Why Mets signing Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, or Robbie Ray will likely make little sense

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Carlos Correa rounds bases after home run
Carlos Correa rounds bases after home run

When the Mets enter the offseason and start to reshape a roster that needs some major tweaks, it is probably going to be wise for them to cross some huge free agents off their list from the jump.

Those big free agents? Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Robbie Ray.

Oh, and they should remove Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Rodon from the list as well.

They should take Nick Castellanos off the list, too, in the event he opts out of his deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

Why would it be smart for the Mets to remove all of these premium players from their list?

The answer is simple...

All of those players will almost certainly be extended one-year qualifying offers by their current team before rejecting them, meaning they'll be attached to draft pick compensation.

And with the way the Mets' 2022 MLB Draft is setting up, they are in no position to surrender what it would likely require to sign any of those players.

Let's break it down...

- If the Mets sign a free agent who rejects a qualifying offer, they will likely have to forfeit their second overall draft pick in the 2022 draft as compensation

- The Mets' No. 11 overall pick (the one they got as compensation after not signing Kumar Rocker) is protected no matter what. If their second overall pick is after No. 11, it won't be protected if they sign a free agent who rejects the QO

- That means that in order for the Mets' other first-round pick to be protected, their first overall pick would have to fall within the top 10

- As things stand, the Mets (with a record of 73-78) are set to have the No. 13 pick. In order to move into the top 10, they would have to wind up with a worse record than either the Colorado Rockies (70-80) or Kansas City Royals (69-83). The Mets finishing worse than the Chicago Cubs (67-84) does not seem likely

The Mets' minor league system has taken a major hit over the last few seasons, and they are in no position to be giving up a pick in the top half of the first round of the 2022 draft.

The good news here is that there are lots of other premium players the Mets can go after this offseason who won't be attached to draft pick compensation.

San Francisco Giants third baseman Kris Bryant (23) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning at Wrigley Field.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Kris Bryant (23) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning at Wrigley Field.

Those players include Kris Bryant, Max Scherzer, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Escobar, and Starling Marte.

The Mets can also retain Javier Baez, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and/or Michael Conforto without damaging their draft.

The same obviously goes for any player acquired via trade.

For those who will point to how much Steve Cohen is worth and call for the Mets to just spend their way to contention, that is not a sustainable way to win.

It doesn't matter how much Cohen is worth if the Mets don't build the team the right way. Basically, you need young/inexpensive players in addition to stars on megadeals in order to build a sustainable winner.

The Mets need to exceed the luxury tax next season and probably stay above it for the next three years. But whether you or I like it or not, there are no teams out there -- not the Dodgers, not the Yankees -- who will stay over the tax forever.

And that's one of the main reasons why the 2022 MLB Draft -- specifically the first two picks --is so important for the Mets.

Does it hurt that the Mets would be making the right choice by removing a half dozen or so big free agents from their list before the offseason starts? Yes.

But there are plenty of other avenues to upgrade the roster in a serious way without putting a huge dent in the future.

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