Extend the core
In the past decade, Mets ownership has notably extended four of their players: David Wright, Jon Niese, Juan Lagares, and Jacob deGrom. In their defense, only deGrom’s deal has worked out so far thanks to a second consecutive Cy Young and the fact that he signed at a relative bargain compared to his free agent contemporaries.
That being said, fans have understandably been frustrated seeing franchise icons leave the organization, especially for rival teams. Whether it be Jose Reyes to Miami in 2012, Daniel Murphy to Washington in 2016, or Zack Wheeler to Philadelphia in 2020, it always seems like these moves are made explicitly to spite their former club.
Wheeler especially called out the Mets, saying they were “a poorly run organization” and that he “heard crickets”, which GM Brodie Van Wagenen responded by referring to Wheeler’s new mega-contract being the result of “two good half-seasons”.
Regardless of who was right in this, ownership’s lack of drive to get extensions done means fans who get to know and love certain players are inevitably left disappointed when they leave.
Baseball is a business, of course, but with the next wave of players destined to test the free agency waters will hurt the team if they leave. Michael Conforto may be a passable defender in the outfield, but he is an All-Star caliber player who provides solid protection for Pete Alonso.
Noah Syndergaard may have been inconsistent the past couple years, but he is still a great pitcher capable of going deep into games with one of the league’s highest velocity fastballs. Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman represent quality back of the rotation arms for the Mets that would likely be higher in any other team’s rotation.
With the Wilpons unwilling to break the luxury tax threshold and coming very close to it, extensions seem less likely unless cash can be moved around. That being said, the only major commitments are deGrom and Cano. At the very least, starting a dialogue with someone like Michael Conforto, who has shown that he can handle New York and seems to enjoy being there, is at the very least a starting point.