Mets set to land tantalizing international infielder Elian Pena

Mets set to land tantalizing international infielder Elian Pena

The Mets are expected to sign top Dominican SS Elian Pena for about $5 million, as Ben Badler first reported and The Post confirmed

Scouts say he is a terrific hitter and will be valuable even if he has to move to third base. “Line-drive bat with some power,” a rival scout said. 

The scout notes a “thick frame” fits third better and names Rafael Devers as a comp but cautions, “I’m not sure he will hit that good.”

Elian PenaThe Mets are set to sign Elian Pena for $5 million. Screengrab

Mark Vientos deserves a full shot. But the Mets still have a middle-infield depth issue, worsened by their only second baseman, Jeff McNeil, not hitting.

More From Jon Heyman

The Astros aren’t ones to surrender easily, but if they retool, a prime candidate for trade would be Cooperstown-bound Justin Verlander. And Detroit might make an interesting landing spot for the legendary ex-Tiger. 

Confidants suggest Verlander might be amenable to Detroit. The Dodgers, Orioles (he’s from Virginia) and Cubs are thought three more teams Verlander might approve.

Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander could be on the move if the Astros decide to sell. AP

It’s believed longtime Astros closer-turned-set-up-man Ryan Pressly might consider waiving his full no-trade for the right team/role. 

Pressly, a two-time All-Star known for his perfect postseason record (14-for-14 in saves), took the demotion to setup man professionally after the Astros signed star closer Josh Hader. But he may be better as closer. 

Tanner Scott, Kenley Jansen and Mason Miller, who’d bring a haul and was identified here as a trade candidate, all could go. Miller really should go. “He’s unhittable, but he’s a reliever and the team isn’t good enough,” said a rival. 

Jesus Luzardo, who hit 98 mph in his return, is coveted with two more years before free agency. 

The Orioles, who have great prospects, had extensive talks in winter about Luzardo. The Padres also shouldn’t be counted out. They never should be. 

Luzardo and Scott will go, predicts one rival, who adds the Marlins would trade Josh Bell if they can find a taker but probably will hold onto Jake Burger. 

A reversion to second division status was expected for the Marlins after their miracle of 2023 and virtually no winter improvements (Tim Anderson can still play SS, but his hitting went south) plus key losses (Jorge Soler, the bullpen). With no added innings-eaters and several rotation injuries, compounded most recently by Edward Cabrera leaving his last start with a recurrence of shoulder trouble, you wonder how they can even complete the season.