Zack Wheeler

Hopes Mets Will Spend Dashed With New Islanders Arena

This offseason, the Mets need to address the rotation, bullpen, catcher, third, center, and depth across the board. This becomes all the more complicated when you consider just signing Zack Wheeler will put the Mets over the luxury tax.

Still, there is some small hope. After all, David Wright‘s contract is insured and expiring. Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract is expiring as well. A good portion of Jacob deGrom‘s salary is deferred. Putting this all together, maybe the money is there, and maybe the Mets will take it on the chin one year and resetting the next.

It’s not going to happen.

Aside from the usual pessimism, Forbes reported “Sterling Equities has yet to put in any money for its share” of the “highly leveraged” new Islanders arena. Ultimately, it is unknown how much of the $800 million financing is the Wilpon owned Sterling Equities responsibility, but that’s just axiomatic as the money isn’t there.

If the money isn’t there for the Islanders arena, it does beg the question whether it’ll be there for the Mets. Perhaps, that is the reason why the Mets focused on a cheaper option in Carlos Beltran instead of a Joe Girardi. On that note, the Mets supposedly didn’t discuss the money available for a manager.

At this point, you really have to wonder what money is available. So far, there isn’t $1 available for the Islanders arena. If there isn’t any money available for a project the Wilpons are partially responsible for $800 million, you wonder how much more they’re going to contribute towards their mid market Mets payroll.

Braves Signing Will Smith Doesn’t Move The Needle

The Atlanta Braves should get credit for acting swiftly and signing closer Will Smith before he accepted the qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants. Even with the team winning the National League East by a healthy margin, they really needed to upgrade their bullpen, and Smith was the best reliever available.

They thought they did just that by obtaining Shane Greene at the trade deadline, but with he proved to not be the solution. Still, through it all, believe it or not, the Braves bullpen was not as bad as people believed it to be.

In 2019, the Braves 4.21 bullpen ERA was the 11th best in baseball. Their 22 blown saves were tied for the ninth fewest in the majors. Looking at those numbers, you can see they weren’t a good bullpen. That is further exemplified by their 4.49 FIP (ranked 15th), and their 1.388 WHIP, which was 11th worst.

Having Smith in the bullpen is going to make that bullpen better. However, it should be noted that even with the struggles that bullpen had, they didn’t hold back a 96 win team. If anything, obtaining Smith should help the Braves tread water from their having some of the fewest blown saves in the game. With Smith, they’ll probably be better, but probably not much better.

The real issue for the Braves going forward isn’t going to be about holding onto leads. No, their real issue is getting them.

The Braves had a major hole to address at third base with Josh Donaldson being a free agent. Last year, he hit .259/.379/.521 with 33 doubles, 37 homers, and 94 RBI. Even on a team with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman, his 6.1 WAR led the team. His 15 DRS made him the best defensive third baseman in the National League.

Signing Smith is not going to do anything to offset potentially losing Donaldson on the free agent market. Depending on what happens in the rest of the division, the Braves may not be able to get away with just signing a Mike Moustakas or Todd Frazier. No, they need a real difference maker.

On that note, the team also needs to upgrade its catching position, especially with them losing Brian McCann to retirement. On that front, Yasmani Grandal is just about the only catcher who could offset the loss of Donaldson, but whether the Braves have an appetite to go in that direction remains to be seen.

Ultimately, the Braves can be either a significantly improved team from their 96 win team. They can also be significantly worse. All we know is Smith is not moving the needle in either direction at the moment. To that end, no Mets fan should be up in arms over the Braves getting him, especially with some very good relievers remaining on the free agent market.

No, the time for Mets fans to react is when there are other very significant players sign, including but not limited to, Zack Wheeler signing.

 

 

Brodie Van Wagenen Had A Center Fielder

Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said something very interesting to the press during these GM Meetings. Notably, as transcribed by Mike Puma of the New York Post, he said, “Center field is not as easy as waking up in the morning and finding a solution.

This is a sentiment which rings very true, and we have seen teams act accordingly. The Minnesota Twins were very patient with Byron Buxton, who was finally a league average hitter in his fifth Major League season. Previously to Buxton, they had been patient with Aaron Hicks until he was traded for John Ryan Murphy, who at the time was a promising catcher.

