.”
Zobrist, 34, may command as much as a four-year deal. Ricco suggested the Mets are comfortable that Zobrist will age well.
“He does keep himself in shape,” Ricco said. “A lot of what we talked about with him was his workout regimen, his diet. … I think this guy is going to give himself a chance to play at a high level as long as possible. We’re pretty happy with those conversations.”
The Mets primarily would use Zobrist as a second baseman, although spelling David Wright at third base and periodic starts at other positions would happen, too. Ricco believes that focus on one position will aid the Mets’ recruitment.
“He mentioned to us, at this stage, although he's versatile, it’s easier to have a place to go on a semi-regular basis and then move around,” Ricco said.
“One of the things we emphasized to him is that our clubhouse is set up to where he’s not going to come in and have to be ‘the guy,’ even though he will be signing, with whoever he signs with, a sizable contract,” Ricco said. “Our clubhouse right now has a group of veterans who would be there to share the load in terms of the pressure and all of the various demands that come with playing in a big market. So I think, again, we’re a good fit in that way for him as well. He would not be coming in as the marquee guy.”
As for when Zobrist will reach a decision, Ricco added: “They’re not showing their hand completely, but I think Ben is moving forward with kind of wrapping this up. You’d have to ask them what they think the timeframe is, but our sense is it’s not going to be too much longer.”
Ricco declined to go into specifics about the commitment the Mets are willing to make to Zobrist.
“We certainly have a level in mind as to where we think the value is,” Ricco said. “And if it gets beyond that, then we’ll go in another direction. I think that’s the way we’ve operated here. We’ve been willing to push the envelope. We’re not going to stick to unrealistic numbers if they don’t make sense. But we do have a general sense as to an upper level of where we would go. If it gets beyond there, there’s other options.”
The Mets did not seriously pursue reliever Joakim Soria, who is signing with the Kansas City Royals for three years, $25 million. Ricco said the Mets are pursuing setup men with less significant financial commitments than what Soria as well as Darren O'Day and Ryan Madson commanded. “We felt like that was going to go to a place that we weren’t going to be comfortable,” Ricco said.
The Mets spoke with the Cincinnati Reds about potentially acquiring Aroldis Chapman at the July 31 trade deadline, but not this offseason, according to Ricco. Chapman has reportedly been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two prospects. “I think we felt like we had a closer, and the price was going to be such that there are other areas we wanted to focus on,” Ricco said.
Ricco said the Mets have at least discussed re-signing Tyler Clippard. “He’s been on the list,” the assistant GM said. “There’s a lengthy group. And we’re still kind of going through and meeting and trying to gather information on that list of right-handed relievers.”
Ricco said left-handed reliever Josh Edgin is progressing well from Tommy John surgery. He should be ready by Opening Day or “shortly thereafter.”