While poking around to figure out what the Mets were up to last night — it turned out to be a minor three-team trade — we did pick up some new information from league sources: New York has been trying to find a taker for Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia’s contracts.
On the surface, this seems surprising — the Mets are well under the luxury tax threshold — but not when we dig a bit deeper. The idea would likely be to swap out those salaries for pitchers who the team thinks will be more effective.
Betances is set to make $6 million this year, Familia $11.7 million. The Mets could attach a prospect to one or both of those pitchers in order to get another team to pay most or all of their salary, and then reinvest the money in bullpen or rotation help.
In the pen, the Mets could pursue another left-hander.
In the rotation, savings on Betances and Familia could help pay for Jake Arietta, James Paxton, Rich Hill, or someone else seeking a one-year deal.
None of these players will come particularly cheap. According to league sources, Arrieta’s market value exceeds the $6.5 million that the Tampa Bay Rays recently agreed to pay Chris Archer (Arrieta has been more effective than Archer over the past few years).
Paxton is said to be seeking more than the $11 million the Yankees are paying Corey Kluber. Paxton has made 34 starts over the past two seasons to Kluber’s 26, though the Yanks were comfortable with Kluber’s current medicals.