The Mets need to add not one but two proven starting pitchers for 2021. The glittering gold or two proven workhorses – which way to go?
Newly installed Mets President Sandy Alderson got our attention last week when he noted the Mets will be shopping “mostly in the meat and potatoes section” of the free-agent market. But, they’ll also be looking in the “gourmet aisle” as well.
Although it was a made for TV sound bite, Alderson nailed it when it comes to the Mets’ choices at their disposal this offseason.
While Steve Cohen has bluntly stated his goal to bring a World Series title to the Mets “in 3-5 years”, let’s not kid ourselves. The Mets are not playing the 2021 season with anything less than the desire to reach that plateau – STAT.
Perhaps in conflict with that goal, Cohen also wants to “bring the fun back” to Citi Field.
Now, what would be more fun than to have a young, intelligent, whipper-snapper like Trevor Bauer taking the mound behind Jacob deGrom every fifth day?
Fresh off a Cy Young, Bauer has New York written all over him, and depending on the day you catch his Tweets, his likings vary between the Mets and Yankees.
Steve Cohen puts a wedge on all bidding wars, though, and if it’s strictly a game of showing him the money, Trevor Bauer will wear the orange and blue next year and beyond – if the Mets decide to go there.
Mets: Setting The Tone For The Future
Let’s slow down a bit, though. Because after all, meat and potatoes consume a good portion of the diet that keeps most of us functioning and healthy.
Your waiter will barely notice when you order Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes from the menu for dinner instead of something as sexy as Stuffed Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce.
Because of Steve Cohen, the gourmet section will always be open for the Mets to shop in – and in due time, when the next Gerrit Cole becomes available, the Mets will make their presence known.
For the moment, though, the Mets can fill out their starting rotation with two stokes of a pen. Jake Odorizzi plus Charlie Morton equals one Trevor Bauer.
Granted, there’s no sexiness in a last name that sounds like a bathroom cleaner or a first name as mundane as Charlie – but we’re talking proven, durable, and reliable pitchers here with Odorizzi and Morton – and not some one-year wonder who can easily become nothing more than a flash in the pan.
Mets: Crossing The Money Doesn’t Matter Cohen Bridge
In theory, Steve Cohen can sign or trade for the entire National League All-Star team with merely the interest that $14.2 billion can earn yearly with shrewd investments.
But that would mean the Mets getting eerily like their counterparts in the Bronx, saddled with one good and productive contract for two others that have long gone south.
What we’re looking at here, according to Spotrac, is one starter (Bauer) equal in payroll value to two starters (Odorizzi and Morton).
Pegged by Spotrac at $21 million per year, Bauer is not likely to settle for anything less than $25 million – and if he goes the route he advertises himself at – the price goes up to $30 million for one year of his service.
Odorizzi ($14.1 million) and Morton ($14.6 million) together roughly equal Bauer’s cost.
Significant yes, but the question is reduced to the type of buyer the Mets will be, now and in the future, with a decided advantage of Steve Cohen’s financial resources.
In effect, when they go shopping, will they buy Gulden’s mustard or the store brand that’s on sale with a buy-one-get-one-free price that week?
I know not the answer to my own question. However, I’m curious to see how a situation like this one plays out for the Mets.
I do know this much, though. If the Mets add Ordorizzi and Morton to a staff that already includes deGrom, David Peterson, and the expected return of Noah Syndergaard from Tommy John, that’s more than enough to make some serious noise in the National League East and beyond.
Mets: Asses In The Seats Or W’s In The Win Column
To use the phrase coined by George Steinbrenner, who labeled Reggie Jackson as the man who can “put asses in the seats for me,” Trevor Bauer is the player who can do the same for the Mets at Citi Field for half of his 2021 starts.
But is that the “brand” the Mets are seeking to create?
I think not, or at least, I hope not.
Sound baseball decisions lead to the building, piece by piece, slowly but surely, the “iconic” franchise Steve Cohen has set himself out to build.
Odorizzi and Morton fall into that category, and if it means wins over sexiness, I’ll take the former in this case.