The Mets current payroll already sits at about $185MM, but owner Steve Cohen would still rather add through free agency than deplete an already thin farm system by trading away prospects, per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News. Cohen’s comments were pretty telling as he introduced new GM Billy Eppler. Said Cohen, “We don’t really have a lot in our farm system to supplement what we need. It’s going to require spending. That’s what’s going to happen. I’ve let Billy know that I’m willing — for the right deals and right free agents — to go get the players we need. We want to be competitive.”
The Mets’ strategy appears to be to let walk the free agents who can net them draft picks (like Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto), while dipping back into free agency to replace their on-field production. That’s a sound team-building strategy, so long as the Mets are able to find the right free agents to round out the roster. From a forward-looking perspective, the added draft picks will certainly help in building a sustainable development engine, which should be the goal of every franchise. Elsewhere around the game…
- The Athletics have made a move to purchase land in Las Vegas that could be home to a future stadium, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. The exact location hasn’t been revealed as the A’s continue on the “parallel paths” track for future planning, exploring their options in both Vegas and Oakland. As of now, this constitutes little more than another step in the A’s flirtation with Vegas. That said, it’s an important step. The A’s current stadium lease runs through 2024.
- The Cubs struck quickly this winter to nab Wade Miley from the Reds. Miley joins Kyle Hendricks as the only two pitchers currently locked into starting spots for next season, per Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s actually a better foundation than the Cubs have had in recent seasons, at least if you buy into Miley’s breakout last season. As for the rest of the rotation, it’s currently a four-man stable auditioning for three open rotation spots. Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, and Alec Mills will all compete for bulk innings next season, even if one or more of that quartet ultimately gets bumped into full-time bullpen roles.