Former Mets’ target Jake Odorizzi agrees to deal with the Astros

New York Yankees, Jake Odorizzi

For much of the winter, while the New York Mets were looking at several options to fortify their starting rotation with the 2021 season in mind, they reportedly had a close look at free agent pitcher Jake Odorizzi, formerly on the Minnesota Twins.

Odorizzi had a very good 2019, in which he threw 159 innings in 30 starts and finished with a very good 3.51 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with a 178/53 K/BB ratio. However, injuries and ineffectiveness marred his 2020 campaign, as he could only throw 13 2/3 frames.

Yet, at the time the Mets were considering him as an option, he was reportedly asking for a three-year deal north of $40 million, and the team preferred to look elsewhere and ended up adding Carlos Carrasco and Joey Lucchesi via trade and Taijuan Walker, Jerad Eickhoff, and Jordan Yamamoto via free agency.

After a few weeks of waiting for the right deal, Odorizzi decided to join the 2017 World Champions Houston Astros on a two-year contract, according to what sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The money involved in the deal isn’t yet known.

The Mets wanted him a few weeks ago

Odorizzi would have been a fit with the Mets, especially because one of the men that helped him resurrect his career in Minnesota, Jeremy Hefner, is now the pitching coach in New York.

The 30-year-old right-hander was the last of the big free agents to sign, and he did it only a few days later than center fielder Jackie Bradley, coincidentally another target of the New York Mets throughout the offseason.

Odorizzi will help the Astros fill the void that the injured starter Framber Valdez (fractured finger) left just a couple of days ago. Naturally, it could take him a few days to catch up with his teammates and find rhythm on the mound, but he should be ready for the opening week of the MLB season.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: With DJ at $15M annually, now the Yankees go after some pitching

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

After a long wait, the New York Yankees have now completed their number one priority of re-signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu, the best hitter in baseball. Maybe now the Yankees can address their biggest need of the offseason the Yankees rotation and bullpen. The Yankees, according to owner Hal Steinbrenner wants to stay under the $210 million luxury threshold; in doing so, it will allow little wiggle room to address the other needs of the team, primarily pitching. The lower than expected cost to resign LeMahieu will definitely help. Here are some targets the New York Yankees could be interested in.

Jake Odorizzi age 30:*

Jake Odorizzi would likely be the most expensive addition to the New York Yankee’s rotation. It is not likely that he would accept a one year contract for less than $15 million. Obviously, he would make a fine second behind ace Gerrit Cole in an otherwise untested bunch of young arms. The question remains if the Yankees will be able or willing to spend to get him in pinstripes. With the Yankees signing LeMahieu for just $15 million annually is now a target the Yankees should consider.  Odorizzi last season, like many pitchers, had a poor season but has tremendous potential.

Masahiro Tanaka age 32:

According to WAR, Tanaka is the second-best pitcher still left in free agency after Odorizzi. The Yankees know Tanaka is not affected by the big stage that is Yankee Stadium after just fulfilling a seven-year contract with the team. Tanaka made $23 million with the Yankees in 2020. They will not sign him for anything near that figure. He has not been as dependable for the last two years and was atrocious this past postseason. In two games, he posted an astronomical ERA of 12.37. Tanaka may have played his last season in pinstripes.

Adam Wainwright, age 39:

Wainright is now 39 years old. The fifteen-year pitching veteran would like to resign with the Cardinals, but that doesn’t seem likely after them not making him a qualifying offer. For obvious reasons, Wainwright will be open to signing a one-year deal, which could make sense for the Yankees. Wainwright would likely cost the Yankees in the $10 million range. Last season he was 5-3 with an ERA of 3.15 in ten games.

Corey Kluber age 34:*

Kluber was an ace-type pitcher in 2018, and if healthy, he could return to that pitcher again. Corey Kluber barely pitched at all in his one season with the Texas Rangers because of shoulder problems. The year before, he broke his forearm and only pitched 35 innings for the Cleveland Indians. But the year before that, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Because of his injuries, his value will be reduced by at least half, meaning the Yankees, if willing to take the risk, would likely get him for $6-10 million on a one-year contract. If healthy, it could be a huge upgrade from Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees are also considering. It’s low risk with possible high reward.

Tyler Chatwood, age 31:

Tyler Chatwood would be costly to the Yankees but could be gotten far cheaper than in 2019. Chatwood, like many pitchers, didn’t have a good year last season for the Chicago Cubs. He went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA, which will significantly drag down his $13 million in earnings for 2020.

