Report: What Marcus Stroman and Javier Báez Could Draw in Free Agency
Beyond finding the president of baseball operations, the Mets also have a number of decisions to make regarding a host of talented free agents waiting on their current roster.
First up, we have starting pitcher Marcus Stroman, who has been excellent in the Mets rotation this year.
After retiring from the 2020 season, Stroman accepted a qualifying offer of $ 18.9 million over one year to stay with the Mets and prove himself, before re-entering the market.
That decision ultimately worked for Stroman, as he started the most games in baseball, 31, while also posting a 2.88 ERA, which is the ninth highest score in the MLB.
This exceptional campaign has prepared Stroman well for free agency, where the 30-year-old is expected to sign a roughly six-year, $ 150 million contract, a source told Inside the Mets.
As the source noted, Stroman is expected to receive a deal that pays him $ 25 million a year at a “minimum.”
With all the uncertainty surrounding Jacob deGrom’s health, the Mets would be wise to keep Stroman on a long-term deal.
He won’t be cheap, however, and his difficult relationship with the New York media could be one of the reasons he ends up leaving town.
Could Báez stay?
Another hot topic of debate comes over what Steve Cohen and the Mets plan to do with Javier Báez.
Báez’s time as the Met got off on the wrong foot with both his performance on the pitch and his perception by fans, following the thumbs-down drama.
However, since returning from a brief stint in IL, Báez has become a game changer for the Mets, producing solid numbers. In his last 23 games, Báez beat .353 with a slugging percentage of .682 and OPS of 1.109.
This scorching stretch increased his value and his candidacy to stay with the Mets going forward, and he certainly won over the fan base during that time.
Overall, in 34 games since his trade with the Mets on July 30, Báez has reduced by 0.306 / 0.378 / 0.587 with an OPS of 0.965, nine homers and 18 RBIs.
Boy Scouts and Executives recently told SNY that they were projecting Báez to receive an AAV of $ 25 million, from agreements ranging from 5 to 6 years, $ 125 to $ 150 million, or over eight years, $ 200 million. of dollars.
But a source told Inside the Mets they still believe Báez’s approach, although improved in recent times, is still a major risk for long-term investing, as he’s historically a free trader who hits one. tonne.
This individual believes the future 29-year-old could still receive a substantial one-year offer, before returning to free agency next season, especially with a saturated shortstop market this winter which includes: Corey Seager , Trevor Story, Carlos Correa and Marcus Semien.
Time will tell what Cohen and the company decide to do. But Francisco Lindor could play a big role in keeping Báez alive, given their close friendship.
According to SNY, Lindor pressured Cohen to switch the Mets to Báez in July. Lindor also formed a relationship with Cohen during his tenure at Met and is said to have the owner’s ear. This will likely play a big part in the Mets’ decision to keep Báez as well.
But as a source warned, while $ 200 million for Báez might not seem like much to offer Cohen’s billionaire owner, the Mets have a number of tough decisions to make with Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman. , Aaron Loup and Báez all set to hit the open market.
Báez has reportedly already turned down a $ 180 million extension offer from the Cubs ahead of the 2020 season, according to ESPN.
The other aspect of uncertainty in this offseason is the looming CBA negotiations. Depending on what the new luxury tax might look like, this could dictate whether Cohen and the Mets have enough leeway to bring these impactful players back.
Cohen has also expressed his willingness to exceed the luxury tax if the opportunity arises, and regardless of the outcome of next year, the Mets owner might not have a choice if he wants his team to compete in the race. next season.