Mets fans dreamed big when Steve Cohen took over their team. Why not?
No one wins the lottery and imagines upgrading from one bedroom to two. They see the mansion or penthouse. And for believers, it certainly felt like winning the lottery when Cohen’s wallet pushed Wilpons out.
He demonstrated the power of deep pockets, especially in this environment without consumption, when the Mets traded for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Most teams just tried Lindor because it meant adding $ 20 million to this year’s payroll and at least deciding what it would cost in the long run to keep the star shortstop beyond 2021. Most clubs were out on just Carlos Carrasco, because the two years and $ 27 million still owed were more than he probably would have received if he had been a free agent and cost no player returns.
Mets achieved them both ̵
Corey Kluber has a workout scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Cressey Sports Performance in Palm Beach Garden, Fla. About 20 teams, including the Mets, are expected to have a representative present to watch the two-time Cy Young winner throw a 30-pitch bullpen. Cameras are trained at Kluber, and so do the most modern machines for determining the spin speed and movement of his seats.
Teams will search the data and what the right wing looked like with the naked eye to determine how much Corey Clubs are left in Corey Clubs. Of course, this is only a snapshot. Clubs have made just eight starts in the last two years as he has been enchanted by the freak (a broken right arm via absorbing a line drive) and the worrying one (stomach and shoulder disorders). When he turned 35 in April, the Club’s chances of returning to even 80 or 90 percent of his dominant form for 2014-18 are what? Ten percent? Thieves? Thirty? It is not good.
But what if the Mets like what they see? What if they like what they see at a time when few other clubs want to take on salaries, even on safer things? What if they like what they see and have Cohen’s wallet as a separator? After all, these are not Jeff Wilpon’s father’s Mets anymore.
Rich Hill, a quality but harmful pitcher, signed with the Twins last offseason for $ 3 million with $ 9.5 million in incentives based on innings and starts. Assume that Clubs will fall into the same realm – a low base with a chance to do significantly more with healthy pitching. How many teams in this squeeze-your-dollars atmosphere would even offer the Kluber the Hill deal?
For Cohen, therefore, differentiating the Mets may be about offering a base of $ 5 million or $ 6 million. Marginal money to him. What if the Mets offered $ 5 million with a chance to earn $ 13 million if Clubs fully returned to being Clubs – for example, 200 innings? It would copy the $ 18 million 2021 option that Rangers refused to make Clubs a free agent.
Again, Kluber is a long shot to ever be that guy again. But if he is, he’s worth $ 18 million. And the Mets are suddenly the kind of franchise that could possibly risk $ 5 million dollars to see if Clubs are still lurking.
For at best, Kluber behind Stetson alum Jacob deGrom is installed in rotation and moves Carrasco and Marcus Stroman down to without a doubt the best No. 3-4 combo in majors, with David Peterson protected in fifth place and Seth Lugo and Steven Matz in pen. to provide innings.
In a medium scenario, Kluber enters the rotation and holds up long enough to form a 2021 tag team with Noah Syndergaard, who is due back around June after the Tommy John operation.
In the worst case scenario, Kluber never looks anything like his old self. In which case the Mets’ rotation is deGrom, Carrasco, Stroman, Peterson and either Matz or Lugo with Syndergaard percolating. It costs the Mets $ 5 million, but they are out of contract after the 2021 campaign.
There are obviously a lot of moving parts here. Clubs need to look good on Wednesday, Mets need to be interested, Clubs need to play for them and the sides agree that bells and whistles are contracting.
But this should be taken as an indicator of what the Mets can do now. The arrival of Cohen gives their fans the opportunity to dream of mansions and penthouses in connection with the purchase of players. Welcome Lindor / Carrasco. It also puts them in a better position to be brave on the other side of the market in trying to find differentiators.