Chatwood has always had tremendous potential that has never been fully realized. He is known as the spin rate king. If Yankee pitching coach and harness that, he could be the one to turn Chatwood into a star. If the Yankees can get him for $5-6 million on a one year deal, it could have big-time rewards for the Yankees.

Yankees need bullpen help.

Brad Hand age 30:*

Brad Hand is probably out of the reach of the Yankee’s financial ability, although he is one of the top relievers in baseball. He would be a good replacement for Tommy Kahnle that went for a two year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hand last year was 2-1 with an ERA of just 2.05, finishing 21 games for the Indians. Getting DJ LeMahieu cheaper than expected could keep Hand in the running.

Archie Bradley, age 28:

Bradley had an impressive year that wasn’t kind to relievers; he pitched in 16 games, going 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA. Like so many players, he was not given an offer by the Cincinnati Reds. Bradley is desirable as he throws a mix of pitches: A four-seamer and sinker both in the mid-’90s and a wicked knuckle curveball. He also has a changeup. He is a groundball pitcher, which makes him a good fit for Yankee Stadium.

Mark Melancon, age 35:

Melancon is a twelve-year veteran that pitched for the New York Yankees between 2009 and 2010. Melancon has had a very successful pitching career after leaving the Yankees, and he is pitching as well now as he ever has. We know the bright lights of Yankee Stadium don’t affect him. Last season with the Atlanta Braves, he was 2-1 in 23 games with an ERA of just 2.78. Compare that to Aroldis Chapman’s 3.09.

Aaron Loup age 33:*

Aaron Loup’s addition would give the Yankees a lefty reliever that they have been missing for years. It would provide an entirely different look in the mid-innings bullpen. With Blake Snell and Charlie Morton out of the Tampa Bay picture, why not capitalize by snatching Loup from re-signing with the Rays. After a regressive tenure in Toronto, Loup found his best stuff with the Rays in ’20, posting a 2.52 ERA in 25 innings. He’s yet to allow a postseason run in five appearances. He also wouldn’t break the Yankees bank either. Loup could cost the Yankees less than a million dollars on a one year contract.

*my picks for the Yankees.

New York Yankees Weekend News Roundup: All the news/rumors in one place

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Yankees in danger of losing DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have dragged their feet in signing DJ LeMahieu, their best player in the past two years. It’s now the middle of January in a very slow, to say the least, offseason for the Yankees where they have done little to enhance the team, and that includes bringing back DJ in pinstripes.

News around the Net and industry sources say that DJ is getting tired of waiting for the Yankees to meet his demands. Sources say that he made it known that he wants to stay in New York after originally talking with other teams. But with the stalemate, he is now re-engaging teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, and the Toronto Blue Jays. With each passing day, the Yankees are coming closer to losing LeMahieu to one of those teams willing to meet his prime priority of future security.

Yankees bring back another familiar arm.

The Yankees seem intent on stocking their minor league system with pitchers that have pitched for the Yankees before. First Nestor Cortes Jr., then Adam Warren, and now they have signed to a minor league contract, Tyler Lyons. Lyons. This is a head-scratcher. Lyons pitched in one game for the Yankees during 2020. On September 23rd, he pitched 1.2 innings giving up four earned runs for an ERA of 21.60, in a 14-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

During the second half of the 2019 season, Lyons pitched 8.2 innings in 11 games with a 0-1 record and an ERA of 4.15. Of the three notable arms the Yankees could use in the bullpen, Lyons has been the least successful. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees still need a quality arm to replace Tommy Kahnle, who has gone with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The New York Yankees still need bullpen help.

The Yankees lost Tommy Kahnle last season when he required Tommy John surgery. The Yankees chose to assign him to the minor leagues, and Kahnle refused the move and chose free agency instead and was near immediately signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Behind closer Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, Kahnle was likely their third-best arm in the bullpen. That is a glaring hole in the bullpen, considering that Adam Ottavino has had two subpar seasons in a row.

The Yankees once had the best bullpen in the sport, but with these deficiencies, the bullpen is now in dire need of at least one premium upgrade. So far, all they have done is sign previous Yankees that have not done all that well at the Stadium. The Yankees need an arm with the quality of Liam Hendriks, Yates, or Hand. A previous target Ryan Stanek has gone to the Houston Astros. Because of cost, the Yankees will not likely sign Hendriks, but Brad Hand is a quality arm at a more economical price. Hand had a 2.05 ERA in 2020 with a strikeout rate approaching 12 per nine innings.