When Hicks broke out, the Yankees made sure to extend Hicks to a lucrative contract extension. This speaks to how hard it is to get a center fielder. When a center fielder comes available, teams do spend to get them. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Lorenzo Cain to a five year $80 million deal.

For the Mets last year, there were no easy solutions. Juan Lagares would have the worst year of his career from both sides of the plate. Brandon Nimmo was hurt for much of the year. Keon Broxton wasn’t the player the Mets hoped he would be leading to his designated for assignment followed by failed hopes in the form of Aaron Altherr, Carlos Gomez, and Rajai Davis.

This led to the Mets once again moving Michael Conforto to center. While he has been a good sport, he has proven himself to be a good stopgap and nothing more. This is not too dissimilar from what we saw with Yoenis Cespedes in 2015.

The lesson is when you have a center fielder, you need to hold onto that player for as long as you can. That is what the best run teams in baseball do.

The Mets did have that center fielder in the minors in the form of Jarred Kelenic. In short order, he proved to be a much better player than even the Mets could’ve hoped he would be when they made him the sixth overall pick in the draft.

He has been so good that at the moment, MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 13th best prospect in baseball. He also rose all the way to Double-A at the end of the 2019 season. His likely beginning the 2020 season in Double-A means his making his Major League debut next year is not out of the question. Barring injury, we should see that happen at least by 2022.

Instead of having patience building this Mets team and allowing them to reap the benefits of having a Kelenic in center for a decade or hopefully more, Van Wagenen trying to shortcut the process. He included Kelenic in a deal for a older second baseman in Robinson Cano and a closer in Edwin Diaz.

Aside from the complications Cano and his contract provide, like re-signing Zack Wheeler, the trade itself cost the Mets a center fielder in Kelenic. With Kelenic, Van Wagenen was going to be in a position where he can wake up one day and have a long term solution in center.

Instead, he cycled through option after option in 2019 to no avail. He enters the offseason with few trade assets and little to no budget to sign a center fielder or to take on salary in a trade. The real shame is he eventually learned his lesson after he was all to rash to swing an ill-advised deal trading away a potentially very good center fielder.

Yankees Announce They’ll Spend While Mets Won’t

With Major League Baseball’s GM Meetings about to begin, teams are discussing their very preliminary plans with the media. That includes not just a wish list but also the resources available to fulfill their needs.

With respect to the Yankees, a year after not going the extra mile to sign Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel, the Yankees are now expected to be going aggressively after Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

For the Yankees to sign one or both, they’ll need to go past the luxury tax threshold. On that topic, Brian Cashman said there was no directive to stay under the tax meaning

As for the Mets, well, they were typically evasive, which is typically not a forebearer of good news.

When asked if the Mets had the authorization to exceed the threshold, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said the conversation will only happen if he needs to sign a specific player. Essentially, Van Wageneb said the budget and decisions are on a player-by-player basis before declining to answer any more questions about the payroll.

Keep in mind, that decision needs to have already taken place with Zack Wheeler being a free agent. If the Mets did nothing more than sign him, they’re going to be over the luxury tax. If we take Van Wagenen at face value, he’s telling everyone, they haven’t discussed Wheeler, a player who would justify going over that threshold.

In case you had delusions of grandeur, they were quickly dashed when Van Wagenen cited pitching prospect David Peterson as someone who could potentially pitch for the Mets early on in the 2020 season. You don’t even think to look in his direction if you’re going to re-sign Wheeler.

In addition to Wheeler, we know Anthony Rendon is a player worth exceeding the threshold. On that front, Van Wagenen said the Mets were set with internal options at the position.

Sure, you can more than justify Jeff McNeil there. What you can’t justify is J.D. Davis (-13 DRS in 500.2 career innings) or Jed Lowrie (8 PA). The invocation of Lowrie was made all the more hilarious when you consider this happened in the same impromptu press conference where Van Wagenen said they still haven’t diagnosed Lowrie’s injury.

If the Mets are talking about Double-A pitchers in the rotation and players who physically can’t play as an option for third, you really have to wonder if the Mets have any intention to spend. The more you contemplate it; the more you cannot completely rule out the Mets cutting payroll.

But, that’s where we are. Based on how the Mets have operated post-Madoff, we cannot count on them acting like a New York baseball franchise looking to win a World Series. Rather, we expect them to continue half-measures while failing to address the team’s real deficiencies.

Meanwhile, the very same Mets ownership who got caught up in a Ponzi scheme will grumble and declare the Yankees financial model to be “unsustainable.”

Keep in mind, that model is investing in the team and winning leading to higher attendance and the extra revenues which comes from postseason appearances.

Looking at it deeper, everything the Mets do in operating their team has proven to be an unsustainable model for consistently winning baseball games. You’d think this would cause them to do more than obtain Robinson Cano to emulate the Yankees.

They won’t, and once again, there will likely again be disparate results in 2020.

Luxury Tax Should Not Be An Impediment For Mets

The Mets did good by hiring Carlos Beltran as the 22nd manager in team history. In Beltran, they have someone who is a very good communicator who has the ability to unite a clubhouse while also teaching players things to help them significantly improve. Given his skill set, he can be a superstar manager like he was a superstar player.

However, Beltran in and of himself is not going to be enough to take this Mets team over the top.

With Zack Wheeler being a free agent, the team is going to need a fifth starter. At the moment, internal options like Walker Lockett and Corey Oswalt are not ready to step up to fill that void. The team has mentioned Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as options, but that only serves to further damage what is already a weak bullpen.

In 2019, Lugo and Justin Wilson were the only dependable relievers in that bullpen. When you look at it, even assuming a bounce-back from Edwin Diaz, this team still needs at least two big arms in the bullpen this offseason. They will need more if Gsellman or Lugo move to the rotation making that decision to rob Peter to pay Paul.

The Mets also need a center fielder, third baseman, backup catcher, and just plain old depth. With Juan Lagares having his option declined, they need a defensive replacement. The team cannot rely upon Jed Lowrie to contribute anything. Tomas Nido was a good defensive catcher, but with his complete inability to hit, you wonder how much you can rely upon him to be on the roster for a full season.

All told, this is a Mets roster which needs a lot of work. Given the dearth of prospects at the Double-A and Triple-A level last year, the team is going to have to acquire those players this offseason instead of looking from within. With all the prospects the Mets traded away over the last year, it is going to be difficult to trade their way back to contention.

That leaves the Mets with spending, and with the Mets being owned by the Wilpons, that is a dicey proposition.

Now, there are some who will say the Mets did spend last year. According to Spotrac, the Mets 2019 payroll was $160.5 million which ranked 10th in the majors.

Lost in that was how David Wright‘s $15 million is included in that amount. Wright had a portion of that salary covered by insurance, and the Mets renegotiated future payments with Wright. The figure also included Yoenis Cespedes‘ $29 million salary which was covered by insurance. Between Wright’s full salary and 70% of Cespedes’ salary being covered, the Mets payroll was reduced by $35.5 million.

That reduces the Mets REAL 2019 payroll to $125 million, which would’ve ranked 18th in the majors. That number is all the worse when you consider Adeiny Hechavarria and Carlos Gomez were cut before roster bonuses were due, and Jason Vargas was traded so the team could clear payroll space after obtaining Marcus Stroman.

As of today, the Mets payroll is $168.8 million. Now, that figure includes Wright’s $12 million, Cespedes’ $29.5 million, and the $5.1 projected arbitration figure due Joe Panik. On that front, as noted earlier, Wright’s contract was been renegotiated, and it is very likely Panik is non-tendered. With respect to Cespedes, there will be no insurance protection this year.

When you dig a little more, that $168.8 includes Jacob deGrom‘s $27.5 million salary. On that front, the $27.5 million figure is for competitive balance tax purposes only. In reality, deGrom is only making $13 million meaning $12.5 million of his salary is deferred.

This means the Mets ACTUAL payroll obligations are $139.2million. That is before the Mets go forward looking to add players this offseason. Still, people will point to the competitive balance tax as a reason why the Mets can’t spend. Let’s take a look at it for a second.

Putting reason aside, assuming the Mets sign Wheeler to a deal with a $30 million average annual value raising the payroll obligations to $188.8. That puts the Mets $19.2 million short of the $208 competitive balance tax figure.

Taking a more realistic approach, assume the Mets don’t go and sign Anthony Rendon. For a minute, just assume the Mets sign a Mike Moustakas ($10 million AAV), Drew Pomeranz ($8 million AAV), and a backup catcher like Jonathan Lucroy ($2 million AAV). Assume the rest of the roster is filled out for a cost of around $5 million, which is probably the very low end.

