Say what you will about the Jacob deGrom contract. If you feel like the Texas Rangers overpaid in dollars or more likely years, you’re not wrong. It was a lot of stupid money they threw at deGrom when they’re a ball club in need of much more. The star New York Mets free agent will join a club on the rise, but still in need of additional pieces to be taken seriously in a division where they finished fourth last year and have three other competitive teams.
Meanwhile, the Mets seem eager to spend but at a limit. This has been a theme since Steve Cohen became the owner. He’s not putting his billions to work at a ridiculous rate. Many of the decisions he allows the general managers to make remain baseball-focused.
It’s not a bad thing, however, if there was ever a time for the Mets to be smart and spend stupid, it’s this offseason. Signing Justin Verlander to his massive two-year deal worth $86.66 million with an option for a third season.
Why the NY Mets need to spend stupid money this winter
The Max Scherzer contract set a new AAV record last offseason. One year down, he’s another season closer to flexing his opt out after year two. It can’t be all for nothing. The window for a championship run is right now. He’s going to need some help. He should get it from old teammate, JV.
Before the Mets have to start paying even more to Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, it’s time to capitalize on the opportunity they have. If they’re going to remain at a level where they spend around the same as the other big buyers, this offseason is a good time to pay any penalties for it.
It would be something if the Steve Cohen tax doesn’t get utilized often by the namesake.
The Mets don’t have to be ridiculous about it. When the decision comes down to a third or fourth year, they’re going to need to bite down and suffer in the future. This seems to be their hesitation with many free agents. It’s wise to consider those things. It’s a major mistake to pass over players completely simply because they want an extra year or two.
The Mets are locked into some bigger contracts this year with some flexibility after the season ends. Carlos Carrasco, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha are all either on expiring contracts or have a club option for the 2024 season. Combined, they accounted for almost $35 million on the payroll this year. Alonso and McNeil do reach their final years of arbitration-eligibility in 2024 as well so they’ll help take a bite out of it if they haven’t gotten extensions already.
What’s important is for the Mets to not get caught between spending to win now and looking toward the future. They’re trying to lose weight while packing on muscle. It’s difficult to make them work simultaneously.
The focus for this year should be to spend a little more stupidly. Award a player with an extra year on his contract if you must. The 2026 Mets can be dreadful with him on the roster. As long as he was a part of the 2023 and 2024 championship clubs, all will be forgiven.