Mets GM Sandy Alderson said at yesterday’s Yoenis Cespedes press conference that the significant signing illustrates that the team is working without payroll limitations, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes. Alderson was asked if it’s possible that he can retain his entire rotation for the long haul, and while the GM unsurprisingly didn’t want to commit to anything, he did note that the increased payroll flexibility creates the possibility for some long-term deals. “I don’t want to foreclose any possibility,” said Alderson. “…I think maybe if the Cespedes signing says anything, it’s that there are no possibilities that will be dismissed out of hand strictly for financial reasons.” Alderson said the team will get a better feel for any mutual interest in extensions over the next several weeks as Spring Training looms and eventually kicks off. Of the team’s excellent rotation core, Matt Harvey is the only one that has already reached arbitration eligibility, although as a Scott Boras client, he’s perhaps an unlikely candidate to sign long-term in the first place. Next winter will see Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler reach arbitration. (MLBTR’s Jeff Todd and I discussed extensions — and not just for the Mets’ rotation — at length on today’s MLBTR Podcast, for those interested in the matter.) Perhaps most notable of all of Alderson’s payroll comments, however, is the fact that he said he doesn’t anticipate returning to the club’s previous payroll levels even if Cespedes opts out after this season. New York’s payroll will be in the $140MM vicinity for the 2016 season.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Every contract the Nationals offered to a free agent this winter contained significant deferrals due to uncertainty over the team’s MASN television dispute, writes Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. The issue came to light most prominently after the team’s failed pursuit of Cespedes. While the Nats technically offered $110MM over five years, Svrluga spoke to sources on both sides of the negotiation who felt the Mets’ offer was clearly better. As he notes, there’s perhaps no need to look further than the first year of the deal; Cespedes landed a $10MM signing bonus and a $17.5MM salary for the 2016 season — $27.5MM up front, with the possibility to max out at $75MM over three years — but would’ve received just $7MM in 2016 with the Nationals’ offer, which contained a decade’s worth of deferrals. One person that spoke to Svrluga called the team’s $200MM offer to Jason Heyward “the most complicated deferral” that person has ever encountered, noting that it contained 16 years worth of deferred monies. Even the players they’ve managed to sign over the past two years — Max Scherzer and Daniel Murphy — come with notable deferrals. Svrluga points out that Scherzer will be owed $15MM in the first year after his deal ends, and while delaying that payment drives down the value of those funds, Svrluga is correct to note that said line item on the team’s budget could interfere with the Nats’ ability to add some secondary pieces six years down the line.
- The Marlins continue to search for veteran rotation options, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill has very little to work with remaining in the budget that was given to him by owner Jeffrey Loria, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Jackson notes many of the same names that he and Jon Heyman connected to the Marlins a couple of weeks ago: Kyle Lohse, Tim Lincecum, Alfredo Simon and Cliff Lee (though based on the picture Jackson painted in referencing the tight budget, Lee seems somewhat unlikely).