Mets Should Be Willing To Eat Contracts For Betts, Bryant But Won’t
Right now, it appears the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the lead for Mookie Betts partially because they appear willing to take on David Price‘s contract as part of the deal. What is interesting about that is Price is still an effective pitcher.
While he may not be quite worth the $64 million for the remaining three years of his contract ($32 million AAV), he is still an effective pitcher. It should be noted it is not without some risk. After all, he did miss the end of the 2019 season due to a left wrist injury.
If not Price, a team could insert themselves into the running by taking on Nathan Eovaldi. He’s an even bigger injury risk, and he is owed $51 million over the next three years.
The key with Betts isn’t just the prospects. It is providing the team with salary relief to help them rebuild. Essentially, the team willing to take on the Red Sox contracts, can get one guaranteed year of Betts as a bonus. This is not too different from how the Los Angeles Dodgers obtained Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett in a deal which not only allowed the Red Sox to get salary relief, but it also helped jump start the Dodgers.
Similar to the Red Sox with Betts, the Chicago Cubs are looking to trade Kris Bryant due to purported budget constraints.
The team willing to take on the contracts of Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish, or even Craig Kimbrel could really improve their chances of obtaining Bryant. For a Mets team who needs a center fielder, will soon face Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz hitting free agency, and could still use an upgrade in the bullpen, could take on one of those contracts in order to make a push for Bryant.
Keep in mind, the Mets getting Betts or Bryant would be a game changer.
Depending on the trade, obtaining either one of those players would put the Mets from middle of the pack in the Naional League East to one of the best teams in all of baseball. Suddenly, we are not talking about fighting for a Wild Card or having a shot at the division. No, we are talking about the Mets as legitimate World Series contenders.
The issue with the Mets is with the Wilpons in charge money is an even bigger issue than it is in Boston or Chicago. The Mets are the same team who did not reinvest the insurance savings on Yoenis Cespedes‘ or David Wright‘s contracts.
Again, this is where Steve Cohen comes into play. If he was willing to increase the Mets budget now in order to take on contracts which will be in play when he takes over, the Mets could make one of these potential trades. However, based on what we have seen this offseason with the Mets not signing players to multi-year deals, it does not seem the Mets are willing to take on future payroll obligations until the sale is finalized.
That does mute some of the early enthusiasm where people thought Cohen would immediately inject money into the organization. Sadly, the Mets assumed unwillingness to take on a big contract to get a Betts or Bryant is another indication the Wilpons are still in power.
To that end, there could be a sense of relief. After all, Brodie Van Wagenen bungled taking on Robinson Cano‘s contract. Seeing that, you absolutely cannot trust him making a deal of this magnitude. Overall, with Van Wagenen making moves and the budget still restrained, we see things have not yet changed/improved.
Hopefully, that will all change in the not too distant future. Until then, we will see players like Betts and Bryant playing for a team not located in Flushing.