Some people think that because Steve Cohen is the wealthiest owner in MLB that he will continually run payrolls like he did in 2023. Maybe they’re right. Originally, the plan was to run high payrolls until the point where the farm system started producing players. Are we at that point yet? Is that still the plan? On either point, who knows?
Sometimes it seems like we live in a Mets-related bubble. We consume all info we can get on the team from various sources. That’s not a bad thing. Still, sometime it’s good to zoom out and look at things on an MLB level, instead.
Recently, ESPN had four of its baseball analysts predict where the top seven free agents were going to land. This is a thankless task for anyone and we shouldn’t necessarily look to grade the analysts on their predictions. Rather, it’s a group exercise to see who these national writers think are going to be big players for the top names in free agency. There are 28 picks overall and here’s how they broke down:
4 – Dodgers
3 – Rangers, Yankees, Phillies
2 – Red Sox, Mets, Giants, Cubs, Cardinals
1 – Mariners, Braves, Brewers, D’Backs, Reds
Schoenfield – “New president of baseball operations David Stearns played it down the middle in his introductory news conference, saying the goal is to make the team as competitive as possible in 2024 “while understanding that the long-term goal and the way to win a World Series is to have a truly sustainable competitiveness.” Yamamoto fits both criteria: He can help immediately — and the Mets need starters after trading Verlander and Max Scherzer — and he’s young enough to anchor the rotation for years to come. The Mets had great success with Kodai Senga in 2023, and Yamamoto is even better.”
Passan – “Third base has been a bugaboo for New York since David Wright‘s retirement, and with Brett Baty perhaps not the solution and no third basemen in the Mets’ system near big league-ready, Chapman solves an immediate and clear problem. Further, Stearns long prioritized infield defense in his previous job with Milwaukee, and for all of the warranted concerns about Chapman’s bat, his glove remains tip-top. The Mets have plenty of holes to fill, yes, and they’re not likely to go on a spending spree like they did last offseason. Chapman would provide a solid addition to a team that’s far closer to being good than its record last season indicated.”
Three of our four writers thought that Shohei Ohtani would land with the Dodgers. It would have been nice to have that same consensus with Yamamoto and the Mets. Rather, two had the Yankees and the other had the Red Sox landing the Japanese ace.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot. It would be foolish to take these predictions to Vegas. Instead, it’s just a data point indicating that these writers don’t necessarily see the Mets dominating the top of the free agent market. Last year, the club gave out $100 million-plus deals to Justin Verlander (counting the option), Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz. We shouldn’t expect a repeat of that performance.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be players at the next financial level. None of us should be unhappy if they add someone at a Senga level if they get a similar-type performance. But one thing to keep in mind is that it’s not a necessarily deep free agent class. But perhaps the Mets can add three quality relievers without approaching $100 million in total for all three.