The following quote by Max Scherzer comes from a Ken Rosenthal piece in The Athletic, published Aug. 1, 2023, after Scherzer’s trade to the Rangers.  Scherzer said:

“I talked to Billy (Eppler),” Scherzer told The Athletic. “I was like, ‘OK, are we reloading for 2024?’ He goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically our vision now is for 2025-2026, ‘25 at the earliest, more like ‘26. We’re going to be making trades around that.’

“I was like, ‘So the team is not going to be pursuing free agents this offseason or assemble a team that can compete for a World Series next year?’ He said, ‘No, we’re not going to be signing the upper-echelon guys. We’re going to be on the smaller deals within free agency. ‘24 is now looking to be more of a kind of transitory year.

Many people took this comment with a giant boulder of salt, as if Scherzer was making the front office and ownership to be the bad guys.  But here we are, more than halfway thru the offseason prior to the 2024 campaign, and few can doubt the validity of what Scherzer said.  The Mets are not reloading for 2024.

Now that most fans have accepted that 2024 is a “transitory year,” perhaps it’s time to work on the other end of the statement.  By what Eppler told Scherzer, combined with the type of deals the current front office has signed for 2024, it’s looking more and more like 2025 is going to be a “transitory year,” too.

Every move made by David Stearns, has been a one-year contract, except for Sean Manaea, who has a player option for a second season.  If you were running the Mets and your goal was to compete in 2026, how would you approach this offseason?  You’d likely keep open spots for young guys from the farm system while not adding significantly to payroll in 2025.  And that’s what Stearns has done.

If 2023 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is written in permanent ink.  Maybe the reclamation projects signed this offseason all work out, while some depth relievers come thru to give the team a respectable bullpen.  And the 2024 team exceeds expectations and is set up well for 2025.  If that turns out to be the case, the Mets pivot to ’25 being a “playoff season,” and the Mets become active.

But if things don’t work out so great in ’24, the Mets are in a position not to spend a lot in the offseason before 2025, with the aim of resetting their luxury tax penalties by getting under $241 million.  Then, with the farm system products likely matriculating to the majors in the 2024-25 seasons, the Mets are positioned to target whatever they need in the offseason before 2026 and not having to pay a 110% tax to do so.

None of us have any idea how the 2024 season is going to work out for the Mets.  But start getting used to the idea that a non-playoff year in 2024 likely means a similar offseason before 2025 to what we’re experiencing now.  Regardless of the owner’s net worth.

13 comments on “The ramifications of the offseason of one-year deals for the Mets

  • BoomBoom

    Interesting that Stearns is executing Eppler’s plan. Or were Cohen and Stearns having conversations behind the scenes and dictated those plans to Eppler? I still think it’s very player specific. They were obviously willing to shell out what would have amounted to close to $60 million dollars a year for Yamamoto when the luxury tax is factored in. Regardless of how this season plays out, hard to believe they’ll sit out on Corbin Burnes and Juan Soto if those 2 make it to free agency. Soto, in particular, fits their short and long term plans. I think Cohen will always be willing to spend for the right players – it’s just that the person making that evaluation now may have a more discernible eye for elite talent.

    • Brian Joura

      We have to strongly consider that this is Cohen’s plan.

    • Steve_S.

      I agree. Just like Cohen went after Yamamoto, he will likely go after Soto. An outfield of Nimmo, Williams or Gilbert, and Soto would be cool. By 2025, hopefully 3B will have one of the “Baby Mets” in that job.

      I am curious about whether or not Stearns will improve the bullpen now, perhaps with a two-year contract of two, so that we will really be “competitive” this year and next. Diaz will help a lot at the end, so we need to cover the setup positions better.

      Does Cohen really want two years of phony competitive teams, alienating a lot of fans?

  • T.J.

    The offseason isn’t over, but to date it looks more like Cohen is implementing Wilpon’s plan circa 2010. Yeah yeah the dabbled in Yamamoto, but it didn’t happen.

    Cohen’s failed geriatric spending spree has put them in a Madoff-like scenario. Spend minimally, claim they are fielding a “competitive” team, but some time to stop $$$ losses bleeding. He’s already losing a ton in 2024 any paying top taxes. There are still moves to make that would not impact payroll in 2025, and give them a better shot in 2024. I’m not saying it’s wrong….I surely wouldn’t pay a guy police Stephenson $33 million over 3 years plus another $10 million in 2024 tax, even if I was worth billions. I think they can add a bat and two pen arms on 1 year deals and have a puncher’s chance should the stars align. If not, good chance we’ll have back to back Wilpon seasons with the richest owner in the game. Who’d have figured that 3 years ago?

  • Woodrow

    So,75-78 wins?

  • Footballhead

    The Mets as a team in 2022 were exceedingly lucky/fortunate in getting those 101 wins. Especially at the start of the season, everything seemed to go their way when it came to clutch plays/hits, and someone stepping up to be the hero of the day. That’s why people found them to be a fun team to watch. And you always counted on Diaz to seal the deal. It was a bubble of a season, ready to burst; which it did with the Marte injury and the September collapse.

    The opposite was true for 2023. Not having Diaz exposed the weakness of the bullpen by mid-late May. Instead of thrilling/fun games, the 2023 squad seemed to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”. No hitter stepped up, and the team grossly under performed.

    Woodrow, I believe that the 2024 squad, as is, right now; will win 83-88 games. Now whether they start better then expected, or finish with a flurry; will determine if they are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Either way, I’m looking forward to the 2024 season. Something I did not do heading into 2023.

  • Metsense

    Stearns wants financial flexibility. The payroll allocation is $151.5m for 2025 ( If his goal is resetting a luxury tax penalties in 2025 then it will be more of the same – with one year mid sized contracts, roster holes being ignored and the dependence of young, unproven players. In 2026 would be the first chance that Stearns could achieve financial flexibility.

  • Mike W

    What makes me laugh is all of these blogs saying the Mets have interest in relievers like Chapman. Then the drop off the map and sign elsewhere. Chapman to Pirates on a one year deal for 10.5 million.

    • Brian Joura


      Yeah, I’ve thought about taking a site like SNY and collect all of the players they’ve said the Mets are interested in and seeing how much they signed for elsewhere. It’s a little crazy to say the Mets should sign Bellinger when they haven’t given out a contract that size this offseason. But at the end of the day, it’s tough to come up with new content on a daily basis and those articles are easy to write.

  • TexasGusCC

    So, I love how everyone focuses on Cohen’s pocket without even mentioning the draft penalty, the QO penalty of $1MM loss of signing money and the loss of your first pick in you sign a QO, like say an outfielder who was just traded to the Yankees.

    • Steve_S.

      That’s probably because it might be that Cohen is not worried about these penalties, except for the one that is incurred when signing a free agent with a QO (any player with one that the Mets have not even been close to signing under Cohen).

      Cohen was ready to sign Yamamoto and, yes, he will probably sign Alonso this coming winter. They also have kept Lindor, Nimmo, McNeil, and Diaz, along with Alonso this year. So I’ve got my doubts about the big “reset” coming.

      • TexasGusCC

        How can you “not worry about these penalties” when it handicaps your organization? That would be foolish. I’m sure Cohen is just waiting it out until the farm bubbles to the top.

  • Mike W

    A lot of these one year deal players are Temps. If they find one or two of those players have good season, they will get a bigger deal. Those who don’t cut it will be told that their temp services are not needed anymore.

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