Mets contract with Harrison Bader costs as much as these 3 outfield free agents combined

This contract with Harrison Bader continues to look outrageously overpriced.
Mar 12, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA;  New York Mets center fielder Harrison Bader (44)
Mar 12, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New York Mets center fielder Harrison Bader (44) / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Deadhorse, Alaska is one of the most northern places in the United States. A town made up of mostly oil workers, they’ll appreciate the dead horse beating today about the New York Mets contract with Harrison Bader.

It seems like this deal was already an overpayment way back when it happened. The Mets matched the contract given by the Toronto Blue Jays to Kevin Kiermaier, a similar player as Bader. What the Mets failed to do was read the rest of the market for outfielders or at least wait it out.

On Friday, it was comparing the Bader contract to what the Atlanta Braves signed Adam Duvall for. A $10.5 million deal for Bader versus the $3 million Atlanta gave to Duvall was bad. Now add in the $4 million deal the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Michael A. Taylor to and we have maybe an even more comparable player to show how much extra cash the Mets threw at their starting center fielder.

Three free agent outfielders whose combined salaries won’t add up to Harrison Bader

Duvall and Taylor together don’t even add up to what Bader will receive. On top of this, we can even add Eddie Rosario in there. He signed a split contract with the Washington Nationals for $2 million with the ability to earn another $2 million in incentives. Coming off of a 21 home run campaign in 516 plate appearances and a Gold Glove finalist, this might be the biggest miss of the three.

The needed defense of the Mets is to declare how they had no way of knowing those three would’ve signed for so little. On the other hand, they’ve had as much of an opportunity to add at least one more into the picture over the last two months or so. Taylor probably wouldn’t make much sense after the Bader signing. What was stopping them from using Duvall or Rosario as an upgrade over DJ Stewart who can always get optioned to the minor leagues?

It’s not always as simple as making the best offer. The Mets have made the best bid and been denied in the past. The opportunity to play regularly or what’s viewed as a better chance to win weigh heavily on free agent decisions. There’s also the matter of location.

Nevertheless, the salaries of these three outfielders total $11 million if Rosario hits every incentive. That’s just half a million more than what the Mets will pay their one outfielder.

As a result of the Bader deal, the Mets have been shy about making any further additions. Would they have been better off waiting for Taylor? If it meant having an additional $6.5 million to spend elsewhere, absolutely. The trouble always is you never can tell how the market will play out. It was just a bad guess and a poor choice to, in a year where they are being cautious about spending, pay as much as they did to Bader.

I hate to be so negative about the Bader signing when he could prove those doubts wrong as much as any of these other outfielders. But given the choice to have him or Duvall, Rosario, and Taylor, the decision is an easy one to make. Give me more injury-prone options than less.

Residents of Deadhorse, Alaska reading this, the equine will be beaten more. A shout out to you. Stay warm.