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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Ex-Mets Making More Than Current Mets After Trades

  • The Mets sent star pitcher Justin Verlander to Houston on Tuesday.
  • New York now has MLB’s 11th-highest active payroll, a dramatic turnaround from the $344 million Opening Day payroll.
Highest Major League Baseball salaries
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the MLB trade deadline has passed, the New York Mets have more 2023 payroll tied up in offloaded players than they do in their current active roster.

On Tuesday, the Mets sent star pitcher Justin Verlander — tied with former teammate Max Scherzer for MLB’s highest salary at $43.3 million — to Houston, three days after Scherzer approved a trade from New York to Texas.

With those deals and the trades of closer David Robertson and outfielders Mark Canha and Tommy Pham, the Mets now have $156.5 million in retained salaries involving players traded, released, or bought out, according to Spotrac. That surpasses the $150.1 million the Mets have committed in 2023 for active players.

The Mets — who still sit below .500 and are well out of playoff position — now have MLB’s 11th-highest active payroll, a dramatic turnaround from a $344 million Opening Day payroll that had surpassed all prior league records by more than $50 million.

Mets GM Billy Eppler previously tried to cast the sell-off as “not a fire sale” and “not a liquidation,” but the deals now leave the team in a historically unique position: Its departed players collectively earn more than the entire payrolls of 15 other MLB teams.

The Mets are reportedly retooling for on-field contention in 2025 or 2026 after a “transitory” year in 2024 — despite owner Steve Cohen’s stated intent upon his 2020 purchase of the team to win the World Series in “three-to-five years.”

The club still has nearly $175 million in salary commitments for next year at a time when past links between player spending and on-field success have been inverted.

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