Padres/Mets still the teams to watch in 2021

While the New York Yankees have done nearly nothing to improve the team in 2021, the San Diego Padres have been the big movers and shakers along with New York Mets. The Padres made a big trade when they got Black Snell from The Tampa Bay Rays. They then negotiated a trade for another ace, Yu Darvish from the Cubs. But they weren’t done; they are now close to re-signing Fernando Tatis Jr. to a massive $300 million contract for the next 11 years.

Meanwhile, on the other side of New York in Queens, the New York Mets shook up the New York sports scene when they traded for the best shortstop in baseball in Franciso Lindor. Suppose that wasn’t one of the most notable trades of the offseason they also got Carlos Carrasco in the deal. Carrasco is a quality number two type pitcher that the Yankees certainly could have used. New Mets owner Steve Cohen has made it known that he wants to make the Mets the premier baseball team in New York City.

New York Yankees lose more chances to upgrade starting pitching

With each passing day, the Yankees need to upgrade their starting rotation remains the same. Earlier, they lost their best chance to upgrade the rotation with a one-year signing of Charlie Morton. Morton was available, but the Atlanta Braves scooped him up for just $15 million. The Yankees have also talked about re-signing Mashiro Tanaka, but his agent has been advised that they will not negotiate until they know if they can sign DJ LeMahieu.

Trevor Bauer is the best starting pitcher still available in free agency, but the Yankees are likely not in the picture to sign him as they want to stay under the luxury tas threshold. Mike Minor has already signed with the Kansas City Royals. That leaves Jake Odorizzi and Tanaka as the next best two arms the Yankees could use. Odorizzi had a great 2019 but an injury-riddled 2020. He made $17 million last year, but with his poor 2020, he will likely sign a contract of less value. The same is true of Tanaka; he made $23 million. The Yankees are not likely to offer him more than half of that and only for a year or two.

 

 

 

Mets’ target Jake Odorizzi wants three-year deal worth between $36 million and $42 million

New York Yankees, Jake Odorizzi

The New York Mets have some funds to invest in the team, the willingness to do it, and a group of free agents that may fit in their roster. They have the perfect opportunity and timing to inject more talented to an already skilled group.

The Mets are said to be in on center fielder George Springer, and they have already added reliever Trevor May and catcher James McCann. However, their starting pitching is still in need of one or two additions if they want to compete for a playoff spot and more.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, he heard from a team in contact with Jake Odorizzi that the free agent starter “expects to land a three-year contract in the $36 million to $42 million range.”

Odorizzi is a realistic target for the Mets, especially if they sign Springer and don’t want to splurge on Bauer. He has worked with current Mets’ pitching coach Jeremy Hefner back when they both were with the Minnesota Twins, and he knows May, too.

If Rosenthal’s report is true, it seems a tad high for a guy who was injured for most of the 2020 season and didn’t pitch all that well when he was healthy (6.59 ERA and a 6.12 FIP in 13.2 frames.) However, there is a lot of talent in Odorizzi’s right arm.

Odorizzi would improve the Mets rotation

The 30-year-old hurler has a career 3.92 ERA and a 4.12 FIP in 1,042.1 innings. He was particularly effective in 2019, with a 3.51 ERA and a 3.36 FIP in 159 frames, with a 10.08 K/9.

Another sign that the Mets could make a run at Odorizzi is that he isn’t tied to draft pick compensation, having accepted the Twins’ qualifying offer last season.

However, the Mets have competition. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Red Sox are among the teams showing serious interest in the 30-year-old right-hander.

The Mets could slot Odorizzi behind Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard, when he’s healthy, and ahead of David Peterson. He would be a very good fourth starter in a contender.

Yankees News/Rumors: A perfect backup plan if the Yanks lose DJ LeMahieu

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees are coming increasingly closer to losing star infielder DJ LeMahieu to an alternative club. There are three teams that have entered the picture for his services, including the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and LA Dodgers. All three, especially the Blue Jays, are serious about potentially acquiring LeMahieu and his offensive capabilities. However, the Dodgers are even viewing him as a potential solution at third base, despite minimal reps in the past at the position.