Assuming Panik is non-tendered, that puts competitive balance payroll at $213.8 million. That would incur the “tax penalty.” The amount of the penalty? It would only be $1.2 million. That’s it.

When looking at the $1.2 million remember the Mets already have $12 million off the books with Wright and $12.5 million deferred with deGrom. As a result, the $1.2 million is more than covered. When you look at it, the Mets can really blow past that $208 million this year.

In fact, the Mets should considering they have Cespedes’$29 million coming off the books completely, and the same can be said for Wright’s $12 million. Essentially, the Mets have $41 million coming off the books.

Whether the Mets will be proactive remains to be seen. If history is any measure, they won’t. Just remember, when they don’t, we should not let them invoke the competitive balance tax as a reason because it is not in any way a real impediment.

The only impediment to the Mets spending are the Mets themselves, and that is not in any way acceptable.

2020 Mets: Rewrite Our Story

If you were a Mets fan looking to latch onto something to give you hope that Carlos Beltran was the right hire, he gave you the line. Standing on the stage, wearing his old number 15, Beltran said, “I just can’t wait to rewrite our story.”

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone Beltran said that wearing the Mets pinstripe uniform. During his playing days, Beltran did not wear them often. Back then, the Mets mostly wore their black jerseys and the Brooklyn Dodger style jerseys. Going to the 2006 postseason, the Mets would not wear them until Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS. As we know, that series would end with Beltran striking out looking on an Adam Wainwright curveball.

That could be one way Beltran looks to rewrite our story.

But it’s more than that. Late in his Mets career, Beltran had to deal with injuries, and he would clash with the front office over career saving knee surgery. In the ensuing years, it does not seem the Mets have learned from this experience.

Matt Harvey‘s TOS was initially described as a mechanics issue, and he would pitch the ensuing year with what was described as an atrophied throwing arm. Noah Syndergaard was allowed to pitch without an MRI. The team fought with Yoenis Cespedes over his double heel surgery. The list goes well beyond this group.

They could rewrite that story too.

In 2011, Beltran was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Zack Wheeler. Wheeler is now a free agent, and he appears set to get a big free agent deal. For many, this is because Wheeler is the free agent who is most likely going to take off next year. This is not too dissimilar from Daniel Murphy.

Murphy was on the precipice of being an All-Star caliber player, and the Mets opted to let him walk and just take the draft pick compensation. The balance of power in the NL East shifted back to the Nationals when Murphy went there and the Mets thought they could replace him with Neil Walker.

The Mets learning that mistake and investing in their own players is a good place to rewrite the story.

Drawing that Murphy parallel out further, the Mets drafted Anthony Kay with that compensation pick. Kay had a great year in the minors this year leading to his being traded with Simeon Woods Richardson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman. Like with the Walker trade and with the team trading Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the Mets were looking for shortcuts to building a competitive roster while also not spending money.

This is a free agent class with Wheeler, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, and a whole host of other players who could significantly improve this Mets team. In signing those players, the Mets will begin to rewrite the story.

Mostly, the Mets can rewrite the story by investing financially in their team, making smart moves to build a complete roster, allowing their injured players to heal, and by allowing their new manager to lead this team. If you look at it, the last time the Mets really did that was building that 2006 New York Mets team.

That team came within an at-bat of a World Series. With this Mets team having Beltran’s experience from that at-bat and all the ensued after, including his finally getting his ring with the 2017 Houston Astros, perhaps things will be much different. Hopefully, it never comes to that. In the end, that’s all the matters. We all want to see Carlos Beltran win a World Series ring with the New York Mets.

If that happens, Beltran will finally get the love and adoration from this fanbase like he always deserved. Sure, there is a significant portion of the fanbase who have and always will. Still, there are those who never let him off the hook for that strikeout or other events. If Beltran leads the Mets to victory, he will be universally beloved.

That would be the best way to end this story. Sorry, rewrite our story.

Mets Now Have Longest World Series Drought In National League East

With the Washington Nationals defeating the Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series, the National League East has joined the American League Central as the only divisions in baseball to have had each of their teams win a World Series.

