The New York Mets enter this offseason with a new vision. The goal might not be to go all in to try and win right away like they have done each of the last two offseasons. They're trying to build something sustainable with David Stearns leading the way.
One way to build something sustainable is to not load your team with several free agents on monstrous contracts. There are obvious exceptions to this like Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, two extremely high-end players. A guy like Juan Soto if he hits free agency is another example. The Mets spending money just to spend it won't happen. They're open to expensive deals, but the fit has to be right.
Fortunately, despite a weak free agency class overall, there're several free agents the Mets can sign who will be extremely impactful and cost less than $100 million.
1) Sonny Gray
It's hard to find a pitcher more underratedly consistent than Sonny Gray. More often than not he's there making 30+ starts and pitching like a frontline starter for whatever team he's on.
This season for the Twins, the right-hander posted a 2.79 ERA in 32 starts and 184 innings pitched. He led the league with a 2.83 FIP and 0.4 HR/9. He allowed just eight home runs in 184 innings pitched. If the Mets were to sign him, he'd give Jose Quintana some great competition as to who'd allow fewer home runs next season.
There are certainly questions that have been asked as to whether Gray can handle New York after he failed in his Yankees stint, but my answer to that would be unequivocally yes. A big reason Gray believes he struggled in New York was because the Yankees made him throw more sliders than he was comfortable with. He's reverted back to the pitcher he was in Oakland and has been great in both Cincinnati and Minnesota.
When it comes to dealing with pressure, Gray seems to be fine in that area as he has a 2.39 postseason ERA in five starts including five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round this season.
Gray could very easily be a Cy Young finalist after finishing second in the AL in ERA and in the top 15 in both innings pitched and strikeouts. He's already finished in the top seven of Cy Young balloting twice in his 11-year career, and this season will certainly be his third. He's absolutely a pitcher worth the $100 million price tag, but the fact that he's 33 years old and will be 34 when he signs his free agent deal makes it unlikely he'll get the years to get to that number.