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Steve Cohen says Mets will ‘probably’ exceed MLB’s new $290 million luxury-tax tier in 2022

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On Saturday, the New York Mets acquired right-handed starter Chris Bassitt from the Oakland Athletics, continuing what’s been a busy offseason. Prior to the MLB lockout, the Mets signed a number of familiar names, including ace Max Scherzer, outfielder Starling Marte, and utility players Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar. Factor in last winter’s additions, like Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, and the Mets have made good on owner Steve Cohen’s promise to behave more like a large-market behemoth. 

Predictably, Cohen answered in the affirmative when he was asked on Sunday if the Mets will go over the new fourth tier of the Competitive Balance Tax threshold this season. “We probably will,” he told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo

The lowest tier of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement set this year’s threshold at $230 million. Teams must pay an overage fee for every dollar they spend over the threshold, with those penalties increasing with every additional $20 million. The new CBA also added a new tax tier for clubs who exceed the threshold by more than $60 million that is purportedly aimed at curbing Cohen’s breakaway spending. Previously, the steepest penalty was applied for teams who went over the line by at least $40 million.

First

$230 million

20%

Second

$250 million

32%

Third

$270 million

62.5%

Fourth

$290 million

80%

The Mets, as constructed, are already beyond that $40 million mark, according to Cot’s Contracts. They have about $16 million in wiggle room between them and the highest threshold. While that number will increase if they trade J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, or  Dominic Smith, it won’t be by much; none of those players are projected to make more than $4 million through arbitration, per MLB Trade Rumors’ model.

Whatever breathing room the Mets gain by trading one of those could be negated by their desire to make further additions this offseason. Since the lockout ended, the Mets have been linked to a variety of relievers, including left-handers Brad Hand and Andrew Chafin (per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman) and righties Collin McHugh and Adam Ottavino (per Michael Mayer of Metsmerized). Signing two of those pitchers to modest contracts would push the Mets closer to the $50 million over mark — and that’s without factoring in potential midseason additions, if the team plays well.

In other words, Cohen is right to say the Mets are likely going to exceed the highest CBT threshold — even if it’s to the chagrin of the rest of the owners.




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