Heck of a trade. What’s next?
At the least, a mutual test of Steve Cohen’s desire to stay under the luxury-tax threshold and George Springer’s desire to be a Met.
The Mets’ acquisition of shortstop Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Indians on Thursday made them inarguably better and crept them undisputedly closer to the $210 million luxury-tax figure that Cohen, the team’s new owner, recently told The Post he’d rather not surpass in his first season.
While it’s impossible to calculate a concrete number because many arbitration-eligible players — including Michael Conforto, Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo, as well as Lindor himself — have yet to get their precise salaries, the Mets’ luxury-tax figure currently projects to be around $180 million.
Given that Springer, a Connecticut native who has made clear his interest in moving closer to home, should easily surpass a $20 million salary annually, landing him would give the Mets little wiggle room to further upgrade their roster if they are hellbent on not paying the tax. The Mets and Blue Jays are regarded as the top suitors for Springer.
Last month, when The Post’s Steve Serby asked Cohen about going over the threshold, Cohen responded, “I think at some point we will, but maybe not this season. I’m not afraid to go over it, but you want to have flexibility on our payroll. Long-term contracts can limit a team’s ability going forward.”
Mets president Sandy Alderson said Thursday, during a Zoom news conference, of the threshold: “It’s a significant demarcation. I wouldn’t say it’s a line that cannot be passed. But it’s definitely a significant consideration when you get to that level. So we’ll see where we are when we start the season.”
Asked whether the team still possessed an appetite for a big contract, Alderson said, “We’re always hungry. … I think when the dust settles here in the next couple of days, we’ll have a better idea of that. I think this deal will have some impact in the marketplace generally. We’ll see what that is.”
The addition of Carrasco to the Mets’ starting rotation makes the signing of stud free-agent starting pitcher Trevor Bauer even less likely than it had previously appeared, and while free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu has some interest in signing with the Mets if he and the Yankees can’t find common ground, his joining the Mets also became less likely given the Mets’ payroll goals in conjunction with their intention to find another center fielder.