The New York Mets have a built a team ready to contend for a Wild Card spot in 2018, but the addition of Jake Arrieta could push them to even greater heights.
It shouldn’t take much coaxing to sell you on why the New York Mets should want to add Jake Arrieta to their already talented starting rotation. Anytime you have the chance to add a former Cy Young Award winner to a rotation with multiple All-Stars, you should take it.
And that’s exactly what the Mets have, an opportunity to add one of the game’s top hurlers. If you haven’t already noticed, we’re almost a week into March and many of the top free agents remain unsigned.
You’d have to imagine a player of Arrieta’s stature doesn’t want to sit out much longer because, with each passing day, he starts to lose regular season games.
Free agent pitchers Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb still looking for homes but baseball people tell me they'll need to sign before end of this week to be ready for opening of season, no matter what they're doing on their own. Opening day three weeks from Thursday.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 4, 2018
Crunchtime is coming, and fast.
At the beginning of the offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson claimed that the Mets would let the market come to them and wait for the prices to drop. Well, it seems that Alderson might have hit the jackpot because supply and demand dictate that prices should be dropping.
For this reason, the Mets should go all in this week and make their pitch for Arrieta. That pitch should come in the form of a one-year deal for north of $20 million. That number might seem hefty for a team like the Mets, whose finances are eclectic.
However, with each day it seems more and more likely that David Wright has played in his last big league game. Due to his situation and the team’s contract insurance, the Mets are slated to have 75 percent, or roughly $15 million of the $20 million owed to Wright, covered by the policy.
Therefore, the team’s actual payroll would sit at $138 million for 2018, which is significantly less than the $155 million they shelled out for the 2017 season.
Arrieta has been the definition of rock solid the last three seasons. Over 94 starts, he’s gone 54-24 with a 2.71 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while averaging nearly a strikeout per inning.
Phillies? Nats? Mystery team? Where will Jake Arrieta go? pic.twitter.com/fHKnfn2r3r
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) February 27, 2018
Beyond what he brings on the mound, the signing of Arrieta would likely weaken two division rivals as well. As it currently stands, the Nationals and Phillies are thought to be the frontrunners for his services.
If the Mets swooped in, they could make the NL East much more competitive. Not only would the three-headed monster of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Arrieta be the best in the division, it would arguably be the top big three in the majors.
This team’s success has been and will be built on pitching, so why not go the extra mile to solidify the team’s competitive advantage? The addition of Arrieta on a one-year pact does not bring much downside—if any.
If the Mets were to again fall apart midseason due to injuries and underperformance, the team could easily flip Arrieta at the deadline to a contender. This would allow them to retool a farm system in desperate need of top-end talent.
At the end of the day, adding Arrieta to the Mets is a long shot, but it’s something the team should seriously make a run at. If Arrieta can be had on a one-year deal, he would elevate the Mets to more than just a possible Wild Card team.