With the international signing period right around the corner, many fans are left wondering if the New York Mets and their international spending habits will increase moving forward.
While many New York Mets fans are focused on free agency, and rightfully so, it’s important to note that peeking at us right around the corner is the 2020-2021 MLB international signing period. The original signing period date of July 2nd was pushed back by Major League Baseball to January 15th, 2021 due to financial implications surrounding Covid-19 and it is projected to conclude on December 15, 2021.
The big question surrounding the Mets is how active will they be during the upcoming signing period under new owner Steve Cohen. The Mets are projected to have $5,348,100 in international spending money for this upcoming signing period. However, unlike in previous seasons, the Mets will be unable to trade with other teams for additional pool money for this year’s signing period.
Now the Mets certainly can spend above their allotted number, however, they would have to pay a luxury tax if they moved in that direction. Also if the Mets were to somehow exceed their allotted pool money by five to ten percent, they would be banned from signing any international player for more than a $500,000 bonus during the following signing period, which we’ve seen quite a few teams do in past signing periods.
Now that we’ve been over how much the Mets have to spend and the rules regarding their spending limits we can examine the pool of players available. According to MLB.com, the Mets are currently not projected as favorites to sign any of the top-30 prospects that are available during the upcoming signing period.
However, interestingly enough the number one ranked international free agent is none other than Yoenis Cespedes younger half-brother Yoelqui Cespedes. He will be one of the names to watch once the signing period opens on January 15th, as the Mets will certainly have the spending money to make a run at him. The 23-year old Cespedes is highly regarded on the international level and projects as a corner outfielder in the majors.
But moving past this upcoming signing period, the real question is will the Mets become bigger players on the international market with a new owner in tow? It was stated last year by the Mets International Director of Operations Rafael Perez that the organization was looking for “quantity over quality” in regards to international free agents, which seemed like a very Wilpon-like strategy.
I completely understand that international scouting is very complex in nature, even more so than scouting here in the United States. I don’t believe the correct strategy is for the front office to spend like “drunken sailors in the marketplace” as referenced best by our very own Steve Cohen, and in turn limit your bonus pool money for upcoming signing periods. However, it would be refreshing to see the Mets go after a couple of the bigger names on the international market that we’ve seen the Yankees, White Sox, or Dodgers go after in previous seasons as they move forward in rebuilding their farm system that has been depleted by trades over the past several seasons.
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The Mets front office will certainly have the funds to go over their spending pool limits by a couple of percents or even more if they deem an international prospect worthy of a hefty signing bonus. With the organization’s commitment to building a stronger farm system now in place, I would expect the Mets international spending patterns to change over the upcoming international signing periods as we move forward with a new regime.