Potential Mets-Padres trade will reveal a lot about Steve Cohen

With Steve Cohen, there isn’t any Wilponian uncertainty about willingness to spend. Solely concerning the knowledge to take action.

The particular person asking that query to Steve Cohen the previous a number of days has been Steve Cohen. He has had a commerce proposal on his desk for a lot of the final week during which the Mets would take up about half of Eric Hosmer’s remaining 4 years at $59 million to achieve entry to a lot wanted pitching depth now and for the close to future with starter Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan.

Cohen was contemplating this transaction earlier than it was recognized Jacob deGrom had a shoulder harm that ought to value him at the very least two months and Max Scherzer a hamstring difficulty that might stop him from taking his first flip. That solely accentuates the necessity for extra pitching.

However are these the appropriate pitchers to ship Dom Smith to San Diego and tackle a contract the Mets don’t want tied to a participant they don’t need? Paddack has not been practically as efficient since a robust rookie breakout in 2019 (that included a verbal skirmish with Pete Alonso). The righty is a high-end strike thrower with a terrific changeup. However his fastball is straight, and he has to develop a really feel for a third-pitch breaking ball. Pagan has been sturdy with robust strikeout numbers, however is homer inclined having given up 45 the previous 4 years — six greater than some other reliever.

There are also optics. A part of the current collective bargaining negotiations was not simply administration vs. gamers, however different homeowners vs. Cohen and his rampant spending. The not too long ago signed CBA has a brand new, fourth luxury-tax stage at $290 million dubbed the Steve Cohen Tax that was designed to attempt to restrain him. The Dodgers really now challenge over that barrier after Friday’s trade of A.J. Pollock for Craig Kimbrel.

Steve Cohen

This commerce would transfer the Mets’ projection clearly over $290 million and dabble with the symbolism of the first-ever $300 million payroll. Even Cohen has some pause about crossing that line so quickly after the CBA deal.

With the Padres consuming $34 million in a single proposal, Hosmer would value the Mets between $6.25 million towards their payroll for tax functions not simply this 12 months, however the three seasons after as nicely. Paddack ($2.25 million) and Pagan ($2.3 million) could be a few wage wash in 2022 with Smith ($3.95 million).

The luxurious tax file payroll has been the $297.5 million of the Dodgers in 2015.

Cohen has been attempting to imitate these Dodgers, who additionally have been nonetheless within the early years of a brand new possession, through the use of his cash to attempt to velocity up relevance and competition whereas giving cowl to improve a minor league feeding system.

That system isn’t prepared to assist with pitching depth, which was the best space of concern for the Mets even earlier than deGrom’s loss and Scherzer’s setback. The post-lockout commerce for Chris Bassitt appears much more helpful now as he unites with Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker within the rotation.

Paddack would be part of Tylor Megill, David Peterson and — sooner or later in the course of the 12 months — Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John surgical procedure) to supply rotation choices. As well as, Bassitt, Carrasco, deGrom and Walker can all be free brokers after the 2022 season. In order that Paddack has management by means of at the very least 2024 additionally makes him extra enticing. As a result of he was introduced as much as start the 2019 season, Paddack has precisely three years of service. Thus, if the Mets despatched him to the minors for three-plus weeks, they may delay his free company till after the 2025 season. Pagan has two years of management left.

Chris Paddack
Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Publish

Paddack, 26, was 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA as a rookie in 2019. However he had a 4.73 ERA in 12 begins within the COVID-shortened 2020 season. It was 5.07 in 23 appearances (22 begins) final season for the disappointing Padres. Paddack, who had Tommy John surgical procedure within the minors, was shut down final September with what the workforce stated was a slight sprain of his proper elbow. He got here to this camp in a battle for the fifth rotation spot with not too long ago signed Nick Martinez.

Each Paddack and Alonso have been positioned on the 2019 Opening Day rosters and had excellent Aprils. Alonso was named NL Rookie of the Month. Paddack reacted by saying, “I’m coming for him” and noting the objective was Rookie of the 12 months (which Alonso received), not Rookie of the Month. The 2 confronted one another on Could 6. Alonso went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts towards Paddack, who punctuated the strikeouts emphatically.

Afterward, Alonso sprinkled slightly gasoline on the matter by telling reporters, “If he was mad about (not profitable NL Rookie of the Month), there’s 5 different months. … Additionally, he stated one thing about profitable the Rookie of the 12 months. That may be good, however I’m attempting to win a World Sequence.”

For the Mets, Hosmer, 32, could be a dearer, extra restricted Smith — a lefty swinger who can transfer Alonso to designated hitter with some regularity. Not like Smith, who additionally performed nook outfield, Hosmer has performed 25 profession innings within the outfield, none since 2015. That was the 12 months the Royals beat the Mets within the World Sequence during which the signature play was Hosmer’s sprint residence to tie Sport 5 as first baseman Lucas Duda threw wildly to the plate.

Hosmer signed an eight-year, $144 million free agent take care of San Diego after the 2017 season and his efficiency has been extraordinary as a Padre — maybe, most surprisingly, scouts cite how his protection has taken a noticeable step backward. The workforce has been attempting to commerce him for at the very least a 12 months to take away wage to pursue different areas of want — specifically an outfield bat — and Hosmer has been upset about how public his availability had develop into.

It will be tough for the Mets to swap Hosmer elsewhere. For his contract offers him full no-trade safety after he has been traded as soon as. So you must surprise if the Mets may merely launch Hosmer and eat what they owe him the following 4 years.

That may be a massive value for 2 doubtlessly helpful, however not difference-making pitchers. It’s why Cohen is deliberating whether or not he could be spending, or spending properly.


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