The New York Mets will be right in the thick of the Shohei Ohtani and Manny Machado sweepstakes. Ohtani would be the dream signing as the best player in baseball, and Machado would be what we thought Correa would, but even better.
While signing one of those players would be great, they're not the only guys who will be looking for some of Steve Cohen's money. The Mets will have other options to pivot to if Ohtani and Machado stay where they are or end up elsewhere. They might even look into other great players in addition to Ohtani or Machado, it's impossible to rule anything out at this point!
While we don't know who the Mets will sign, one thing is certain. They'll be active, and they'll land someone. There's no reason to think any differently. Here are some players the Mets can pursue.
1) NY Mets free agent target who wants Steve Cohen's money: Corbin Burnes
Corbin Burnes just basically announced without actually announcing that the relationship between himself and the Brewers organization is a mess. The Brewers disrespected him by saying he was the reason they didn't make the playoffs, and he's understandably very angry about that.
It was unlikely the Brewers, a team that's resisted spending much more than they have to would pay to retain Burnes when he hit free agency anyway, but this arbitration fiasco all but confirms he will be in another uniform the first chance he gets. If Burnes does hit free agency, (or the trade market), the Mets should be all over it. Burnes is a free agent after the 2024 season.
Burnes is one of the best, if not the best pitcher in baseball. We all know how dominant Jacob deGrom is, but Burnes has been elite and healthy for the last three seasons.
Burnes won the Cy Young Award in 2021 after posting a 2.43 ERA in 28 starts and 167 innings pitched. He led the league with 12.6 K/9 while walking just 1.8/9. deGrom was definitely better, but he only pitched half of the season. Burnes deserved that award and was the best player on a Brewers team that made the postseason.
Burnes then followed that up by making 33 starts which led the league. He posted a 2.94 ERA in 202 innings pitched, striking out 10.8/9 and walking just 2.3/9. His numbers looked slightly worse but Burnes was healthier and pitched more. Saying he was the reason they missed the playoffs is insane.
Burnes should leave Milwaukee the first chance he gets and go to a team that pays him like one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Mets have shown they're very willing to pay for starting pitching.