By: Joe Messineo

Free Agent Pitching Deals Will Affect the Mets… Eventually


For Boston, the Price was right: they shelled out an MLB-record 7-year, $217 million deal in order to sign ace pitcher David Price. The Red Sox were willing to overpay because they believe that a veteran ace pitcher is just what their young, offense-heavy team needs. But in the process of overpaying, the Red Sox have raised prices for the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball. Along with Jordan Zimmermann’s $110 million deal with the Detroit Tigers, The Sox-Price deal has helped raise salary expectations for every pitcher left on the free agent market.

That’s a bummer for teams that are looking for aces, like the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs. But for the New York Mets, who have a ton of young stud pitchers under team control, the rising price of pitching is no problem at all. Right?

Well, not yet – but it will be.

Harvey is Getting a Raise – and His Teammates Will Get Theirs Soon

Mets ace Matt Harvey is still under team control, but he is eligible for salary arbitration this year. His pay will increase significantly, and he’s just the first of the Mets pitchers to hit that milestone. The impressive contributions that the Mets’ young pitchers are making, combined with the ever-increasing price of pitching performance, is going to make for some pretty player-friendly arbitration raises. Without signing a single player, the Mets are going to see their payroll going up, up, up the next few seasons.

Driving Off the Free Agency Cliff

The Mets and their fans have long been aware that, once their great young arms hit free agency, the Mets won’t be able to keep all of them. The combined market value of Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard (not to mention Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz) is simply too much for the Mets to handle. But the Mets certainly envisioned keeping a couple of them, and now even that seems like a pretty tall order. The price of pitching is inflating more and more every year, and it’s starting to look like even the peripheral Mets guys, like Wheeler or Matz, could someday command long-term mega-contracts. Jordan Zimmermann’s deal helps illustrate that even the price of number two and three guys in the rotation is getting awful high.

Valuable Trade Chips

The Mets can’t keep their young pitchers forever – so will they consider trading one of them soon?

It’s an idea that the Mets have been reluctant to discuss, but it’s one that could become more and more feasible as other teams become desperate to secure young pitchers under team control.

The Cubs, for instance, have had their eye on Zack Wheeler for a while now. He’s only going to look more appetizing now that they know that open-market equivalents are going to cost them tens of millions a year more. Wheeler is younger, less proven, and less dominant than some of the top free agent options, but he’s much, much cheaper.

So in a way, the Mets are already being affected by the high price of pitching. Whether they act on that now or wait until they’re hit with big payroll raises is up to GM Sandy Alderson and his team.

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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