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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 3/29/19

Devin Mesoraco’s verbal agreement with the Mets; the rise of extensions; last-place teams that could be competitive

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Sheryl Ring: This is a classic Mets debacle. Devin Mesoraco was signed to a minor league deal with a verbal agreement that he would make the team under the catcher conditions they currently have, and instead they opted to either force him to accept a minor league assignment or be put on the restricted list. It’s a bad deal that his agent made; there should have been a way to opt out if he didn’t make the team, and it also hurt that every team did pass on him when they had the chance. But if the Mets don’t acquiesce, and they likely won’t, then they’ll lose the depth.

Baseball Prospectus | Rob Arthur ($): As Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, Jacob deGrom, and Justin Verlander all sign extensions, just to name a few, extension spending has nearly doubled from last year, and has skyrocketed to three times the levels it was 20 years ago. It has a snowball effect: as more teams lock up stars, there are fewer teams on the free agent market. As fewer free agents become available, the more attractive it becomes to lock up your young stars. And so the cycle continues, and few teams switch rosters.

The Athletic | Grant Brisbee ($): Most last-place teams do not make the playoffs the following year, especially with parity at a relative low. But teams like the Padres, who added Manny Machado and now Fernando Tatis Jr., or the Reds, who added Sonny Gray, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and some prospects on the way as well, it’s not impossible for them to grab a second wild card spot.