Manny Machado didn’t keep it a secret from the San Diego Padres. He was going to use his opt-out at the end of the 2023 season and become a free agent again. Only days into Spring Training games being played, the New York Mets lost their shot at signing the star third baseman.
Machado has an 11-year deal worth $350 million. The ridiculous contract overtakes what the Mets are already paying Francisco Lindor. For as much credit and disdain as Steve Cohen gets for spending money, we need to tip our caps to the Padres for being just as outrageously courteous to the fans.
For the Mets, this means looking elsewhere for their future third base options. This year’s plans are set. What about the 2024 season and beyond?
1) NY Mets could continue with Brett Baty at third base and retain Eduardo Escobar
Everyone and their mother is hoping Brett Baty is the real deal. The young Mets prospect is likely to have an impact on the 2023 season to some degree. To what extent remains unknown. If he doesn’t seem quite ready, the Mets could always pick up the third year option on Escobar’s deal.
Escobar is signed through 2024 with a $500K buyout or a $9 million salary. It’s not so bad for a guy who could contribute as more of a part-time player. It’s not likely, though. There are much better ways to spend money. Plus, with another year of experience, Baty is probably going to close in on winning the third base job.
One hiccup in the Baty starting at third base next year plan could be his defense. Escobar isn’t exactly in the Gold Glove conversation. As long as his bat is doing its job, the Mets could look to fill out the bench with a more skilled defender. Or, you know, ask Luis Guillorme for help.