5 free agent alternatives the Mets could've signed for more payroll flexibility

Hindsight is on our side with this retrospective on the offseason deals the Mets did and didn't make.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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2) The Mets could have signed Martin Perez for much less than Sean Manaea

Martin Perez is coming off of a much better two-year stretch than Sean Manaea. Perez was an All-Star in 2022 and worth the qualifying offer he accepted from the Texas Rangers for 2023. Although much less impressive last year and eventually moved to the bullpen, the price tag on him makes Perez appealing.

Manaea signed a two-year deal with a player option for the second season worth $28 million. Let’s call it an even $14 million with the AAV to compare it to the $8 million Perez got from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two lefties had the loss of a rotation spot in common last season. And yet it’s Manaea whose perceived “upside” was able to award him an AAV noticeably higher than what Perez got.

This could be partly on Perez and his agent for not holding out for more money, of course. Worse pitchers seemed to top $10 million.

There was never much of a hint of the Mets looking at Perez as an option. It’s understandable. As steady as he is, Perez is much more of a number four or five starter than Manaea whose potential could have him being closer to a number three.

Perez might be the epitome of an average starter. Owning a 100 ERA+ in his career and a 4.44 ERA, he doesn’t dazzle on the mound. Poor strikeout numbers throughout his career and far more innings logged on his arm, we can’t really blame the Mets for going with Manaea instead. However, if money was something they were looking to save, they could have gotten a decent arm with Perez and saved themselves cash. It’s not unbelievable for Perez to outplay Manaea this year.

The Mets save $6 million here for a total of $6.5 million so far