We can probably count out the New York Mets from any serious pursuit of the free agents who received a Qualifying Offer for a couple of reasons. For starters, other than Shohei Ohtani, is anyone truly worth it? They also don’t have any QO players from their own 2023 roster so there’s no getting anything extra back in return in the form of a draft pick or otherwise.
The Mets fell into a category of teams who paid the competitive balance tax (a name somewhat tongue in cheek for sure). As punishment, they need to give up more than just one draft pick if they sign a player who rejected his team’s QO. This is what they lose:
The Mets lose $1 million in international bonus pool money
The only money Steve Cohen has no control over is the international bonus pool money. Only a specific amount is allowed to be allocated toward amateur free agents. It’s not the actual loss of cash, but the ability to spend it.
The Mets lose their second and fifth -highest 2024 draft picks
A more commonly known retribution is the loss of a draft pick. You may recall two years ago when the Mets had the 11th overall pick because of the previous year’s failure to sign Kumar Rocker. Along with this, they had the 14th overall selection which was theirs from where they finished in the standings. Had the Mets signed any QO free agent in the offseason, they would’ve lost the 14th pick which means no Jett Williams. The rules would also have them lose their fifth-highest pick as well. That’s hardly a throwaway pick. In 2021, that’s where the team drafted Christian Scott.
What if the Mets sign more than one QO player?
The hammer really comes down when the Mets sign two QO players. The result is a loss of their second, third, fifth, and sixth-highest picks.
Several players who received the Qualifying Offer beyond Ohtani are fits for the Mets. Three starting pitchers Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, and Blake Snell all got one as did third baseman Matt Chapman, outfielder Cody Bellinger, and star closer Josh Hader. Maybe the Mets would feel comfortable enough signing one of them. Two obliterates their draft.