General manager Brian Cashman has to be gearing up for the possibility of supplementing DJs loss, despite his desire to stay in pinstripes. Reports have indicated that he and the team are about $25 million away from finding a compromise, but Cashman has strict orders not to overspend on free agents this year.

The Yankees are essentially hoping that other teams don’t outbid them for his services, so they can lower his price tag. It is a risky move for Cashman, but they won’t overspend for a player who will be 37 at the end of his desired contract.

Here’s how the New York Yankees could perfectly reallocate his money:

Don’t expect any big-name free agent signings, but there are a few players that could immediately help their cause and upgrade several spots.

1.) SS: Didi Gregorius

Reuniting with Didi Gregorius would be a great idea for the Yankees, considering he is 30 years old and had one of his best seasons ever in 2020. Despite a smaller sample size over 60 games, Gregorius hit .284 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs, collecting a career-low 11.8% strikeout rate and career-high .339 on-base percentage.

Once again, Gregorius was a consistent defender, and signing him to deal would allow the Yankees to move Gleyber Torres back to second base, where LeMahieu is currently expected to play. It would be an efficient move, solidifying the infield’s defense and injecting a known commodity back into the batting order. In addition, he’s a lefty hitter, adding a bit of diversity to a Yankee team that is heavily right-handed.

2.) SP: Jake Odorizzi

Odorizzi has a projected market value of about $14 million per season, far less than Masahiro Tanaka was making in 2020. He’s a quality pitcher at 30 years old but had a down 2020 season that could allow the Yankees to acquire him on a cheaper deal. In 2019, Jake finished with a 3.51 ERA, earning a 35% ground ball rate and 10.08 strikeouts per nine. He pitched 159 total innings, winning 15 games.

Odorizzi’s primary pitches are his fastball, slider, and change-up. His fastball averages out at about 93 mph, but he has very solid curve-oriented pitches. His pitch diversity makes him a solid starter with potential, and the Yankees might be willing to take a flyer on him to supplement some of their losses in the starting rotation.

New York Mets: Latest Report on Trevor Bauer May Change Their Plans

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

According to Jon Heyman, Trevor Bauer is looking for a boatload of money from whichever team signs him. The 2020 Cy Young award winner wants a five to a six-year deal with a $36M to $40M annual average value. The outrageous asking price should make the New York Mets reconsider their plans on rebuilding their starting rotation.

Bauer immediately quoted the tweet to say this was false information. This is more like damage control because the asking price would set a record and is getting clowned on for being way too much. Bauer deserves a large deal but does not deserve any record-setting offers. J.D. Martinez had a similar strategy during his time on the free-agent market

Move Forward Without Him

Steve Cohen has endless money to spend but signing Bauer to those terms is “spending like a drunken sailor.” Bauer is setting the bar high to make sure he gets overpaid by the time he officially signs a deal. This is a risky move because most owners are tight on money and could drastically hurt his deal. If Bauer’s price comes back down to the $25M-$30M range, signing him becomes a little more realistic.

Signing any combination of Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka, or Tomoyuki Sugano would be a better way to spend the funds. Their production would equal or better Bauer’s over the course of a full season. All three pitchers would not be a significant downgrade either. Odorizzi and Tanaka are recent All-Stars, while Sugano is a two-time Sawamura Award (Japan’s Cy Young award) winner.

Bauer should remain the top pitching priority for the Mets at the moment. Bauer and Rachel Luba’s conversation are the factors in swaying the Mets vision, not a Jon Heyman tweet. If the conversations justify the tweet, the Mets cannot be afraid to let Bauer know they will look for starting pitching elsewhere.

Yankees Free Agent Targets: Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer to solve pitching problems?

New York Yankees, Jake Odorizzi

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has worked tirelessly to find a compromise with DJ LeMahieu on his future extension, and while the negotiations have carried into the hot stove months, their attention hasn’t waivered. However, with the extension taking a bit longer than expected, LeMahieu’s representatives have begun listening to other offers, notably from the Toronto Blue Jays, who are aggressively pursuing the star infielder.

The Yankees have the leverage, as they wait for other teams to offer LeMahieu’s value, which could end up working in Cashman’s favor. Ideally, alternative teams fail to offer more than the Bombers, which would force DJ’s reps to settle for the best offer, which seems to have in the four-year range at $25 million per season.

