The Mets made a huge offer to one of baseball's most sought-after free agents, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto was lost, but not for money. One approach to capitalize on big-market status and owner Steve Cohen's huge finances is this.
The Mets and president of baseball operations David Stearns were also lauded Thursday for their clever move to acquire pitcher Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor from Milwaukee.
Houser will receive around $6 million in salary arbitration this year, less than half the cost other depth starters in free agency, including the Mets' $13 million pact with Luis Severino, and Taylor just under $2 million.
The Mets traded Coleman Crow, a minor league pitcher who was unprotected and passed over in the Rule 5 draft, for them. Crow was not selected despite being on the disabled list after Tommy John surgery.
Houser's lifetime ERA is 4.00 and FIP is 4.19. Definitely not an Opening Day starter. The Mets needed at least one Houser before spring training due to their frightening pitching shortage. The Mets acquired two valuable players from a struggling small-market team.
Diamond Sports Group, which owned 14 clubs' broadcast rights, went bankrupt, costing the Brewers income. Many clubs have tightened their belts due to predicted losses (though the Players Association says it's unnecessary).
Teams like the Brewers, Mariners, and Rays are slashing money for next season. Knowing that and knowing the guys from his Brewers tenure, Stearns executed a great baseball move.
The Mets watched one starting pitcher after another leave while waiting for Yamamoto to pick a team. Stearns has quietly assured people who ask that he will have enough pitching depth to have a competitive club in 2024. He wanted a deal like this instead of betting $45 million on Seth Lugo.
He also wants a right-handed, defensive outfielder like Michael A. Taylor. The newly acquired Taylor can play all three outfield positions effectively, reducing Stearns' pressure to overspend on a free agent (though Michael A. Taylor and others are still possible). With this transaction, the Mets improved their run prevention in two ways for just money. A large market team should do it.