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

The two picks for the Mets were David Schoenfield, with Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Jeff Passan, with Matt Chapman. Here’s what they said about their picks:

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.

Former GM Jim Bowden has Ohtani to the Rangers, Aaron Nola to the Dodgers, Jordan Montgomery to the Phillies, Yamamoto to the Yankees and Cody Bellinger to the Cubs

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.

9 comments on “Checking in with national baseball writers and who they think the Mets will get at the top of the free agent market

  • Mike W

    I see the Mets signing Yamamoto, Chapman and Montgomery. The other aspect of this is who they trade for. Baltimore has a load of outfielders. Maybe we get Anthony Santander. Plus a load of relievers.

  • Paulc

    Those would be great signings to fill some big holes. I’d hope for Rhys Hoskins, too, as a power bat at DH and insurance policy if they don’t retain Alonso in 2025.

  • Metsense

    The reality is that the Mets are going to have a payroll that exceeds $277m if they are going to compete. A #2SP,#3P, a setup man, two quality relievers and a starting outfielder is their needs.
    Eduardo Rodriguez ($20.5m), Shota Imanaga ($17m), Jordan Hicks ($10m),Yuki Matsui ($8m), Wandy Peralta ($6m) and Jorge Soler ($15 m) would be competitive and inexpensive expenditure but would check off boxes. Total outlay of $76.5m for free agents and an estimated total payroll of $318.m. ( MBLTR estimated signing salaries).
    Stearns said they would emphasize starting pitching . Yamamoto would be better signing than Imanaga because he is a better pitcher and only 25 yoa but would increase the payroll $8m.

    • Brian Joura

      Even with the gift of Ottavino declining his option, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get under $277 million. But there’s a pretty big gulf between $277 and $330 million, which was the OD payroll last year.

      To me, they either need to stay under $297 or match/exceed last year’s number. I don’t see the point of a $301 million OD payroll. That would be the highest tax penalty and a roster not with high odds to make the postseason.

      I don’t dislike your plan but it’s certainly not what I would do. If I’m spending $76.5 million, I want Yamamoto, even if that leaves holes elsewhere.

  • ChrisF

    The fact is that it takes two to tango. Every major FA will be getting bicket loads of $, and sure the whole “drive up the cost” is a Boras thing, but players also wnat to go where they want to go.

    All these talking heads making predictions are nearly as empty as predictions made from the local drunk off the street. they are not party to any real information and so its a lot of look how smart I am for creating 100% baseless commentary. It would be interesting to see how many of these dumb-dumbs get any of the nutbag predictions right. Afterall, they did such a great job with Counsell.

  • Dan Capwell

    Chapman has a QO, so he isn’t coming here.

    I continue to vacillate on YY. $200M (likely) plus another $35M in posting fees. Like Metsense posted, I would rather they sprinkled that money around on several players, all of whom have some record of Major League success. YY doesn’t.

  • Bob P

    If YY is truly an ace level starter, which most reports seem to think, then I think we should spend the money on him. It seems to me it will be easier to fill some of the other holes on the roster with cheaper players, including some prospects than it will be to find an ace. Obviously there are no guarantees with how YY will acclimate, but at his age and with his potential, it seems to me to be worth taking a shot on him.

    • Dan Capwell

      Agreed that YY is a very intriguing player. I suppose it comes down to the presence (or lack thereof) of a budget for salaries.

      The Mets currently have two established starters in Quintana and Senga. If they sign Yamamoto, are those three enough to let them get by on some combo of (pick two) Butto, Peterson, Megill, and Lucchesi; with Jarvis and Vasil waiting in the wings? Or, do they need at least another FA import or trade to bolster their rotation? Plus if they do sign YY, there has been talk of a six-man rotation, making a second addition to the rotation almost a given.

      And that’s before they add to the bullpen and get a DH.

  • Metsense

    Stearns interview said 2or 3 starting pitchers would be obtain and the team will be competitive. That would be expensive goal to attain.
    Two teams that control their payroll have two quality starters in their walk year; the Guardians with Shane Bieber and the Brewers with Corbin Burnes.
    Bieber (est arb $12.2 m) and Burnes (est arb $15.1m) are top of the rotation pitchers and either/both would reduce the payroll this year instead of free agents. The problem with this though is your kicking the can to next year when you have to pay them in a competitive market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here