How much Mets spend on payroll, other burning MLB questions

the frenzy began right away. labor peace came Thursday evening. MLB said go, and calls, texts and emails, team to team and between teams and agents, went from zero to Usain Bolt immediately.

A veteran agent used the word “chaos” to describe the intensity of the action after a three-month lockout, another said “crazy”.

Regardless of tenure, the struggle for jobs and full rosters while simultaneously opening camps once a new collective bargaining agreement was ratified has been a priority. But one question lingered on this baseball information superhighway, and industry folk remained as curious now as they were during their inactive days:

How much will Steve Cohen spend? the mets Payroll?

If you don’t recognize this obsession within the game, you’ve probably (wisely) ignored baseball’s labor negotiations. Cohen’s co-owners created a fourth luxury tax super tier, motivated by a desire to try to put some kind of stop sign — or at least a return — on the $15 billion man. Will it work?

In the short term, Cohen has indicated that he will use his generosity — emphasis on big — to try and buy strife, respectability, and time until he can eliminate the Wilpon from everything in the Mets world and get the franchise running to his specifications. That could boost the first-ever $300 million MLB payroll. If not, it will be tight.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen speaks with Michael Conforto during spring 2021 training.
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen

The record for luxury tax purposes was the Dodgers’ payroll of $297.9 million in 2015, followed by $285.6 million from last season. The only team currently within shouting distance of that total is the Mets. And where does this Cohen-inspired super tax break begin this year? It’s $290 million. It’s probably just a coincidence.

How much Cohen will invest isn’t the only question looming over the game as spring training begins. Here are five others that intrigue me:

Will the Blue Jays become monsters soon?

If the new playoff format, featuring six teams from each league, had happened last season, the 91-win Blue Jays would have joined the 92-win Red Sox and Yankees as wild cards. To try to qualify this year, Toronto re-signed Jose Berrios and signed Kevin Gausman. the jays lost Marcus Semienbut their rivals don’t think Toronto is done with its heavy spending.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a .311 with 48 homers and 111 RBIs last season.
Cole Burston

The Jays have always had to deal with taking Canadian dollars while paying players with American cash. Also, there is always a strong preference by a significant group of players not to play in Canada. But the team’s parent company, Rogers Communication, has done well financially during the pandemic, reportedly approving a significant pay rise. And as the only team in Canada, the Blue Jays have huge national appeal. They have strong native talents like Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alek Manoah. There are elements to a significant run.

What’s next for Rangers?

Texas spent half a billion dollars on a new middle infield – Semien and Corey Seager — and can still be a fourth-place team. That might be a compliment in AL East with the Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, but it’s not so in AL West. Even with the addition of Jon Gray, Texas needs more pitching. And even with Semien and Seager, the Rangers need more clout. The Phillies have spent big bucks on Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Zack Wheeler in recent years but still haven’t made the playoffs. Are the Rangers on a similar course?

Speaking of not making the playoffs, what’s wrong with the Mariners?

They finished a game behind the Blue Jays with 90 wins last year. That kept them out of the playoffs for a 20th straight season. This is the longest active drought in the four major North American team sports. Those 90 wins would still indicate good days on the horizon, right? Except that Seattle has set six winning records since 2003, winning 63, 61, 61, 76, 78 and 68 games in subsequent seasons.

Will it be different this time? The Mariners have a respectable group of young players, including outfielder Julio Rodriguez who may be ready to make his mark. But the Mariners also have money to spend and desperately need two more bats. Is that a Kris Bryant guy? There were indications that Seattle is happy and confident with JP Crawford at shortstop. But could the Mariners play for Carlos Correa?

Shohei Ohtano ends an MVP season with the Angels.
Kiyoshi million

Can Shohei Ohtani do it again?

Maybe I just have something for the AL West, with the angels joining this procession of questions about the Rangers and Mariners. But Ohtani remains arguably the most compelling player in the game. For the first time in his four seasons in Los Angeles, he stayed healthy and brilliant in both disciplines in 2021. In 23 starts, he posted a 3.18 ERA. He hit 46 home runs. And just to prove he can do just about anything, Ohtani also stole 26 bases and took the MLB lead with eight triples.

All that earned him an MVP award. But the Angels finished under .500 for the sixth straight year. They’ve only made the playoffs once in Mike Trout’s 11-year career. Trout was injured last year. That was Anthony Rendon. If she and new signing Noah Syndergaard stay healthy, the Angels have a chance. But it’s hard to see how the team as configured now can excel if Ohtani doesn’t do it again. As a pitcher. And as a thug.

Christian Jelich
Christian Jelich

What’s up with Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich?

In 2019 they finished 1-2 in the NL MVP race. They were in their prime. The left-handers seemed to be successful for years.

The following spring, the Brewers renewed Yelich for nine years at a cost of $215 million. Since then he has hit .234 with .752 OPS while Bellinger was at .195/.642. Yelich is entering his 30-year season. His contract runs for seven more years. Milwaukee handled Yelich’s fall well. But that will be difficult to keep up if Yelich doesn’t make his money.

Bellinger, who will play in 2022 at 26, will be a free agent after next season. But it was questionable if the Dodgers would even offer him after he was among the worst players in the majors last season. Ultimately, he was too talented to give up for a Mega Market team. However, his career has reached a fork in the road. How much Mets spend on payroll, other burning MLB questions


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