JR: 'I've got to give credit to the Mets' for free-agent spending spree

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This past weekend, the championship-hungry New York Mets -- now owned by uber-billionaire Steve Cohen -- flexed their financial muscle in free agency, signing veteran ace Max Scherzer to a record-breaking $130 million contract and landing hitters Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha to deals worth a combined $124.5 million.

Whether or not money can buy rings, the Mets are certainly willing and able to take chances. And with MLB's current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) set to expire late Wednesday night -- a lengthy work stoppage is impending -- there's no doubt that New York has taken advantage of a free-agent frenzy.

"You can give credit to any of these teams for spending money. But I've got to give credit to the Mets. And should I give credit to the Mets, or credit to their new owner Steve Cohen?" JR said during the JR SportBrief show on Tuesday. "I'm giving the Mets a W. When I think about free agency, I'm thinking about the Mets actually hitting it big. I'm thinking about the issues they have, but knowing they're willing to spend to correct a major issue.

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"Losing Noah Syndergaard to the Angels doesn't hurt now so much, does it? Especially when you have a proven winner with less fluff, less social media, less nicknames, less distractions. You've got Max Scherzer. Who's a winner in free agency so far? The Mets. And that's a rarity to say. Nobody wants to see a potential combination of [Jacob] deGrom and Scherzer in the World Series, or a wild card, or a divisional round. But we have to get there first."

Scherzer, who finished third in NL Cy Young voting in 2021, will receive an average annual salary (AAV) of $43.3 million across three years with the Mets. The deal sets a new major league record, and surpasses the $36 million that New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is averaging on a mammoth nine-year deal. According to ESPN Stats & Info, at 37 years old, Scherzer is the oldest player in MLB history to sign a $100 million contract.

Although it's unclear when the 2022 season will begin, due to the inevitable work stoppage, the revamped Mets will face immense pressure to win a title. In Cohen's first year as owner, the team underachieved, finishing 77-85 in the NL East standings and missing the postseason for a fifth consecutive season.

JR's complete thoughts on the Mets' spending spree can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the JR SportBrief show on Twitter @JRSportBrief and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.