This is obviously a situation of the “haves” and “have nots” and that pertains to the spending ability of the Mets and Yankees this baseball offseason, one that has been unprecedented. Basically, it’s whether you are in this to win or not.
Overall, $1.3 billion in contracts was granted to pitchers and position players around the league, so the haves are the owners who spend the money. The have nots are those owners who have a fear of the luxury tax and the reality that baseball is obviously healthy with no salary cap in place.
The Yankees want to win now as do the Mets, two teams with the financial resources, in a New York market with the have portion of this equation showing their respective fan bases they’re in it to win it.
Jacob deGrom to the Rangers (5 yrs, $85 million) and Justin Verlander to the Mets (2 yrs, $86.7 million), (sort of a Cy Young Award winning free agent trade, if you will) changing the complexion of a Mets pitching staff with a solid one-two punch to go along with then Max Scherzer’s (3-year-$130 million) largest single-season AAV ($43 million) for any player.
Highly touted Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga (5 yrs, $75 million), Jose Quintana (2 yrs, $26 million) a one-time homegrown Met, added to their commitment to spend and win with the pitching rotation.
The Mets, with the richest owner in baseball, are spending money, close to $400 million in contracts. Steve Cohen, known to fans as “Uncle Stevie” may be far from done as they look to be that premiere team in the NL East with the free spending Braves and Phillies.
So the Mets continued the spending spree. Homegrown Met, Brandon Nimmo (8 yrs, $162 million) and Thursday, as if they needed another catcher, Omar Narvaez (1 yr, $8 million) and player option for 2024 ($7 million).
Oh, can’t forget about that other “have” part of the New York equation in the Bronx. Aaron Judge (9-yrs, $360 million) and Thursday, the Yankees, proving they are seeking to bypass the Astros, agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract with lefthander Carlos Rodon.
Question now about the haves here. The Yankees, with Rodon, who provides a one-two punch with Gerrit Cole that rivals the Mets’ duo across town of Scherzer and Verlander, could have the top rotation in the American League,
More importantly, though, when this is all said and done, all the money in the world does not buy a championship. But on paper this all looks good for two New York teams.
From this perspective, this could be a portent for an exciting 2023 season for New York baseball. All contingent of course on the wealth leading to good health. The Mets and Yankees have four of the highest salaried veteran pitchers with Scherzer, Verlander, Cole, and Rodon, accounting for the age factor.
Odds for both teams to reach the World Series as of Friday morning, got that much better. And sources are informing me, the “have” equation for the Mets and Yankees is far from over.
You are hearing reports of the Mets pursuing another potent bat for the lineup, more money to spend on a veteran in J.D. Martinez, or a reunion with outfielder Michael Conforto. By signing Narvaez, the Mets have three catchers on the roster, including the disappointing contract of James McCann, and Tomas Nido.
Francisco Alvarez, the #1 prospect in baseball, who got that cup of coffee in late September, is expected to start next season at Triple-A Syracuse.
But it’s back to the haves and have nots. With an apparent luxury tax in play, the Yankees are reportedly going to use the old fashioned trade market to shore up the outfield. A lineup that combined for 55 strikeouts in the embarrassing ALCS four game sweep by the Astros is a lasting reminder.
Pitching was not a lasting reminder of the Yankees failure in October, rather the lineup. So I expect the Yankees, with that portion of the haves to swing a potential deal or two and rid the lucrative contracts of Aaron Hicks, and Josh Donaldson. Or, as I continue to hear, finding a trading partner for Gleyber Torres as his tenure in the Bronx has been an obvious failure.
So on it goes. Mets GM Billy Eppler presented his case this week when he said, “You got to get in the tournament in the end. Depth is crucial for October baseball. We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting.”
Heavy lifting for the Mets with their spending to play baseball deep into October and with the Yankees’ actions refuting reports they have suddenly become cost conscious.
In the end though, those haves have come at a hefty cost for the Mets and Yankees, but the willingness to spend and win is what this is all about.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and co-host Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube