The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies were the first to grab headlines on Monday during MLB’s Winter Meetings. The Mets went after Justin Verlander on a short-term yet pricy deal. The Phillies chose to go long and expensive yet reasonable per season with shortstop Trea Turner.
Both teams have doubled down on what made them good, at least on paper, in the 2022 season. The Mets were a team with a reputation as one carried by the starting staff. The Phillies had a scary starting lineup.
In actuality, the teams had their talent spread a little more evenly. The Mets could score runs, they just didn’t hit for power. The Phillies had an affective rotation, they just didn’t have the same kind of depth as other teams.
Rather than flip the script, both teams are going for broke. The Mets revamped their starting rotation with the Verlander addition. The Phillies became a bigger threat at the plate with Turner.
Did the Mets or Phillies get better with their blockbuster free agent signing?
The two signings were quite different. The Mets were replacing their best free agent, Jacob deGrom. The Phillies were more in the market to find a solution at shortstop. It allows them to move Bryson Stott to second base to fill the void left by Jean Segura.
Philadelphia improved upon something they lacked in 2022. Turner is a true leadoff hitter. He’s someone who can spark them in a variety of ways. They no longer have the “all or nothing” feel to them with him hitting at or at least near the top of their lineup.
Meanwhile, the Mets have secured themselves the best co-ace possible to pair alongside Max Scherzer. The duo of Verlander and Scherzer is unmatched across the league even when both are playing average baseball. Their age isn’t much of a factor. We can’t say neither is durable. Verlander just won a Cy Young and a World Series. Scherzer had a career-low ERA and didn’t miss much more time than any other pitcher younger than him.
The signings have two very different goals. Verlander is locking the Mets’ window to win into place for the next two, maybe three years. The Phillies, who have a decade of Turner, will hope to win it sooner but also have the freedom to wait a few more years.
Depending upon what else these two teams do will determine who comes away as the winner in this free agent spending spree. The Mets, making more win now moves, pushes them ahead. The Phillies can do the same by playing a long game without forgetting about the present, too.
The winner from these two free agent signings will have to wait at least a few days. Let’s see if the Mets settle for a lesser addition to round out the rotation. We’ll wait and see if Philadelphia continues to ignore another great need of theirs, quality starting pitching depth.