The first full month of the MLB offseason has arrived. What will the New York Mets do?
The World Series is over. When the partying and grieving stops, every team will be in the same spot as the New York Mets. Focus is now on the future. Each team needs to ask themselves the important words Axl Rose did, where do we go now?
In the first month of the MLB offseason, most teams map out their plans. They don’t actually take much action. Last year’s Mets trade with the Seattle Mariners helped get the offseason kicked off. By the time the Winter Meetings began in December, every team was getting much more involved.
Every month I hope to make some predictions as to what the Mets will do. In month one, assuming the market remains slow, I still do expect some big changes for the ball club from Queens.
Prediction One: Zack Wheeler turns down the qualifying offer
One of the first key decisions a team has to make is with their pending free agents. The qualifying offer allows a team to hand out a one-year deal to its pending free agents.
The key facts to know about it is if a team does issue this to a player and he turns it down, the team gets a draft pick the following summer. The team that signs him loses a draft pick. One way around this is to sign the player after the MLB Draft. This is the issue Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel faced last year.
The qualifying offer isn’t as lucrative as it once was. Teams view it differently with the loss of a draft pick. For a guy like Zack Wheeler, it could drastically damage his free agent case.
We all know Wheeler is talented, but will teams give up a draft pick to sign him? The Mets would be fools not to offer him a qualifying offer. Unfortunately, I’m predicting he refuses to accept.
Instead, Wheeler will head into free agency in a winter following a year where we saw just how important starting pitching still is. A few rungs down from Gerrit Cole, he could still get a pretty sweet deal. The average annual value will be less than what the qualifying offer is, but the overall total should ensure he doesn’t miss a car payment ever.
Fortunately, this doesn’t end Wheeler’s time in New York. The Mets could always re-sign him again anyway. Maybe we’ll get around to that in another month’s predictions.