Possible future MLB rule changes should push the Mets all-in for 2022

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Should the New York Mets be all-in for 2022? Like, really all-in. I’m talking to the point where nothing is off-limits to make this team elite. Make no prospect untouchable. Take on as much salary as possible. Make risks you might not normally make.

The Mets might not need to go quite as far as to leave themselves without any pants at the end of the journey. They have a healthy lead in the division. It’s also shortsighted to sacrifice too much of the future for the now.

But the Mets do need to push a little further than what’s comfortable. Future MLB rule changes have their way of getting in the way of plans. With money a major contention over the last 365 days, future Steve Cohen taxes could make it harder—even if only temporarily—for this team to be as good as it can be.

The Mets need to take advantage of the current MLB rules before they change

Nothing will change in regards to how much certain owners spend money. The problem with Major League Baseball is that there are far too many teams lowering payroll compared to the number raising it. This year, there are eight teams with payrolls currently under $100 million. This doesn’t even include the Cincinnati Reds or Washington Nationals who had an offseason goal of bleeding their rosters of talent.

While a few lowly teams that never spend money shouldn’t sway what future luxury taxes look like, we already know even the clubs that do pay players will have some say. In fact, it’s those bigger spending teams the Mets should worry about more. They actually want to win but won’t spend quite as much as they fear Cohen would.

The way the Steve Cohen tax works is that it punishes teams harder based on the more they spend. There’s a lot of irony there. It almost makes a baseball fan wish there was simply just a salary cap and floor in place.

The challenge for the Mets will be the inability to know what kinds of rule changes are on the way. These tax punishments will not get better. They will likely only get harsher. We can scoff at these attempts to steal more of Cohen’s money. It probably wouldn’t stop him from spending more but it could lead the team to make other kinds of decisions. So far, under his regime led largely by Sandy Alderson as well, the Mets have not been giving out ridiculously high contracts. They might be overpaying players slightly but it’s not as if Eduardo Escobar got a $30 million deal this past offseason.

Beyond simple dollars, there’s always a possibility of MLB rule changes to adjust service time to help lower-spenders retain good players longer or even for a shorter amount of time. We just don’t know.

With the rules currently in place, the Mets are set up well. A single amendment to the rule book could have the club pointed in another direction, in a little bit of a scramble, and trying to adjust on the fly.

Those rules won’t change in 2022. Make it count.

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