The Mets have a rotation to rebuild and are interested in lefty Carlos Rodón. Jon Heyman of The New York Post reported yesterday that the club had been in contact with the free agent, while Andy Martino of SNY reports today that the two sides will be meeting this week. Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the two sides will have a Zoom meeting today.
Rodón, 30 next month, is coming off an excellent two-year run and is one of the top free agent pitchers this offseason, alongside Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander. After missing most of 2019 and 2020 due to injuries, Rodón bounced back in 2021 by posting an ERA of 2.37, along with a 34.6% strikeout rate, 6.7% walk rate and 37.7% ground ball rate. He did spend some time on the injured list and only logged 132 2/3 innings on the year, which was concerning enough for the White Sox to decide against issuing him a qualifying offer.
He signed on with the Giants for 2022 and pushed the injury question marks even farther behind him, getting up to 178 innings with a 2.88 ERA, 33.4% strikeout rate, 7.3% walk rate and 34.1% ground ball rate. His two-year deal with the Giants allowed him to opt out after the first year if he tallied 110 innings, which he did with ease. He made the easy decision to opt out and then decline the qualifying offer that the Giants extended. Even with that QO attached, MLBTR predicted Rodón for a contract of $140MM over five years, an average annual value of $28MM.
The interest from the Mets is quite understandable, given the uncertainty in their rotation. deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Chris Bassitt all reached free agency recently, leaving the club with Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco as their two remaining incumbents. They have some internal candidates to fill the backend of their rotation, such as Tylor Megill and David Peterson, but they are naturally looking to improve that overall picture before Opening Day rolls around. They appear to be casting a wide net in their efforts, as they have already been connected to Verlander, Andrew Heaney, Kodai Senga and Jameson Taillon, in addition to trying to keep deGrom in Queens.
The Mets’ payroll for 2023 is current around $235MM, per the calculations of Roster Resource, with a competitive balance tax number of $247MM. It’s unclear exactly how high the club plans to push their payroll but a ballpark figure of $300MM has been floated, per Heyman. That gives the club plenty of room for now, but some of their pursuits are potentially looking for deals around $30MM or even $40MM. Given that the club is also looking into outfielders, such as bringing back Brandon Nimmo, and even their high-spending ways will start to reach their limits eventually.
The Mets certainly won’t be alone in their pursuit of Rodón either, as he’s already been connected to the Rangers, Dodgers, Twins and Yankees, with the Giants interested in bringing him back to San Francisco as well.