Aside from LeMahieu’s contract, the Yankees are still looking to add starting pitching and potentially a relief pitcher, as well. There are several options on the market at both positions that could intrigue Cashman, who’s looking to stay beneath the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Masahiro Tanaka departing, the Yankees have about $52 million opening up, but ownership prefers to keep the spending to a minimum, at least until DJ’s situation is figured out.

Two free agents the New York Yankees should consider:

Jake Odorizzi:

With the Yankees needing starting pitching, Jake Odorizzi represents a solid option they could take a flyer on in free agency. While he only pitched in 13.2 innings this past year with the Minnesota Twins, he had a solid 2019 campaign, earning a 3.51 ERA with 10.08 strikeouts per nine.

The only downside regarding Odorizzi is his ground-ball rate, which hovers in the 33% range. At Yankee Stadium, pitchers who produce high ground-ball rates are usually preferred, but he does have a stellar range of pitches.

Odorizzi features a fastball, slider, cutter, curveball, and changeup. His primary pitchers are his fastball, cutter, and slider, but he likes to utilize a variety to keep hitters on their toes.

He would likely be a cheaper option for the Yankees, and at 30 years old, he still has plenty of juice left in his arm.

Chris Archer:

After failing to land a tendered contract by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chris Archer hit free agency with plenty of interest. He last pitched in 2019, finishing with a 5.19 ERA, but has had more successful seasons in the past.

Archer has solid strikeout numbers and doesn’t walk too many batters, but does give up more hits than you would prefer. He also allowed 25 homers in 2019 over 119.2 innings. He is a low-cost option the Yankees could look at to provide depth in the rotation, especially with some higher-priced options struggling in 2020 and injuries plagued the unit all season long.

 

New York Mets: Best Starting Pitching Options On The Free Agent Market

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Mets still have a big need to fill in their starting rotation. Trevor Bauer immediately sticks out as the top option still on the market, but what does plan B look like for the Mets? Or who else do they bring along if they sign Bauer? Either way, there is still plenty of talent for Jared Porter to swoop up.

1. Trevor Bauer 

It is no surprise that Trevor Bauer is at the top of the list after his magical Cy Young award-winning season. Bauer led the league in ERA (1.70), shutouts (2), and had 100 strikeouts. The number of years for Bauer’s deal fluctuates from one all the way through five, and he will definitely be expensive. The biggest question concerning his on-field performance is whether his spin rate and dominance are sustainable pitching in a full season.

The other huge question comes with Bauer’s off the field personality. Bauer is active on social media, YouTube, and loves making a big statement. Whether you agree or disagree with what he says and does, overlooked news in Ohio is on the back pages in New York. If the on-field performance is successful, Bauer will thrive in the league’s biggest market. Should he struggle, the media and the fans will do everything in their power to get under his skin.

2. Jake Odorizzi

Do not write off Jake Odorizzi as a bad option in the Mets rotation. His career ERA (3.88) was better than Bauer’s (4.04) before the 2020 season started. Unfortunately, an injury-plagued season caused him to finish with a 6.59 ERA in four starts. Odorizzi was an All-Star in 2019 and is one year older than Bauer.

Odorizzi is a significantly cheaper option for the Mets and will likely sign for 2-3 years. He averaged 30 starts a year from 2014-2019 with the production of a good rotation option. Odorizzi is not an ace, but he would fit in as a good third starter behind Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.

3. Masahiro Tanaka

Much like Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka has been one of the most consistent starters in baseball since his 2020 debut. Tanaka has a 3.74 career ERA, 3.33 ERA in the postseason, and two All-Star appearances on his resume. The biggest concern is his partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow. Like Seth Lugo, Tanaka has opted to pitch through it instead of undergoing Tommy John Surgery.

Tanaka would alleviate the heavy stress load at the back of the Mets rotation. He was a front line starter for most of his New York Yankees tenure. Tanaka could remain part of a six-man rotation when Noah Syndergaard returns; if the Mets sign Odorizzi with him. He could also fill the role starters like Julio Urias, and Nathan Eovaldi did in the bullpen during the postseason.

4. Alex Wood

Alex Wood falls into the category of a lower tier of a starter who is a crapshoot. These types of pitchers have past big league success but struggled over the last season or two. Wood is a prime example of that a “roll of the dice” move. Wood will be 30 on opening day and has a 3.45 career ERA in 138 career starts. Injuries and lack of a rotation spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers hurt his last two seasons. Before 2019, Wood had a 3.29 ERA, putting him as a reliable starting pitcher.

