While the Mets desperately need a Number Two behind Jacob deGrom, there are reasons why this year’s Cy Young winner may not be the answer.
It’s no secret the Mets need to add to their starting rotation in order to seriously compete in the highly talented and competitive National League East in 2021.
Without argument, Trevor Bauer is this year’s equivalent to Gerrit Cole, who absorbed all of the attention before the Yankees threw a record $324 million at him, convincing him to spend the next eight years in the Bronx.
Money is likely to win Bauer as well, and therefore, the Mets, who are packing the fortune of Steve Cohen behind them have a better than even chance to land Trevor Bauer.
Both the Yankees, Dodgers, and even the cash-rich Washington Nationals could be in the mix. But interestingly, there is no groundswell in media reporting that either team is seriously in the mix.
Bauer’s current team, the Cincinnati Reds can’t afford to re-sign him, but having made Bauer a qualifying offer stand to gain a first-round draft choice from the team that eventually inks him to a contract.
Mets: Do Think Twice, It’s All Right
Translating, this becomes a central reason why the Mets need to think twice about Trevor Bauer.
The Mets are a franchise with a three-fold plan to move forward under the stewardship of Steve Cohen, and one of those areas is to rebuild a farm system that was largely neglected in the last years of the Wilpon regime.
But there’s more to it than that. Trevor Bauer will pitch in the 2021 season at age 30. He is not Dwight Gooden at 21 years, seven months and 30 days (1986), who took the Mets and the baseball world into his talented right-hand.
Is he The Franchise, Tom Seaver?
Bauer’s stats are more than respectable, but not overwhelming when compared, for instance to Jacob deGrom.
For that matter, even Noah Syndergaard‘s career stats over only five seasons shine favorably against those of Bauer, plus he’s four years younger. (Courtesy of Baseball-Reference)
Syndergaard, who is completing his rehab from Tommy John, is expected back in June as a highly motivated starter for the Mets. He’ll be pitching in his walk year before he becomes a free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 World Series.
Without reservation, it figures the Mets will be interested in retaining their young stud in the face of what is expected to be a competition among several teams pursuing Syndergaard.
Steve Cohen Facing Wrath As The Evil Empire
We know that money grows on trees these days with the Mets but consider this.
DeGrom is slated to earn $32.5 million each season for the next four years ($102 million). Bauer expects to get paid, and this is indicated by his lack of enthusiasm for an $85 million three-year deal offered by the Angels.
This means Bauer’s starting point is $30 million per year, and there even hints that his eyes are set on eclipsing Gerrit Cole’s average annual salary of $36 million.
Syndergaard figures for less than that but still a substantial average annual salary of $25 million, or something similar to Zack Wheeler‘s $118 million deal with the Phillies.
Totaled up, the Mets will have $87.5 million extended to three players for the 2022 season. Even for Steve Cohen, that’s a huge chunk of change committed to the Mets overall team payroll, against what is probably going to be a luxury tax threshold of around $220 million.
We haven’t even hit the position players who are quickly climbing up the salary ladder.
A contract extension is looming on the Mets calendar for Michael Conforto (right), who also reaches free-agency after the 2021 season, with the prospect of being one of the hottest tickets among next year’s free-agent class.
Pay the tax? No problem. The Mets and Steve Cohen can more than afford it, but they do so at the peril of being labeled the replacement players for the Yankee’s Evil Empire, not to mention earning the wrath of team owners struggling to compete against an epidemic and the possibility of no fans in the stands again.
Is Trevor Bauer Needed Or Wanted?
The question, then, is this. Do the Mets (absolutely) need Trevor Bauer, or is he a trophy whose banner will hang high in the Jackie Robinson rotunda entrance to Citi Field?
Remember, the Mets led the National League in several offensive categories, despite down years from Pete Alonso and the now-departed Wilson Ramos. James McCann has been added, and there’s a good chance George Springer will follow as the Mets centerfielder for the next few years.
The Mets have only to take a 17-minute ride covering 10.1 miles to find the Yankees wallowing in the aftermath of absorbing the contract of perennially injured Giancarlo Stanton to understand the negative impact of high dollar commitments made to one or two players.
Again, some will say so what? – we have Steve Cohen, and that well will never run dry.
Mets: It’s Not Only About Trevor Bauer
But that misses the point about Steve Cohen, who believes in hard work and measured time to achieve the ultimate which, in this case, is a World Championship, hopefully in the next three years.
Mets fans conveniently overlook the overall plan that Cohen has for the Mets.
It’s a plan dedicated not only to adding on-the-field talent like Trevor Bauer but also to rebuilding the Mets long-neglected farm system, plus an all-out effort to bring the Mets into baseball’s high-tech world in the 21st Century.
Plant someone like medium-priced and ultra-reliable Jake Odorizzi or Masahiro Tanaka behind deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Syndergaard, and David Peterson – and viola – what’s wrong with that?
It’s Steve Cohen’s money, of course, and he can spend it to his liking. Just the same though, he is not here on a whim to make a “quick buck” (translation a 2021 World Series Title).
No, Cohen is here for the long haul which, ironically, is probably not going to take that long anyway to fulfill.
Mets: Slow Down, No Need To Move Too Fast
Even with the team as currently constructed, the Mets can take the field on Opening Day, raising some hell.
I won’t jump off the deep end, even if the Mets sign Trevor Bauer. But I will begin to wonder if this (indeed) would be the beginning of the second coming of George Steinbrenner in Metland – the man who had to have it (top-tiered free agents) all.
Trevor Bauer happens to be the right man in the right place in a year he faces zero competition for his placement as the pitcher everyone has to have.
Good for him, but is it an automatic that it’s good for the Mets?