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Mets Luxury Tax Exceeds Pirates Payroll; the Rich Paying Bucs to be Cheap?

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have spent $12.375 million on free agents so far this winter. In Buccoland, that represents a lot of money.

Not so much throughout most of Major League Baseball, though.

Fangraphs projects the Pirates’ payroll for next season at $58 million. That would be the third lowest in the big leagues behind the Oakland Athletics ($45 million) and Baltimore Orioles ($52 million).

Those numbers are subject to change and the Pirates aren’t saying what their player budget is for 2023. However, it seems certain they will be among the bottom five in payroll among MLB’s 30 teams.

Owner Steve Cohen and the New York Mets, on the other hand, could pay more than $58 million just in luxury tax next year.

The Mets have gone on a free-agent spending spree this offseason in which they have committed a whopping $461.7 million to six players.

That is $448.375 million than the Pirates have committed to first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana ($6.725 million), right-handed starter Vince Velasquez ($3.15 million), and left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia ($2.5 million).

The Mets started their offseason by re-signing closer Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102-million deal. They are also bringing back center fielder Brandon Nimmo at eight years and $162 million.

Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga has agreed to a five-year, $75-million contract while three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander signed for two years and $86.7 million. Verlander’s $43,333,333 annual average value matches Mets right-hander Max Scherzer for the largest in MLB history.

The Mets have also signed former Pirates left-hander Jose Quintana to a two-year, $26-million pact and reliever David Robertson to a one-year, $10-million contract.

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In all, the Mets’ opening-day payroll is expected to come in at $335 million. That would be 577% higher than the Pirates’ $58 million.

The good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates is they should get a significant revenue-sharing check next winter because of the Mets’ largesse. History suggests the Pirates won’t use much of Uncle Steve’s money on players.

As one New York Yankees employee sarcastically asks every time I see him, “How are the Pirates enjoying our revenue-sharing money?”

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