Wood has plenty of familiarity with pitching in big games after spending most of his career with the Braves and Dodgers. He would be a good option to sign along with Trevor Bauer to give the Mets five capable starters. Wood also has experience in the bullpen, which translates well to the postseason.

5. Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana is another pitcher who fell on hard times over the last two seasons but still is a decent arm. A thumb injury and lat strain limited him to 10 innings in 2020 after being known for durability throughout his career. After making 25 starts in his 2012 rookie season, Quintana rattled off seven consecutive 31+ start seasons.

Quintana has a 3.73 career ERA and is the type of pitcher who can maintain success as he gets older. He is a contact pitcher, known for his ability to generate soft contact. Quintana is a quality option to supplement a strong rotation and would benefit from working under pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.

New York Mets: Are Jake Odorizzi and Trevor Bauer on the Same Level?

New York Yankees, Jake Odorizzi

Baseball is always a sport dependent on recent results when it comes to free agency. The New York Mets have a clear need for starting pitching, and Trevor Bauer looks like the golden child to fill that void. Is Trevor Bauer the end all be all of starting pitchers? The Mets might be able to get a steal of similar talent in Jake Odorizzi.

Context is always key, which puts this comparison into a different light in 2020. If we had this conversation after the 2019 season, the All-Star Odorizzi might be seen as the better pitcher. 2020 completely changed the narrative as Odorizzi struggled with injuries and had an ERA over six while Bauer was the complete opposite, winning the Cy Young award.

Similar Pitchers

Odorizzi is a year older than Bauer, made 192 career starts, thrown 1,042.1 innings, has a 1.24 WHIP, and a 3.92 ERA in nine seasons. Bauer has made 195 starts, thrown 1,190 innings, has a 1.27 WHIP and a 3.90 ERA in nine seasons. The statistical differences come in K/9 and FIP, where Bauer has him beat 9.7 to 8.6 and 3.85 to 4.12.

The drastic difference comes with spin rate. After being in the lackluster category in 2019, Bauer was best at spinning the baseball in 2020. His fastball was at the top of baseball while his curveball was in the top eight percent. Whether or not the substance Bauer uses is legal is a separate question, but it puts him at a distinct advantage. Odorizzi is a below-average spin rate pitcher, even during his best strikeout year in 2019.

Bauer is Good, But is He Great?

There is no denying Bauer’s tremendous 2020 Cy Young award-winning season, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. Every regular-season game Bauer pitched was against a central division team. Every AL and NL central team that made the playoffs were eliminated in the first round. The central also produced two of the three worst records in baseball: the Pittsburgh Pirates (19-41) and the Detroit Tigers (23-35). Bauer got the opportunity to make four starts against those teams and three more against the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers, who also finished under .500.

The counter-argument is the dominance Bauer had in his one start against the Atlanta Braves in the postseason. That argument only carries weight if you think his sub-two ERA is sustainable in a full season. The real question is whether he is a Jacob deGrom caliber or Marcus Stroman caliber. Both are excellent pitchers, but one is an ace on all 30 teams, while Stroman is an ace for a third of that. If the analytics department feels Bauer’s production is in Stroman’s category, the Mets can easily bring in Odorizzi to fill their rotation.

Odorizzi is no slouch as a pitcher either. He averaged 30 starts, 165 innings, and a 3.88 ERA from 2014-2019. He never reached the “ace” category at any point but has been a quality mid-rotation starting pitcher for the last half-decade. The Mets currently have a good top of their rotation; they have to round out the back end. While the ceiling is lower with Odorizzi, the Mets would play less of a guessing game with his production.

What Do The Mets Do?

None of this is to say that Bauer will not be a good pitcher wherever he signs. There has to be some consideration on whether Bauer is worth a superior deal to what Odorizzi signs. Bauer deserves and will get a larger contract than Odorizzi. The key question is whether the difference in contract size should be equivalent to the difference between James McCann’s deal and the one J.T. Realmuto will sign?

If the contract difference between both pitchers is too much, the Mets may reconsider Bauer. This might be the current situation, which is why the Mets have shifted focus to George Springer. If the Mets feel the value of Springer and Bauer’s could equal Springer, Odorizzi, and Masahiro Tanaka, there has to be real consideration there. It is not about saving money to pay players less. It is about taking that extra money to sign a player, which may have been out of reach in a different situation.

