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Mets can almost guarantee Marcus Stroman returns in 2021 with a qualifying offer

Mar 4, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets may be able to guarantee Marcus Stroman returns in 2021 if they issue him a qualifying offer.

Remember how the SAW franchise would have a new sequel come out every single year at around Halloween? Well, here’s a sequel from an article I wrote about the New York Mets, Marcus Stroman, and the qualifying offer around the same time.

There isn’t nearly as much blood, gore, or twists as a SAW film. No. This one is strictly involving the business side of baseball. As messy as it can get, there are no deadly mazes. There is, however, one trap to escape.

I mistakenly thought this offseason would be a little more cut and dry than it’s turning into. Quality players are having their options declined. Some, like Brad Hand, are even going on waivers.

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The financial repercussions of 2020 and lost revenue are impacting how teams shape their immediate future. For the Mets and Stroman, this means a big decision by both.

With Steve Cohen taking over as the new owner, money is not an issue. They can snatch up whatever available players they would like. This includes Stroman, one of baseball’s top free agent starting pitchers.

The Mets have one way they may be able to guarantee Stroman returns in 2021. Rather than allow him to test the free agent waters, issuing him a qualifying offer may be enough to guarantee he comes back.

A one-year deal at $18.9 million is what Stroman would get if he accepts the qualifying offer. It’s a lot of dough in a market many expect to pay players a whole lot less than they made in past winters. The salary is practically guaranteed to exceed anything he would earn on an annual basis from the Mets or any other squad.

The Mets can, and probably should, play hardball. Stroman may be one of many free agents to settle on one-year deals anyway in hopes that next winter is a little more lucrative. On the open market, it’s tough to imagine any team giving Stroman that kind of cash.

Instead of issuing the qualifying offer, the Mets can simply let Stroman walk away and then renegotiate. Any one-year deal he gets would be less than the $18.9 million the qualifying offer guarantees.

The ball is not in Stroman’s court. He has no advantage in this situation. The qualifying offer might be too tempting now to a man that has a blank year on his Baseball-Reference page.

For the Mets, the decision to give Stroman the qualifying offer or not comes down to how they feel about him. If he’s a “must” on their offseason agenda, it’s a no-brainer. Give him the offer. Let him turn it down.

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If he’s not so important or they think they can get away with paying him less, Stroman will be just like the other free agents leaving the team.

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