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Mets Ownership Question Affects Future Of Mets Rotation

Today, the offseason is officially over, and Spring Training officially begins with pitchers and catchers reporting to St. Lucie. Looking at the way the contracts are structured, this could be the last year this rotation reports, and in very short order, this rotation could be almost completely dismantled over the ensuing few years.

Marcus Stroman and Rick Porcello are free agents after the 2020 season.

Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are free agents after the 2021 season.

Jacob deGrom has a player option after the 2022 season.

This is what remains from a homegrown group which led the Mets to the 2015 pennant and brought the Mets back to the 2016 postseason. We have already seen Matt Harvey and now Zack Wheeler (on neither team) leave for very different reasons. Now, the Mets have to assess who is next.

Ideally, the Mets would be moving quickly to lock some of these starters up. After all, Syndergaard and Matz are coming off down years, and the Mets have a year of control to use as leverage in negotiations. Seeing how Matz finished the season, Syndergaard’s offseason workouts geared towards pitching better, and Jeremy Hefner already working on getting the most out of both, they may get very expensive very soon.

Like Matz, Stroman and Porcello are local kids who grew up Mets fans. We have already seen Porcello leave some money on the table to pitch for the Mets. Could Stroman do the same knowing he gets to pitch for his hometown team and his being born to pitch on this stage?

Sure, you could argue the Mets should be looking to maximize on the value of some of these pitchers on the trade market. At some point, the team also has to look to the future when pitchers like David Peterson, Thomas Szapucki, Matthew Allan, and others are ready to contribute.

The payroll obligations, along with having to pay players like Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo have to be balanced. The Mets also have to balance that against building the type of team which would discourage deGrom from exercising his opt out.

Of course, the question is who exactly is negotiating these contracts. Not too long ago, we thought that would be Steve Cohen, and what many assumed were bottomless pockets. Now, with that deal falling apart, we don’t know.

Sure, the Mets say they are going to sell the team, and they are no longer going to insist on having control over the team, but we have seen this show. It has previously ended with deals falling apart, and the Mets moving to sell off minority shares as as short term fundraising scheme.

Long story, short, here, the Mets need to figure out their ownership, and they need to figure it out fast. There is a lot more riding on the sale of the team than the 2020 season and the ability to add payroll, if necessary, at the trade deadline. As noted, the Mets need to figure out the pitching staff for 2021 and beyond.

The sooner they figure it out, the better. Once they have clarity on that issue, they will know who exactly are trade chips, and how exactly the Mets can build the 2020, 2021, 2022, and beyonds World Series contending teams.

7 thoughts on “Mets Ownership Question Affects Future Of Mets Rotation”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    Porcello needs to prove himself…after all, he had the worst ERA of any qualifying starter last year. Why we would extend him now….is that what you are saying?

    Matz has shown me that his ceiling is a number three and it is as likely he will be a 5/long man. He is easily replaceable in the FA market. He would be good trade bait, bundled into a deal for an ace level starter.

    I would extend Thor and Stroman now.

    No matter who the new owner is, they will not be the Cheapons, and we should be more competitive in the FA market or in taking on bigger contracts in trades.

    You often mention that we will be weak in this position or that position in two years or whatever. But that “weakness” brings opportunities and options. Burdensome contracts on fading or injured players are not a strength. We thought we had centerfielder taken care of for six years with Lagares, remember?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      As we see with Porcello, back-end starters are very expensive. To that end, it usually makes sense to extend those guys because of where the value lies.

      Overall, I think the priority is Stroman and Thor, but you need to extend who you can when you can.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        Is this where I mention Jason Vargas?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Say whatever you want about Vargas, but he cost $10 million to be a fifth starter last year.

          That’s expensive.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    The Mets have to sell because the Katz’s want out, Fred is in his 80’s and wants to settle his estate. Mets are also reportedly in the red but I haven’t done the research on the actual numbers to know if true.

    I don’t see any problem on the baseball side, including offering extensions. The value of the team goes up by retaining key players. There could be new ownership in place by the time those decisions have to be made. And if it isn’t, these players can still be signed and their contracts appropriately structured pre-sale, and then re-worked when new ownership takes control if needed.

    Furthermore, the only key player up for free agency after the season is Stroman. That’s a deal that can get done. Betances is wait and see how his season goes.

    As forJuly trade chips, it’s unlikely the Mets are selling key players if in the race like they’re built to be. The exceptions might be Cespedes and/or Lowrie depending upon circumstance.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I think it’s very difficult to ascertain what the new owners will think if they ever come along.

      Honestly, seeing multiple deals fall apart, I remain skeptical a sale depriving the Wilpons of majority control actually happens. It may happen, but it’s still an if and not a when.

  3. Oldbackstop says:

    I think one of the aspects that isn’t discussed is the scalability of the team and its status in the progressive luxury tax. Say that it was 200 million the last two years and the Mets exceeded it. Not a win now mogul wants to come in and spend big bucks. If his first year in he has a 300 million payroll, he pays another 100 mil to MLB. If the Mets have stayed under it, no penalty to the new guy.

    Cohen might not care about 100 mil, but even most rich guys would note that.

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