Posted on: December 20, 2022, 01:48h. 

Last updated on: December 20, 2022, 01:48h.

Big day this morning at Citi Field for the New York Mets, who held an introductory news conference with their biggest free agency acquisition of the off-season, Justin Verlander.

Unless, of course, that biggest addition turns out to be Kodai Senga. He may not be able to walk around Times Square anonymously for much longer if his signature pitch, the “ghost fork,” proves so unhittable that he becomes more valuable than Verlander, a three-time winner of the Cy Young Award.

Senga and Verlander are the new arms in town after a crazy week of free agent signings kept Aaron Judge in the Bronx and delivered Verlander to Queens for the Mets. The latter nonetheless lost another former Cy Young Award winner, Jacob deGrom, to the Texas Rangers.

And perhaps that is the reason why the Mets — despite owner Steve Cohen’s off-season spending spree of nearly $402 million on just six players — have longer odds than the Yankees at every single sportsbook licensed in New York that has Major League Baseball futures odds listed.

Did The Mets Or Yankees Have a Better Off-Season?

Losing Judge after he set an American League record for home runs would have been disastrous. The Yankees kept their superstar as part of a $573.5 million spending spree that also netted left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon from the San Francisco Giants and right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle from the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team also signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo again, as general manager Brian Cashman operated without a contract of his own and was generous with Hal Steinbrenner’s money.

The Mets added a pitcher in Senga who started Game 1 of the Japanese World Series for four straight seasons at the behest of general manager Billy Eppler. He’s the same guy who is responsible for bringing Shohei Ohtani to the Los Angeles Angels, a move that you could say worked out pretty well for everyone involved. But Verlander is the biggest signee after winning the Cy Young award, and the Mets also added lefty starter Jose Quintana from St. Louis, and set-up reliever David Robertson from the Phillies to work with closer Edwin Diaz, who was re-signed, as was center fielder Brandon Nimmo.

“If I had to pick one, I would have to say the Mets,” said Mark Healey, editor in chief of The Wave, a baseball Web site run out of Far Rockaway, Queens. “They had the most defections and they had the most holes to fill, and they are filling them. The Yankees didn’t fix their bullpen, and with Aroldis Chapman done, we just don’t know if Clay Holmes can be a full-time closer. And they have not shown a willingness to go into the (luxury) tax. Holmes had a good half of a season, but I don’t know that he is a guy I would bet on,” Healey told Casino.org in a phone interview. “They may have to figure it out in spring training, and Verlander is better than Rodon.”

Here are the championship odds on the Yankees and Mets at the nine sportsbooks licensed to do business in New York:

  • DraftKings: Mets: +1000; Yankees: +700
  • FanDuel: Mets: +1000; Yankees: +700
  • BetMGM: Mets: +1000; Yankees: +750
  • Caesars: Mets: +900; Yankees: +800
  • PointsBet: +Mets: +1000; Yankees +800
  • BetRivers: Mets: +1100, Yankees: +750
  • Resorts World: Unavailable.
  • BallyBet: Unavailable.
  • WynnBet: Mets: +800; Yankees +750.

No individual player award odds have been posted yet, as a few key free agents remain unsigned, and trades are expected when the free agency cupboard has gone bare.

What Did We Learn That Carries Into This Season?

Mostly, that the regular season is borderline meaningless despite being 162 games long.

Why is that the takeaway? It comes after the Los Angeles Dodgers steamrolled everybody in piling up a 111-51 record, then lost three in a row to the San Diego Padres in the divisional series. The Dodgers were eliminated with just a single postseason win.

Lest anyone forget, the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that represented the National League and played for the championship against the Houston Astros, finished sixth in the NL standings, but made the expended postseason. The Yankees had 99 wins and were eliminated by the Astros in a four-game sweep, and the Mets won 101 games and were eliminated 2-1 by the Padres in the wild-card round.

Hey, as we are about to see in the NFL — and will eventually in the NBA — when you cheapen your regular season by adding too many teams to the postseason (more true in basketball than in football), you open up the possibility that a regular-season underperformer can peak at just the right time and do something special. If you are a fan of the Detroit Lions, you know exactly what we mean after what they just did to the Jets on Sunday.

Can Verlander Be A Cy Guy?

Verlander won the Cy Young Award after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts vs. just 29 walks for the Astros, who won the championship for the second time in six years. The Mets will be his third team after he spent the first 13 years of his career with the Detroit Tigers, and he figures to be the Mets starter on Opening Day.

Verlander’s wife, model Kate Upton, sat in a front-row seat in a purple pantsuit with their 4-year-old daughter, Genevieve, and watched the pitcher put on a No. 35 Mets jersey this morning at Citi Field. Verlander said Cohen is making it clear in the background that the Mets are “going to do what is necessary.”

He takes a spot in the Mets rotation vacated by deGrom, who left for a $185 million, five-year contract with Texas, and reunites with Max Scherzer, his teammate in Detroit 2010-14. Verlander is guaranteed $43,333,333 in each of the next two seasons, matching Scherzer’s annual salary in a $130 million, three-year deal with the Mets through 2024.

He is the 11th player to win the Cy Young Award three times, and he will be among the favorites when those odds are posted. Roger Clemens has won the award the most times with seven, Randy Johnson won it five times, and Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux have each won it four times. Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, and Scherzer have won the award in both leagues

New York has boosted its luxury tax payroll under Cohen to about $360 million next year, on track for a record tax of about $85 million. But the hedge fund owner is loaded, and he may become even more loaded if he gets approval to build a casino in the parking lots at Citi Field. We will have more on that tomorrow.





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