In terms of the AL Central, while all of their teams have won a World Series, not all of them have done it recently. For example, the Cleveland Indians last won in 1948, which was before the Mets or Nationals even came into existence. The Nationals first became a franchise in 1969, and they played their first game against Tom Seaver and the New York Mets. Little did anyone know it at the time, but that 1969 Mets team would win the World Series.

The Mets next World Series title came in 1986. As noted by Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions, Jesse Orosco would become the last relief pitcher to have an RBI in a World Series game. This would also mark the last time the New York Mets have won a World Series.

Since that time, each of the Mets division rivals have won at least one World Series.

In the strike shortened 1995 season, the Atlanta Braves finally got over the hump when World Series MVP Tom Glavine pitched eight shut out innings allowing just one hit against an absolutely stacked Cleveland Indians lineup. Two years later, Glavine would lose Game 6 of the NLCS to MVP Livan Hernandez and the Florida Marlins.

When Edgar Renteria singled home Craig Counsell in the 11th inning of Game 7, that Marlins team would win their first World Series. Six years later, the Marlins would win their second World Series when Josh Beckett pitched a complete game shutout on three days rest to beat the 2003 New York Yankees in six games.

In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies would break through and win the second World Series title in team history. Their clincher came when they and the Tampa Bay Rays resumed a rain shortened game the following day. The Phillies returned to the World Series the following year, but they lost in six to the New York Yankees.

That leaves the Mets with the longest drought, which stands at 33 years, as the longest in the division. It is not like the Mets haven’t had their chances.

Everything changed in 1988 with Mike Scioscia‘s grand slam. The 1999 Mets couldn’t pull off the miracle with Armando Benitez and John Franco blowing a save before Kenny Rogers walked in the series winning run. The following year, both Todd Zeile and Mike Piazza would come just short of hitting homers.

The 2006 Mets saw Guillermo Mota shake off Paul Lo Duca, and Carlos Beltran take a wicked Adam Wainwright curveball. There were the ensuing collapses the following years with Glavine getting shellacked by the Marlins in 2007, and Scott Schoeneweis allowing a homer to Wes Helms the ensuing year.

The Mets wouldn’t return to the postseason until 2015. Their World Series hopes were dashed when Daniel Murphy overran a ball, and Lucas Duda thew one away. The following year, Madison Bumgarner proved why he is an all-time great postseason pitcher with his throwing a complete game shutout in the 2016 Wild Card Game.

With Zack Wheeler being a free agent, the Mets offseason was already going to be an interesting one. It is now all the more interesting as you consider all the moves this team will need to make to bring home the team’s first World Series since 1986.

If Giants and Jets Can Trade, Why Not Mets and Yankees?

Yesterday, the New York Jets traded Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams to the New York Giants for a 2020 third round draft pick and a conditional 2021 fifth round draft pick. This is a shocking trade between teams who don’t just share a city but a building.

It was a gamble for the Giants in taking on an enigmatic player who is a pending free agent. For the Jets, this was seen as a coup to get a good return for a player they were not re-signing. However, if the Giants are able to get Williams to play like someone who was once the third overall pick in the draft, the Jets will constantly be reminded of their failure.

At the end of the day, who cares? Both the Giants and Jets did what they thought was best for their franchises. They put the fears aside, and they made a football trade just like they would’ve done with any other team. Somehow, this concept eludes the Mets.

Back in 2017, the New York Yankees were rumored to have interest in Lucas Duda. However, rather than trading Duda to the Yankees, the Mets opted to trade him to the Tampa Bay Rays for Drew Smith. There were rumors the Yankees could’ve bested the offer of what was just one relief prospect, but there was no real confirmation of what that return would be.

The Yankees were also to have been interested in Neil Walker. The Mets eventually wound up trading him to the Milwaukee Brewers for Eric Hanhold, a player the Mets recently designated for assignment so they could keep pitchers like Drew Gagnon, Donnie Hart, and Chris Mazza. In terms of the Yankees, we are not sure what they would offer, and there are some rumors the Yankees backed out of their deal because of Walker’s medicals.

Finally, there was Jay Bruce. The Yankees were reported to offer multiple prospects for him. Instead, the Mets moved him to the Cleveland Indians for Ryder Ryan, a converted reliever.

Over the past few years, the Yankees have been rumored interested in a number of Mets players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler. Those trades never materialized, but then again, no trade ever materialized between the Mets and another team with those players.

