Failure to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto will put the New York Mets in a spot where anything else they do will be less satisfying. They need backup plans. Even the largest offer is no guarantee he’ll come to Queens.
So, what happens if the Mets see Yamamoto end up with someone else? These three backup plans are a reasonable direction they can go without completely changing the organization's plans of patience and looking long term as they recalibrate (get used to this word, Mets fans) for what’s next.
Backup Plan One: Sign the best two arms available without a qualifying offer attached
Let's remove the idea of signing any player with a qualifying offer punishment attached to them from our vocabulary. This leaves the Mets with fewer options. There isn't a truly elite pitcher out there this winter who'd be worth losing two draft picks over. NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell has been too unreliable in the past.
This conversation about the qualifying offer excludes Shohei Ohtani. He's worth losing a finger to get.
Missing out on Yamamoto can be resolved by getting the two best remaining starting pitchers out there outside of those QO guys. Pairing Jordan Montgomery and Eduardo Rodriguez as the newest additions to the Mets roster would fit this plan.
With them, it does seem like an either/or situation. Neither Montgomery nor Rodriguez is going to match the excitement of Yamamoto. Fine pitchers, the problem with signing both of them is that each will be locked in for next season. This limits what the Mets can do prior to 2025 with a player like Corbin Burnes hitting the open market.
This is a win now type of plan. The Mets aren't quite in that mode where two good but not great pitchers will make the difference. What else could they do?