New York Mets: Stroman, Cespedes and others could test free agency this year if there’s no season

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

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MLB and the Players’ Association are negotiating several aspects of the season. There is no set date for baseball to start, but we do know that it won’t be until June or July, which would result in a shortened schedule that will affect teams and players, including several members of the New York Mets.

It appears that players will be recognized a year of service time despite the shortened season and no matter how many games the schedule has. It would mean that, if there is no baseball played this year, those Mets’ slated to be free agents this fall/winter will hit the open market having already played their last game in uniform.

Such is the case of, for example, Marcus Stroman. The right-hander, who came from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade last season, is in his third and final year of salary arbitration, which means that 2020 will be his final year with the Mets unless the two sides agree to a deal down the road. If coronavirus keeps lurking around and there is no season in 2020, Stroman will enter free agency.

Other Mets’ free agents

A similar case happens with Rick Porcello, Jed Lowrie, Michael Wacha, Justin Wilson, Jake Marisnick and Yoenis Cespedes. If there is no season, they will all enter free agency, just like that. In the specific cases of Porcello, Wacha and Marisnick, they would test the open market without playing a single game for the New York Mets.

Among players in this situation are Mookie Betts, the former AL MVP who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Trevor Bauer, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, George Springer and JT Realmuto, plus several others.

A report of the Associated Press states that service time “affects a player’s status for free agency, salary arbitration and the pension plan.” The likely service time agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

Opening day was supposed to be today but has been pushed back to mid-May at the earliest due to the new coronavirus outbreak. A full service year usually is 172 days, and the season was set to be 186 days long. If the proposed deal comes into fruition, no matter how many games are played this season, a player on the active roster or injured list for the entire season would receive a full season of service.

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