As we sit here on the morning of January 20, 2023, the Mets’ offseason is nearly complete. With more than $500 million spent and a recent agreement with Tommy Pham to be their fourth outfielder, the heavy lifting is done. But there’s still one huge free-agent fish that needs to be hooked before Spring Training: broadcaster Keith Hernandez.
The former Mets first baseman announced that his SNY deal was up while chatting with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling toward the end of last season. Right around the holidays, we heard he was still unsigned, which led to some appropriate groans about the Wilpons being cheap, as they still own the network.
There haven’t been many updates about Hernandez’s contract negotiations since then, until earlier this week from Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Keith Hernandez’s contract talks with SNY have been on hold – they were initially scheduled to resume last week. But talks are expected again soon. The two sides were a distance apart on contract terms following an initial offer to Hernandez before the holidays.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) January 18, 2023
Mets pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie in 26 days as of Friday. Despite that, a crucial part of New York’s TV broadcasting trio remains unsigned. How worried should people be?
This seems like it’s taking a little while, but it’s not too far outside the ordinary. If we look back at Keith’s last two agreements, they both happened around this time of the year.
In 2016, Hernandez agreed to a four-year deal. News of this agreement hit the Twitter machine on January 12th. By the time 2020 rolled around, Keith and SNY were back at it trying to strike a new deal. This is the contract that just expired, which was worth $2.4 million. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, that agreement was getting finalized around January 15th.
So, yes — the current negotiations have dragged on a little longer than they normally have. And, much longer than many fans are comfortable with. But if talks resumed last week as expected, maybe we would’ve heard about an agreement by now.
It’s still annoying, though. As we saw with the Carlos Correa fiasco, the longer this drags on, the possibility for things to go haywire increases. However, I still refuse to believe there’s any scenario where Hernandez isn’t back in the SNY booth in 2023 and beyond with Ron and Gare, unless it actually happens.