Mets general manager Billy Eppler prepares for next month’s trade deadline with financial flexibility – Boston Herald

As Billy Eppler prepares for his first trade term as Mets general manager, one thing is clear: He has his boss’ salary flexibility to make a splash.

It’s fair to believe the Mets will have an exciting trade deadline on Aug. 2 the same way they had an exciting offseason. The underlying element that will allow the club to make major moves has remained the same. Steve Cohen with his $17.4 billion net worth, according to Forbes, is ready and willing to use his deep pockets on his beloved Mets as long as it’s an outcome that makes sense.

“One thing I’ve learned in my time with Steve so far is that he’s an opportunist,” Eppler said Saturday at Citi Field. “So if I could take opportunities for him and present him with the why behind it, the why it makes sense, he’s approved of everything so far. He likes to know what the market looks like and be aware of opportunities. »

As it stands, the Mets have the second-highest payroll in MLB in 2022 at $260,332,242. The Dodgers are first, with a payroll of $262,397,123 this year.

The Mets entered Saturday with a 3.5-game lead over the Braves in the National League East. With their hold on the division lasting for 71 days, Atlanta has its foot on the gas and the race is tightening. In order to maintain the success the Mets have already enjoyed, they will need to make some adjustments.

As for their immediate roster needs, Eppler didn’t specifically name areas that could improve. Really, he doesn’t need it. It’s easy to see that the Mets need significant help for the bullpen, a power bat at the designated hitter and a quality starter as insurance in case Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer come up against to more health issues in the second half and in the playoffs.

“I would like to be an equal opportunity buyer,” Eppler said. “Whether it’s something that helps prevent stroke, that’s great. If it helps with production, so much the better. Let’s try to grow these numbers as far as possible and be open to anything.

“I don’t want to be beholden to a shopping list, so to speak, because let’s say people thought we needed X, but Y came along and Y was so much better than X, take Y. So we go get for the things that will help in this race for prevention, the race for production, only the things that are specific.

Keeping top prospects in the organization is another thing Cohen is committed to doing, so this trade deadline may look a little different than the others in terms of sidelining minor league players. Although Eppler hasn’t said it outright, expect No. 1 receiver Francisco Alvarez and third baseman Brett Baty to at least stay with the organization in August.

Much like last winter, when Eppler and his front office acquired Scherzer for $130 million over three years, expect the Mets to flex their wallets rather than their farm system.

“I think there are a number of players who could be very difficult to fight away from us,” Eppler said. “I don’t like to live in absolute terms, so I never say never. But it’s really hard to imagine any kind of scenario where we would consider these things.

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