Despite a rather soporific offseason, the New York Mets have been fairly active. While the market has been tepid, the Mets have sought players who fill their various needs. The result is that with only approximately a month left before Spring Training commences, the team has mostly filled all of their needs without going over the luxury tax.
Although the Mets lost out on George Springer, the team has acquired an All-Star shortstop in Francisco Lindor and fortified their rotation with Carlos Carrasco and Joey Lucchesi. In the short term, these moves pivot the team towards contention in a tough National League East where the Atlanta Braves currently hold supreme.
The Mets are continuing to be aggressive as February arrives. Despite their rotation looking good, the team is still engaged with Trevor Bauer, who has been considered the best free agent pitcher on the market, coming off of a Cy Young season in 2020.
Although Bauer is a talented pitcher, he is also not a pitcher who has been an ace for the past several years. Not overpaying for him would be the prudent course of action for the Mets, and fans should not fulminate if the team lets the Angels or the Dodgers pay him his desired contract, which is rumored to be five or six years and topping the AAV that the highest-paid pitcher currently earns (Gerrit Cole).
Former Cubs and Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta is emerging as a low-cost alternative for the Mets to Trevor Bauer. While he had a down year in 2020, teams view him as a potential bounceback candidate.
It makes sense for the Mets to do their homework on low-cost pitchers with previous track records of success that would not push them over the luxury tax. Therefore, the Mets attending Jake Arrieta’s showcase on Friday makes sense from a due diligence standpoint.
Arrieta is a pitcher who has had a mostly successful career. Starting out with the Baltimore Orioles, Arrieta could never get it together, resulting in him being traded to the Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs, Arrieta proceeded to develop into a top-of-the-line starter, culminating in him receiving the 2015 Cy Young Award. He left the Cubs after five seasons with the team, delivering them a 68-31 record with a 2.73 ERA.
Unfortunately, Arrieta did not have a successful run with the Phillies. He compiled a 22-23 record with a 4.36 ERA. As a result, Arrieta enters a depressed free agent market that does not bode well for his chances to get a good contract.
However, former Cy Young award winners are not given up on that quickly. With Arrieta willing to take a one-year, prove-it deal, the Mets and others are interested in seeing if he has anything left in the tank.
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The Mets are not the only team interested in Arrieta. Rumors abound that a Cubs reunion is also possible. Whether the Mets sign Arrieta is dependent on how negotiations with Bauer and his agent Rachel Luba go. If they are still seeking a massive $200+ million deal, then Arrieta becomes more realistic. However, if Bauer starts considering shorter offers, then he may fall into a price range that the Mets would be more comfortable with.