The Mets have plenty of money to spend, but it will always be how wise, not how much, they spend it at the end of the day. If they go over the luxury tax, they barely want to cross over it, not obliterate it as some fans dream about.

New York Mets Opinion: Offseason Free Agent Targets Going Forward

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

The New York Mets have a good start to their offseason, but as always, fans want more. They secured Trevor May and James McCann and found themselves a highly regarded general manager in Jared Porter. With plenty of big names still on the market, where should the Mets look next?

1. George Springer

Obviously, the top spot is between George Springer and Trevor Bauer, but Springer is needed more. Partnering Springer along with Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis gives the Mets lineup a perfect balance from both sides of the plate. Both of them will complement the outstanding left-handed power very well, and Springer is a proven clutch hitter. His versatility to hit in the top and middle of the lineup provides plenty of options for manager Luis Rojas.

The Mets also need a center fielder who is capable defensively. Springer is, at worst, is average defensively in center field. It will be a major upgrade from Brandon Nimmo‘s defense. Signing Springer would create a log jam in the outfield, but only if there is no designated hitter. If there is no DH, it makes Nimmo the odd-man-out between Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith

2. Trevor Bauer

Much like J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Bauer is likely to drag out the offseason to get the perfect deal. He will likely be as expensive but differ in the number of years needed. Bauer’s biggest question is whether he is the Cy Young caliber pitcher from 2020 or the career 3.90 ERA pitcher. Any team would be happy to have either in their rotation, but each commands different contracts.

Put all the social media and on-field antics to the side, and the Mets need Bauer. His demeanor and hard-working personality are shown in an unorthodox way, but Bauer’s focus is on success. Bauer’s 4.55 ERA in his worst full season would have made him the third-best starter in the 2020 Mets rotation. The biggest question is if he wants to be a number second fiddle behind Jacob deGrom?

3. D.J. LeMahieu

D.J. LeMahieu is the signing that would open up trade options for the Mets. It would guarantee Jeff McNeil as the every day second baseman and leave Davis without a spot. The Mets could stock their depth or deal Davis, Amed Rosario, and a mid-level prospect for Francisco Lindor. With Andres Gimenez almost big league ready, they may not want to waste three players on a one-year rental.

This is not overlooking what LeMahieu brings to the Mets. He is a gold glove caliber defender at second and third base. LeMahieu has a rare combination of contact, power, and clutch hitting; the latter is what the Mets lacked throughout 2020. He will be 32 on Opening Day, and signing him may force the Mets to keep him through his age-37 season. As they look to go younger, LeMahieu’s length request may be a deal-breaker.

4. Liam Hendriks

Just the fact the Mets can be in on every free agent on the market is a luxury on its own. Signing Liam Hendriks gives the Mets the best bullpen in baseball. It potentially eliminates the typical closer role but in a good way. By no means is this a shot at Edwin Diaz; it allows the Mets to use their bullpen similarly to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Seth Lugo and Trevor May would join Diaz and Hendriks at the high-leverage relievers. If healthy, Dellin Betances potentially fits into the same category. Instead of putting relievers in situations where they pitch in back-to-back days or four times in a week, they can pick and choose easier. With four, potentially five dominant relievers in the bullpen, they can have the firepower to end games after five innings.

5. Jake Odorizzi

What if I told you Jake Odorizzi might be just as good as Trevor Bauer? Odorizzi has made 192 starts, thrown 1042.1 innings, has a 1.24 WHIP and a 3.92 ERA in nine seasons. Bauer has made 195 starts, thrown 1190 innings, has a 1.27 WHIP and a 3.90 ERA in nine seasons. The biggest difference? One is coming off an injury-plagued season, while one is coming off a dominant Cy Young award-winning season.

If both were free agents last offseason, Odorizzi would have the upper hand. Unfortunately for Odorizzi, baseball has a major recency bias. The Mets need a reliable starter to round out their rotation, and missing out on Bauer does not stop them from doing so. Odorizzi likely will not have the Cy Young outburst like Bauer but is a quality, mid-rotation starter. If the Mets pass on Bauer, combining Odorizzi with someone like Masahiro Tanaka gives the Mets a strong rotation. They will have Noah Syndergaard returning by mid-season and potentially allows them to sign at least one of the other three names above.