At the beginning of the off-season, when the Mets became the riches of the richest owner in baseball, it was easy to assume how they would work. If Steven Cohen wanted something, he would pay anything to get it. If money was not a commodity, why not?
Cohen then stated this at his introductory news conference on 10 November:
“I can promise that you are going to act like a major-market team. Are we going to act like drunken sailors in the market? No, listen, I want to be thoughtful. You can spend a lot of money today and then tie your team into bad contracts for the next five years. This is part of the creation of a permanent franchise: you want to decide on what works, not for the next 60 games, but for the next few years. “
Port St. Lucie, Fla. With spring training underway, it is clear that Cohen meant every word. George Springer is not running in the socially perverted clubhouse of the Mets. Neither are JT Realmuto, DJ LeMahieu, Liam Hendriks or Justin Turner. And despite the team’s attempts to sign him, Trevor Bauer isn’t coming either.
Each of those six free agents signed a multi-contract worth at least $ 15 million per season. All of them would have helped the Mets now, and perhaps even for years to come. But the Mets chose a clear path that would not follow drunken sailors.
They went for depth, preferring a flexible roster built to withstand a specific array of injuries and underperformance – or, as investors like Cohen might call it, a diversified portfolio.
The Mets avoided the deep waters of the market, but erupted with overflows: 10 major league free agents – catchers, infield, outfield, rotation, bullpen to flood all corners of the roster. On Friday, the team agreed to terms with another starter, awarding a two-year, $ 20 million contract to Taijuan Walker and joining him in a group that included Jacob Degrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Strowman, David Peterson, Joey Luchesi and, soon enough Noah Syndergaard.
The deal for Walker was confirmed with direct knowledge of the person who was granted anonymity because the Mets had not announced the contract. The 28-year-old right-hander, who had eight seasons in the Major, averaged 2.70 in 11 starts last season in Seattle and Toronto.
“The addition of a man like Looker would be just overwhelming,” manager Luis Rojas said on Friday. “You talk deeply into every aspect of the game, whether starting a pitcher, bullpen or position player, it is always a luxury. When you can add him a boy likes him.
The Mets’ biggest addition, of course, was All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who came to Cleveland in a trade last month with Carrasco. The team added inventory to three other deals – including five other teams – essentially a replacement for Steven Mattes and a prospect for the three pitchers who appeared in Major (Luchesi, Sean Reid-Foley and Yensky Diaz) A fast outfield prospect, Khalil Lee. .
The Mets free agents hardly get your attention. Even 2019 All-Star catcher James McCain, who signed for four years and $ 40.6 million, has a staggering record: .249 average, .300 on-base percentage and .394 slugging percentage over seven seasons. . But as smart organizations such as the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown, some stars and a critical mass of quality major leaguers – if properly positioned to recover their strengths – can be a sound blueprint.
“The team has the most success in repeated instances,” McCain said. “You see teams in the past that have deep playoffs and the World Series, when a man goes down, it is a next-man-up type of scenario. Teams starting the lineup that are really good and perhaps their depth is not so good, they are able to field to stand far from falling too far due to an injury. “
The Mets know the feeling. To prevent a recurrence, he signed role players such as Albert Almora Jr., Jose Martinez, Kevin Pilar, and Jonathan Villar – all in some ways flawed, but having specific skills can also help a team win. Martinez crushed the Left. Willer is a switch-hitting middle infielder who has pace. Like Almora, Pilar excels in the outfield, as Strowman played together in Toronto.
“He Strowman said that Strowman, who accepted an offer to qualify for a year and $ 18.9 million after exiting last season, put his body on the line. “He a magician in center field. “
Lefty Aaron Lupp was a man for Tampa Bay last October. Wright Trevor averaged 12.2 strikes per nine innings for Minnesota over the past three seasons. Right-hander Sam McWilliams, a mystery man, won a big league deal for $ 750,000, which he learned in Rage’s pitching-rich farm system.
Neither of the Mets’ free agents will be the focal point of a marketing campaign. Lindor could be the man, like DeGrom, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto. After rejection by Lindor, and Bauer, the Mets decided they could live without more superstars. What he needed most was a better overall roster, and now he has.