Still, the point remains there has long been a hesitation between the Mets and Yankees to make a trade. While it does seem to mostly come from the Mets side, there is assuredly some hesitation from the Yankees as well. That may be in no small part due to their Pedro Feliciano experience, or inexperience as it proved to be, and they may also harbor the same issues which are imputed on the Mets.

Whomever is to blame, they need to get over themselves, and they need to make smart trades between themselves to benefit both teams.

The Yankees have seen former Mets like Carlos Beltran, David Cone, and Darryl Strawberry play well for them. The Mets have seen former Yankees like Curtis GrandersonOrlando Hernandez, and Al Leiter play well for them. This is of little surprise as good players who can handle New York can play well for either team.

Given how that is the case, perhaps it is time both teams benefit from these players switching teams rather than seeing other franchises serve as the beneficiaries of being the ones who get these players in-between stops.

How Old Is Gleyber Torres?

In case you missed it last night, Gleyber Torres is just 22 years old.

You’d think you’d hear Joe Buck, John Smoltz, or Alex Rodriguez mention it at least once.

The answers to some of life’s other unanswered questions:

Finally, in the year Brodie Van Wagenen declared “Come get us!” the Nationals lead the NLCS (2-0), and the Yankees lead the ALCS (1-0).

Of course, the Yankees won the ALCS opened because Torres, who is apparently 22 years old, had a great game.

Biggest Reason Mets Shouldn’t Hire Joe Girardi As Manager

The New York Mets have begun assembling their list of managerial candidates, and they are beginning to set up interviews with different candidates. Judging from what we heard when he broadcasted Mets games this year, Joe Girardi really wants this job. Given his being a very good manager, the Mets should be doing all they could do to hire him.

But . . .

Even with Girardi being the best candidate available there are some red flags with him. He was fired from the Marlins for an inability to get along with ownership, and there probably aren’t any more meddlesome owners in sports than the Wilpons. While he has managed in New York, and he has worked in the media, he was never great handling the New York press. No, he wasn’t bad, but he does have a tendency to be a bit cantankerous, which does not play well in the press.

In terms of the fanbase, Mets fans who have loudly criticized Mickey Callaway for not having a feel for the game are going to go berserk with Girardi and his binders. There is also the issue of how things ended poorly with the Yankees in terms of communication with the players.

Taking all that into account, Girardi is still an excellent manager who would make the Mets better. Yet, there is one massive reason why the Mets should not hire him.

Money.

In Girardi’s last year managing the Yankees, he was making $4 million a year. Even if he accepts some form of a discount, the Mets are still going to owe Callaway $850,000 in 2020. Being that this is the Mets, that money can be damaging.

Adeiny Hechavarria was cut one day prior to his being owed a $1 million roster bonus. Carlos Gomez was cut as he was about to reach bonus levels. That’s at least $1.25 million the Mets could not afford to spend in-season. Connecting the dots further, it appeared the Mets needed to trade Jason Vargas to fit Marcus Stroman into the budget.

The Mets operate with a shoestring budget. Assuming the combined cost of Girardi and Callaway is $4 million, that is going to cost the Mets at least one player, maybe more.

That salary level is just $1 million less than what Justin Wilson will earn in 2020. That means Girardi will cost the Mets a late inning reliever they so desperately need. That puts more of an onus on Seth Lugo and puts the Mets in a position where they will have to completely rely on an Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia rebound.

In addition to the bullpen, the Mets need to add a fifth starter to replace Zack Wheeler. That extra couple of million to Girardi could make the difference between a trusted arm and them having to turn to Walker Lockett or Corey Oswalt.

The Mets could use some bench help too. The money to Girardi likely means the Mets are stuck with Tomas Nido and his bat as the backup catcher. That means there Mets are likely stuck looking at a series of minor league deals to league minimums for an everyday center fielder or defensive replacement. That’s if they can afford that.

Overall, a few million may not seem as much to normal teams, but to the Mets that is crippling to their ability to add players to the roster. In the end, the Mets really need to ask themselves if Girardi alone is enough to overcome a fifth starter, one or more arms in the bullpen, and/or bench depth.

While Girardi is good, he’s not that good. No one is. As a result, the Mets should probably be looking to hire another (read cheaper) manager.