How the Mets can benefit from the Blake Snell contract even if they don't pursue him

The more options, the better.

Sep 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throws a
Sep 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throws a / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Snell didn’t get the guaranteed money he was looking for, but with an opt out after the 2024 season, he has a chance to do it all over again. The two-year deal allows him a chance to prove winning his second Cy Young was no fluke (the irony). Pitching-needy teams like the New York Mets who’ll be more willing to sign him with no qualifying offer punishment attached are a match for him.

The appeal of Snell isn’t there like it is with some other upcoming free agent arms. His up-and-down career had many Mets fans wondering if he was even worth the money regardless of the loss of draft picks the team would suffer. Snell hit free agency at what should’ve been the most opportune time. The problem is his former club, the San Diego Padres, and other free spenders like the Mets were looking to lower payroll.

Snell is a match for the Mets, but his possible availability isn’t where they benefit most. One more high-profile starting pitcher out there only increases the Mets’ odds of signing someone else.

The more, the merrier applies for the Mets in their free agent starting pitching hunt next offseason

Only Kodai Senga is under contract for next year. The Mets could fill one or two roster spots with someone currently here. Sean Manaea has a player option and any number of the younger arms, including Tylor Megill, could prove themselves worthy.

This still leaves at least two spots. The Mets, with some cleared payroll space, won’t be shopping exclusively in the bargain bin again. This past offseason’s free agent hunt included direct-to-video options. Next year, they’re going IMAX with dinner served.

The Mets do have to play this cautiously. A longtime target like Corbin Burnes is always a candidate to sign an extension ahead of time either with the Baltimore Orioles or a team he ends up traded to mid-year if they fail to meet expectations. Max Fried does look like a lock to hit the open market. The Atlanta Braves tend to part ways with players who get this close to free agency as opposed to the ones fresh from the minor leagues. If they didn’t extend them early, they don’t tend to extend them at all.

Adding Snell into next year’s pool gives other clubs a place to pivot. If his price stays ridiculously high, targeting Shane Bieber on a lesser deal is an option for more than the Mets.

A big issue the Mets faced this offseason in re-growing their starting rotation were the limited options. Yoshinobu Yamamoto was the only player seemingly worth his weight in gold. Their pursuit never stood a chance thanks to a childhood of rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They couldn’t afford to miss on Yamamoto and still have the kind of rotation with the kind of gusto they did over the last few seasons. As a result, they went with Manaea who does have some upside but is only temporary.

Short and expensive contracts are becoming more common in baseball and for more than just the aging future Hall of Famers. In this case, one with a visible light at the end of the contract for Snell is good for the Mets. He’s someone we can foresee as a target of theirs next winter but more so a fallback guy for other teams to pursue and allow the Mets to land another big name.