1 free agent the Mets are guaranteed to pursue next winter after passing on Carlos Correa

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

A famous quote that many New York Mets fans live and die by is "If you ain't first, you're last", as once said by the great Ricky Bobby. That quote can also apply to the Mets' recent pursuit of Carlos Correa, who at one point had agreed to terms on a 12-year deal only to fall apart due to medicals. In this situation, the Twins won the race and the Mets seem to now be pivoting back to internal options Eduardo Escobar and Brett Baty.

However, what many Mets fans tend to forget is under the Steve Cohen regime the vision is more of a marathon rather than a sprint, and what many of us know now is that any premiere star-free agent that hits the open market is going to be pursued by our beloved organization. For those of you who aren't old enough to remember the Wilpon regime, that typically never used to be the case as the Mets usually shopped in the discount aisle looking for any kind of bargain they could get.

There may not be a team better positioned than the Mets next winter to meet Manny Machado's financial demands

With all of that being said two star players are anticipated to hit free agency next winter in both two-way star Shoei Ohtani, who enters his walk year in 2023, and star third baseman Manny Machado who is expected to opt out of his current contract with the San Diego Padres. There have been rumblings that the Mets will have interest in both, but you can almost guarantee the Mets will be in hot pursuit of the 30-year-old Machado.

Depending on how the third base situation shakes out in 2023 for the Mets they surely will have the financial flexibility and roster space available to be in heavy pursuit of Machado. How you may ask? Well first and foremost Eduardo Escobar has a $9 million club option that they could decline, and they could move Brett Baty to left field for 2024 where there has been speculation his defense may play better.

If the Mets move Baty to left field to accommodate Machado they could also choose to decline the $12 million club option that remains on Mark Canha's contract, which would open up a little over $20 million of salary for next offseason alone. Again not that money is much of an issue for Owner Steve Cohen but it's another way to look at some roster reconstruction

Machado also has a long-standing relationship with Manager Buck Showalter from their days back in Baltimore which could play a deciding factor in where Machado winds up in 2024. it would make too much sense of a deal for the Mets not to make as Machado seems to be as productive as he has ever been (finished 2nd in NL MVP voting in 2022).

One thing is for certain the Mets front office is going to continue to be big spenders in free agency for years to come. Now with a franchise cornerstone player like Manny Machado looking to get paid next winter, it looks on paper like a better match than the Carlos Correa deal previously did.

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