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Edwin Díaz's contract done, Givens gone, & learning from Brandon Nimmo's free agency
Díaz can opt out of his new contract after the third year, with the Mets holding a club option for 2028
What’s Up with the Mets? ♨️
The Mets made their five-year, $102 million deal with RHP Edwin Díaz official on Wednesday - he has a player opt-out after year three and the Mets hold a club option for 2028 (Official Release)
The Mets claimed LHP Taylor Saucedo off waivers from the Blue Jays. Saucedo held left-handed hitters to a .182 average in 33 appearances for the Blue Jays over the last two seasons and recorded a 2.37 ERA and a 13.3 K/9 ratio in 20 games, striking out 28 in 19 innings with Triple-A Buffalo in 2022
The Mets declined their end of a mutual option on RHP Mychal Givens - he is now a free agent
Mets GM Billy Eppler said on Wednesday the Mets would be willing to move Starling Marte to center field if necessary, although they’ve made it clear to Scott Boras, the agent for Brandon Nimmo, they would like to bring Nimmo back
Boras told reporters on Wednesday the “majority” of teams have checked in on Nimmo
Francisco Álvarez could have an opportunity to crack the roster out of camp in 2023 with the Mets possibly carrying three catchers on the roster (SNY)
Learning a thing (or two) from Brandon Nimmo’s free agency 📝
This is unquestionably a pivotal winter for the Mets. 13 players from their active roster alone became free agents this week (one of which is already back, which is a good thing), they need to decide what to do with Carlos Carrasco’s $14 million player option in the next day (it’s a no brainer, if you ask me), and they have to figure out how to reconstruct their starting rotation and bullpen all while navigating a process that transitions their offense into a unit which is less stationary and more powerful in the process.
While Mets GM Billy Eppler has an abundance of financial resources at his disposal which in turn should allow this front office to both cast a wide net and be creative in the process, it’s not an enviable task to reconstruct a roster entirely through the external markets.
Over the last few days, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Mets could’ve avoided this situation, to an extent anyway. Here is the list of their free agents:
Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom, Edwin Díaz, Mychal Givens, Tommy Hunter, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Nimmo, Adam Ottavino, Joely Rodríguez, Taijuan Walker, Trevor Williams
The Mets did a fantastic job striking early with Edwin Díaz, giving him a deal which is favorable for both sides given the present day value of the money (much of it is reportedly deferred), the year-three opt-out and their own club option for 2028. He checks a huge box for their bullpen to say the least and will now be a staple and a marquee closer for them for at least seven full seasons (2019-2025).
But when I look at the list above, I can’t help but wonder why the Mets got to this position with Brandon Nimmo and allowed him to get to free agency, especially at a point when they knew they were heading into a lot of uncertainty this winter.
For a few years now, Nimmo has been that ideal, “extension candidate.” He was the first draft pick under Sandy Alderson’s watch back in 2011 and since his arrival in late 2016 he has emerged as an elite leadoff hitter while continuing to grow and improve into a top 1/3 outfielder. There’s no reason to get into the numbers - we all know how incredible Nimmo is at getting on-base, his knowledge of the strike zone and his overall plate discipline. And yes, he was the poster child of that original Sandy Alderson regime.
What’s perhaps the most impressive part about Nimmo’s growth is how he’s taken to center field over the last couple of years. The defensive metrics don’t really suggest how good of a year he had out there in 2022, a season which was rubber stamped when he robbed Justin Turner of a home run over the center field fence in early September.
If there’s anything to be critical of Nimmo for, it’s his arm, and it’s fair to argue that might not play very well as he gets older and his range and speed inevitably diminish. But even Mike Trout isn’t perfect (but yeah, he’s pretty close to being the perfect player).
So again, I continue to wonder why the Mets are in this position with Nimmo.
Perhaps the Mets can learn a lesson or two from this, however. They have two homegrown stars - one of which just won a batting crown and the other is arguably the second biggest power threat in the game today - who seem like ideal, “extension candidates” this winter.
Yes, I am referring to Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
Both players are entering their second arbitration years. Alonso in particular is entering big money territory, as he could earn upwards of $16-17 million with McNeil more in the $6-8 million range.
When the Mets reach that point in the baseball calendar, they will have likely performed the bulk of their heavy lifting in free agency and trades. They will have a pretty good idea of what their (big time) payroll will look like both this year and next (and perhaps the year after, too), whether Nimmo, Jacob deGrom or others are back with the club or not.
Why not take that opportunity to lock up a couple of homegrown stars for the foreseeable forever, and course correct a process which has escaped them far too often over the years? The Braves don’t seem to have a problem doing this, for what it’s worth.
Risk is a part of the game, of course.
Hot Stove 🔥
Scott Boras believes Michael Conforto can get a multi-year deal in free agency after missing the entire season due to a shoulder injury (New York Post)
The Braves traded RHP Jake Odorizzi to the Rangers for LHP Kolby Allard
The Rangers offered LHP Martin Pérez a two-year deal while still planning to extend him a qualifying offer (Rangers Today)
Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi said in Las Vegas on Wednesday there is no free agent that’s out of reach for them this winter (SF Chronicle)
There’s a, “good chance” the Dodgers will extend a qualifying offer to LHP Tyler Anderson (Heyman)
The Rays have waived RHP Nick Anderson - he can refuse an outright assignment to the minors and elect free agency (ESPN)