If there was any good feeling surrounding the New York Mets’ signings of Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello (and the returns have been mixed), they took quite a hit over the weekend.
One of the top remaining pitchers on the free-agent market, Madison Bumgarner, signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks — a bargain compared to some of the other notable pitcher contracts doled out this offseason.
The previous weeks saw the Philadelphia Phillies hand former Met Zack Wheeler a five-year, $118 million deal while the Yankees dropped a record-setting $324 million on Gerrit Cole.
It makes Bumgarner’s contract look like a steal when you look at his track record.
The 30-year-old southpaw is coming off a down 2019 season after two-straight injury-riddled years prior.
Still, Bumgarner eclipsed the 200-inning mark for the seventh time in the past nine years, proving he can eat innings despite a 9-9 record and a career-worst 3.90 ERA.
And even in his worst year, he had a better 2019 than Porcello and Wacha:
Bumgarner: 207.2 innings, 3.90 ERA, 203, 1.127 WHIP
Wacha: 126.2 innings, 4.76 ERA, 104 K’s, 1.563 WHIP
Porcello: 174.1 innings, 5.52 ERA, 143 K’s, 1.394 WHIP
Adding Bumgarner to a staff that already includes Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Marcus Stroman would have given the Mets one of, if not the best rotations in the National League.
Instead, the Mets will be playing the hypothetical game that general manager Brodie Van Wagenen swore he wouldn’t play when he took over last winter.
If Porcello can regain his 2016 form that won him the American League Cy Young, the Mets will be fine.
If Michael Wacha meets the expectations placed upon his shoulders when he came up as a can’t-miss prospect with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets will be fine.
The Mets could have a nice problem on their hand and have two guys fighting for the No. 5 spot. Or, they’ll have two struggling arms that will make the bottom of the rotation a liability.
That’s the price of frugality, usually, as the Mets opted to sign the pair of right-handers on small deals.
Wacha and Porcello took one-year deals for a combined $13 million.
It seems much cheaper than Bumgarner’s deal, right?
With incentives in their contract, though, that annual value could reach the $17 million mark.
That’s how much Bumgarner’s annual average salary is worth in his new deal with the Diamondbacks.
Granted, he took a discount to play in Arizona, where he has land and horses. But offering a few extra dollars wouldn’t have hurt a prospective offer from the Mets — which never came in the first place.
It appears that picking up the greatest postseason pitcher of this generation doesn’t mean much to a team that is trying to create the illusion of competing.