With Mets in on Trevor Bauer, are they 'sending mixed signals' on spending this offseason?
Trevor Bauer dealt with art
If the Mets are serious about trying to sign Trevor Bauer, they'll be breaking the luxury tax line, which leaves you wondering if that's not, at least in part, a response to the neglect of negotiations with George Springer.
All had baseball folks speculating on Monday as to why the obvious change in direction.
"You didn't hear this from anyone until Springer signed with Toronto," said one person close to the situation. "Something has changed."
It could be that the Mets were simply determined to let the knight situation play out first, but they were clearly unwilling to do anything for him after the deal with Francisco Lindor, all indications being their desire, among the 210 million Dollars to stay income tax threshold.
So is it possible that after Springer's signing, owner Steve Cohen took the temperature of the Met fandom, so to speak, and decided to make sure this off-season lived up to the expectations associated with his deep pockets?
The announcement of interest in Bauer changes the conversation after missing not only Springer but also some minor weekend activities, such as Brad Hand signing with the Nationals while Kike Hernandez and Garrett Richards settled on the Red Sox.
We'll know soon enough. SNY's Andy Martino reported that the Mets would consider signing Bauer on a short-term contract in the range of $ 30 million a year, and then the question is, how short?
"If you're talking about a one-year contract, it'll take more than $ 30 million," a rival team manager told me. "Probably closer to $ 40 million because he's going to want the highest AAV, and right now that (Gerrit) Cole is at $ 36 million (a year).
"You never know with Bauer, but I still think he's going to get the biggest deal he can find because he'll never have that leverage again. When the AAV is $ 30 million, I can't see that it takes less than five years. "
That would add up to $ 150 million, or the total cash that the Blue Jays Springers paid. Would the Mets go there for Bauer?
Adding the reigning NL Cy Young winner would of course increase their chances of winning a championship. If you put Bauer behind Jacob deGrom and in front of Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson, and Noah Syndergaard could return from surgery on Tommy John in June, that could be the best starting rotation in baseball.
That would also ensure Seth Lugo is a reliever again, a move that would make the Mets bullpen a strength as well, especially considering they only lost the hand.
Bauer's signing would come with some controversy, however, especially after recent revelations that Bauer had molested a college student on Twitter in the past, and that might be enough to make the Mets wary, especially after GM Jared Porter for inappropriateness SMS to a reporter was fired.
Perhaps it all depends on whether Cohen thinks he needs a bigger step to officially make his first off-season home run.
As it is, the Mets have upgraded enough in key places to close the gap to the Braves in the NL-East and to prove themselves to be serious postseason competitors.
But they also left a glaring hole in midfield as the Boy Scouts agree that Brandon Nimmo is subpar at this position.
Springer was simply the perfect choice in many ways, as a right-hander to level the left-leaning line-up, as well as a tried and tested clutch racket that would protect against further mistakes that plagued the Mets offensive in 2020.
By passing it on to him, Sandy Alderson seemed determined to spend his remaining money on smaller pieces to round out the ball club, but over the weekend they also lost Hernandez as a potential midfield solution and then wouldn't overpay for Hand, the left helper the they wanted.
And here the Mets seem to be "sending mixed signals", as one scout said.
The Scout was primarily referring to Hand's decision to sign a $ 10.5 million one-year deal with the Nats, and apparently picked it because he wanted to be clearer.
"So offer him a two-year contract and you get it," said the scout, who has worked with Alderson in the past. "But here, Sandy's discipline in making value decisions won't allow him to overpay.
"That discipline is part of what makes him a great leader, but part of the benefit of having a deep pocket owner is that you have the opportunity to go the extra mile for a man you really like."
Now Alderson may have to make a similar judgment on the worth of Jackie Bradley Jr., the best center fielder out there. How much is too much to get his stellar defense when he probably doesn't hit much and adds another left bat to the line-up?
The bottom line was that Springer was the guy if the Mets were going to overpay for anyone. If they didn't, it seemed to send the signal that Cohen would only go that far as a billionaire owner in the first off season.
Then the farmer conversation began. Something has changed. It's just hard to know exactly why.
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New York Mets
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