The Mets and Yankees have begun what will be a long and taxing season that could end with one or both playing in the World Series. The Mets are holding spring training at their facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida and the Yankees in Tampa, Florida.
“Hope springs eternal. It’s a rebirth of baseball. Everybody is so upbeat. You just kind of feed off the energy of the fans and the ‘What ifs,’” said Mets manager Buck Showalter last week.
Similarly, the Mets and the Yankees are constructed with exorbitant payrolls and star laden rosters with the Mets, which sit atop of Major League Baseball’s list, considerably dwarfing the league’s 29 other franchises. According to Spotrac, which analyzes payrolls and salaries of sports teams, the Mets are currently at $336, 143, 332. That’s $68, 189, 285 more than the Yankees, who have the second highest payroll at $267, 954, 047.
Mets CEO Steve Cohen’s winter spending spree included signing 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.7 million deal. The 40-year-old Verlander was 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 2-0 in four postseason starts for the World Series champion Houston Astros. They also retained their closer Edwin Diaz to a 5-year, $102 contract and outfielder Brandon Nimmo to an eight-year, $162 million.
The Yankees resigned AL MVP Aaron Judge, who broke legendary Yankee Roger Maris’ AL home run record last season by hitting 62, to a nine-year, $360 million contract in December and added a top of the rotation starter in former San Francisco Giant lefty Carlos Rodon for six years and $162 million.
Both the Mets (101-61) and Yankees (99-63) were playoff teams last season, but weren’t able to secure the ultimate prize. The Mets haven’t won a World Series title since 1986 and the Yanks last championship was 2009. The Mets were eliminated by the San Diego Padres 3-0 in the National League Wild-Card Series and the Yankees swept 4-0 by the Astros.
The Mets’ optimism of winning the NL East—they finished second to the Atlanta Braves (101-61) last season in a tie-breaker—and the Yankees’ expectations of repeating as champions of the AL East is plausible. They’ll face gauntlets in their respective divisions as the NL East and AL East are formidable. Case in point, the Philadelphia Phillies, who were third in the NL East last season with a record of 87-75, won the pennant and faced the Astros in the World Series.