Through 151 games, the Mets have a 68-83 record, the eighth-worst mark in baseball. Ideally, they'd have the inverse record, and this piece would be replaced by something about a potential playoff push.
Looking ahead, however, the Mets will likely need to spend some money in the free agent market to acquire better players. With David Wright and Jon Niese the only Mets guaranteed a contract next year, it seems like the 2013-14 offseason is as good a time as any for the Mets to start spending money on free agents again. But Major League Baseball's current draft pick compensation system could present a bit of a problem.
A team that signs a free agent who was given a qualifying offer—a one-year contract for the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball from the previous season—loses its first-round pick in next year's amateur draft and the draft pool money associated with that slot.
There's one other wrinkle, too, which cost the Mets their protected pick status last year: if a team fails to sign its first-round pick, it receives an extra first-round pick one slot below the original pick the following year. Luckily, none of the players selected with the top nine picks in 2013 went unsigned. The Blue Jays failed to sign their first-round pick, the tenth overall, and have the eleventh pick in the upcoming draft.
Here, then, are the reverse standings, which include a "GB" column indicative of the number of games a team is "behind" the Astros, who have all but locked up the first pick. Ties are broken by 2012 record, which is why, for instance, the Giants are below the Blue Jays here.
|3||Chicago White Sox||59||92||.391||9.0|
|7||New York Mets||68||83||.450||18.0|
|10||Toronto Blue Jays||69||82||.457||19.0|
|**||Unprotected Picks Below||**||**||***||**|
|11||San Francisco Giants||69||82||.457||19.0|
|13||San Diego Padres||71||80||.470||21.0|
|14||Los Angeles Angels||74||78||.487||23.5|
|16||Kansas City Royals||80||72||.526||29.5|
|17||New York Yankees||80||72||.526||29.5|
|22||Tampa Bay Rays||83||68||.550||33.0|
|24||Los Angeles Dodgers||86||65||.570||36.0|
|27||St. Louis Cardinals||89||63||.586||38.5|
|30||Boston Red Sox||92||61||.601||41.0|
Reverse standings through September 18, 2013.
If the Mets spend money on free agents this winter—which is certainly no guarantee—they'll be in a more flexible position if they stay within the bottom ten. If they have a protected pick and sign a free agent who was given a qualifying offer, they will still lose a draft pick next year, but the first pick they would lose would be a second-round pick, which isn't nearly as significant as a first-rounder. That doesn't mean you should root against the Mets on a game-by-game basis, but if and when they do lose, there's at least some consolation involved.