New York Mets: How a Shortened Season Affects Free Agency

New York Yankees, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets have a handful of players who are heading towards free agency at the end of the 2020 season. Marcus Stroman and Yoenis Cespedes are the most notable Mets who have to make the most out of their time on the field.

Before getting into the Mets, players around baseball are going to feel the effects in a big way. Salary handouts during the offseason will shrink due to the lack of revenue this season. In some ways, it may benefit the Mets as well.

Start From the Bottom

The Mets have a total of 10 players heading to free agency, with three others holding options. Erasmo Ramirez, Matt Adams, and Eduardo Nunez all joined the Mets on minor league contracts. Barring injuries, they will see minimal action in 2020. Bringing them back on similar salaries to this season should be an easy move.

Michael Wacha, Jake Marisnick, and Rick Porcello are all players trying to prove their worth on a new team. Marisnick is a better hitting version of Juan Lagares, and the Mets will make it a priority to bring him back. The limited playing time should allow the Mets to bring him back for less than the $3.3 million he makes now.

Wacha and Porcello are in the same boat, coming of poor 2019 seasons. Wacha should be able to make the same $3 million, should he serve as a viable fifth starter. For Porcello, he will not top $10 million unless he pitches at his Cy Young form again. But with Noah Syndergaard recovering from Tommy John Surgery, he becomes more enticing to the Mets.

Justin Wilson and Marcus Stroman are both coming off successful 2019 seasons. They will be a significant part of any success the Mets have during the 2020 campaign. They are similar in the fact that they would not be considered elite pitchers but are very serviceable players.

Wilson is a pitcher who can pitch late innings, and Stroman is an upper rotation starter. Wilson might have a chance to make above his $5 million with another strong season. Stroman is interesting due to the Mets trading two prospects for him and his readiness for a multi-year deal. If he does receive more money, it will be in the $13-$15 million range, especially if he excels as the number two during Syndergaard’s absence.

Injury Revival

Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes are two injury-prone players, heading in two different directions. Lowrie will be 37 in 2021, and there is no guarantee he ever plays another major league game. Even if he does, there is no chance he sees half of the $10 million the Mets gave him.

For Cespedes, this pandemic has been an insult to injury. His salary went down to $6 million after his ranch injury, and he will be making even less for the following season. The $6 million might be a little high for what he sees in 2021. Also, if he shows his brilliance, teams will be very wary about the injury history to his legs.

Brad Brach and Dellin Betances both have player options for 2021. Brach’s is for $1.25 million, which would be a raise from his $850K. Betances’s $6 million option is a decrease from $7.5 million. Currently, both of their option years are more than they can get on the market. We should see both of them back in Mets’ uniforms for 2021.

Wilson Ramos has a team option at $10 million, only $25K less than his 2020 salary. The Mets do not have any replacements in the organization, but they could make a run at J.T. Realmuto in free agency. Realmuto seems to be out of the Wilpon’s price range, which will likely level the Mets with Ramos in 2021.