We haven’t had the pleasure of watching MLB’s Winter Meetings happen since 2019. They were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the lockout from last offseason went into effect before the league could gather together. Based on the deals that have been handed out, it was worth the wait. That’s especially the case if you’re a fan of the Mets or Yankees.
As players, managers, team executives, and agents begin leaving San Diego after a hectic few days, New York is reigning supreme when it comes to spending lots of cash.
No, the Mets couldn’t retain Jacob deGrom, but they replaced him with Justin Verlander to the tune of two years and $86.7 million. The Yankees did what was necessary to retain Aaron Judge, leading to a nine-year, $360 million agreement. Strictly speaking about free-agent moves, the Mets also brought in Jose Quintana on a two-year, $26 million deal that could end up being a steal.
Before the San Diego Padres stunned everyone by signing Xander Bogaerts, Spotrac detailed what the top-10 highest projected payrolls currently looked like for 2023:
Current Projected Opening Day #MLB Tax Payrolls
— Spotrac (@spotrac) December 7, 2022
Even with San Diego committing $280 million over 11 years to Xander, it doesn’t knock either the Mets or Yankees out of the top two spots. With Judge’s record deal, he becomes the third MLB player to secure a $40 million salary. The other two play nearby:
And they all play in New York. https://t.co/ZpS5xtAXvW
— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) December 7, 2022
Isn’t it nice to see both New York baseball teams acting like the big-market organizations they are? The best part is neither of them is done. As currently constructed, both the Mets and Yankees would probably be competitive in 2023. But after committing so much money already, they want to make it as sure of a thing as possible.
Steve Cohen is already looking at a huge luxury tax penalty bill for next season. So naturally, the answer is to keep going. Even with the payroll at its current projected level, the Mets are reportedly “open-minded” to the idea of signing both Brandon Nimmo and Kodai Senga. They’re also interested in pitcher Ross Stripling.
As for the Yankees, they need another outfielder. They were interested in Nimmo and reportedly met with him in San Diego. But now that Judge is officially back, a reunion with Andrew Benintendi feels more likely. The bigger fish they’re trying to reel in is left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon. He’s the best rotation arm left on the market and is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of six years with a $30 million annual average salary.
It remains to be seen exactly what both the Amazins and Bombers do for the remainder of this winter. Regardless of the actual results, we can be sure that the spending done thus far is just the beginning.