Which Mets player gets the qualifying offer?
The other Mets free agents this winter are either ineligible for the qualifying offer or unworthy. Javier Baez would fit in as a candidate but because he was traded mid-year, he’s not someone the Mets can keep around this way.
Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia are the two highest-paid players reaching free agency this winter. You don’t need to spend more than a few innings watching baseball to know they’re not getting the qualifying offer.
Everyone else is a role-player for this team. As great as Aaron Loup is, he’s not about to get a record-setting contract for a middle reliever.
Narrowed down, the Mets have a pair of qualifying offer candidates. Extending each the offer would be foolish on the part of the front office if both accept it. Putting around $40 million in those two players feels like a mistake waiting to happen.
Between Conforto and Syndergaard, the qualifying offer is going to come down to a few major factors. One is Syndergaard’s health. The other is what the Mets plan to do to replace either if they leave.
The Mets do appear to have a better plan in place to move forward without Syndergaard but that could simply be because they have done so for a while now. They could go into 2022 with a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Tylor Megill, and a re-signed Marcus Stroman or even another body.
In right field, it’s a little harder to replace Conforto; even a more depleted one. The team does have a few internal options yet none quite measure up to what Conforto can do in an average season.
If I’m sitting in the general manager’s chair, I’d try to keep them both. If I can only give the qualifying offer to one, it’s going to Conforto. At least I know the chances of him remaining on the field are greater.
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Which of these two players would you give the qualifying offer to? Furthermore, would you extend it to both and risk a big chunk of your payroll going to this pair of uncertainties?