Mets Can Extend Noah Syndergaard And Marcus Stroman For Less Than What Trevor Bauer Wants
Once again, there are rumors the New York Mets are pursuing Trevor Bauer, and once again, there is a debate whether Bauer is worth it. While most of those debates focus on the personal, it rarely focuses on the budgetary.
Yes, we all know Steve Cohen has more money than the Wilpons, and he’s far more invested in winning. That said, even he has his limits, and he didn’t get this wealthy by just throwing money around like the Yankees when they see a Boston Red Sox player past their prime.
For the Mets, they have to best decide how to invest in players and the team. Looking at it from that perspective, you really have to wonder why the Mets would even bother contemplating signing Bauer.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Bauer could land a four year deal with a $32 million AAV. There have been claims Bauer could surpass Gerrit Cole‘s record $36 million AAV. Long story short it appears it’ll take approximately $30 million per year to sign Bauer.
Looking at the current Mets pitching staff, both Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard will be free agents. That means the Mets will need to make a decision whether they want to re-sign one, both, or neither.
With Stroman and Syndergaard missing 2020 for differing reasons, Zack Wheeler is an interesting comp. Entering free agency, Wheeler had a strong season-and-a-half. From June 1, 2018 through 2019, he had a 3.26 FIP, and there was the expectation he would improve.
As a result, entering his age 30 season, he received a five year deal with a $23.6 million AAV. Syndergaard, 27, and Stroman, 29, ate slightly younger than Wheeler when he hit free agency. Syndergaard (3.25) has a better FIP than Wheeler over his last two years, and Stroman’s (3.79) is worse.
Given that and a number of other factors, we could well see Stroman and Syndergaard sign deals with an AAV comparable to Wheeler. For the sake of using round numbers, let’s say it’ll take $25 million per year to extend both Stroman and Syndergaard.
In 2020, because Stroman accepted the qualifying offer, he will make $18.9 million. Syndergaard and the Mets settled his final year of arbitration at $9.7 million.
That means, if the Mets were looking to give Stroman a deal with a $25 million AAV, he’d get a $6.1 million raise. For Syndergaard, that’s a $15.3 million raise. Combined, that’s $21.4 million.
Looking at it purely from a pitching perspective, the Mets could give Bauer $30 million, or they can use $21.6 million to keep Stroman and Syndergaard. That’s $8.4 million which can then be used for a Brad Hand or another area of need.
Keep in mind, that $30 million doesn’t have to be used for starting pitching. In addition to Stroman and Syndergaard, the Mets will see Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, and maybe even Jacob deGrom hit free agency over the next few years.
Taking all that into account, you really have to wonder why the Mets would be pursuing Bauer. In reality, it’s a gross misallocation of resources. For what the Mets could give Bauer, they could keep two better ones and have money left over to further invest in the team.
Maybe the Mets still want Bauer, and maybe, they even sign him. Whatever the case, the Mets really have to make sure he’s worth all that comes with him, and given the expiring contracts, all that will likely go.
In reality, it’s far better to keep Stroman and Syndergaard than to sign Bauer. Hopefully, that’s the path the Mets pursue.