Mets Linked to Rival All-Star Pitcher Projected to Sign $162 Million Deal

max fried

Getty Braves pitcher Max Fried is set to hit free agency in November. Could the Mets find a way to land the southpaw?

The New York Mets made a legitimate effort to land starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a $300-plus million deal this winter. But when he chose to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York opted for short-term deals in free agency. That could change next winter. Might they be focused on Atlanta Braves hurler Max Fried?

It’s a possibility, according to Eric Cole of FanSided’s The House That Hank Built. He mentioned three teams that could “steal away” Fried from Atlanta when he becomes a free agent. The Mets were one of those squads.

“It is possible that Fried’s history with the Braves in the division could make him somewhat reluctant to sign with a hated division rival,” Cole said. “However, it is also possible that the Mets would LOVE to both bolster their rotation and weaken the Braves at the same time. If that is the case, Fried could end up getting an offer he can’t refuse.”

Fried is set to hit free agency in November after making $15 million in 2024 with the Braves. Spotrac has pegged his annual market value at $27.1 million. They’re projecting a six-year, $162.6 million deal for the southpaw. The Athletic’s Tim Britton also looked at what a potential extension could be valued at. He landed on seven years and $195 million.

Fried’s Standing in Next Winter’s Rotation Market Just Shifted

Next winter’s free agent starting rotation market is stacked with talent. Philadelphia Phillies hurler Zack Wheeler was among the top hurlers expected to be available, but that’s no longer the case. He and the Phillies just agreed to a three-year, $126 million extension to remain in the City of Brotherly Love.

That changes the very top of the rotation market and where Fried lands among the most attractive hurlers. Baltimore Orioles ace Corbin Burnes is viewed as the best impending free-agent pitcher, per CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson. But with Wheeler no longer available, Fried moves up to the second-best option.

Despite winning 17 games for the Braves in 2019, Fried’s ERA checked in at 4.02. He’s really taken his production to another level since 2020. The southpaw has produced a 43-15 record with a 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 458 strikeouts in 484.2 innings.

Watching Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery struggle to find a team for 2024 might not make it seem too enticing to hit free agency (Burnes isn’t excited about it). However, one would imagine there will be a strong market for Fried on a contract that ranges between $150 and $200 million.

A Peek at the Mets’ 2025 Starting Rotation

Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns did significant work to the club’s 2024 starting rotation over the winter. However, he’ll need to do the same thing again next offseason.

According to FanGraphs’ Roster Resource, the current Opening Day starting staff includes Jose Quintana, Luis Severino, Sean Manaea, Adrian Houser and Tylor Megill. Once he returns from the injured list, Kodai Senga will be re-inserted into the top of the rotation.

Senga is in his second season of a five-year, $75 million deal. He has an opt-out clause in his contract, but he can’t potentially use it until after 2025. Megill is under team control through 2027, but the status of the rest of New York’s starting five for next season is unknown.

Quintana, Severino and Houser are all scheduled to become free agents in November. Manaea is in the first season of a two-year, $28 million deal. But if he has a solid 2024, he can opt out and re-enter free agency.

The Mets have intriguing rotation depth and top pitching prospects not far away from the big leagues. If they’re planning on being a legitimate contender in 2025, though, they’ll need to make a serious investment at the top of the rotation to pair with Senga. Fried could be that option. It’d be twice as productive because signing him would also take the southpaw away from Atlanta.

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