Day 2 of Major League Baseball’s 2019 first-year player draft got underway on Tuesday, and it didn’t take long for the New York Mets to introduce some drama into the afternoon’s proceedings. With the 11th pick of the third round (and the 89th overall), the Mets selected right-handed pitcher Matthew Allan, a well-regarded prep arm who received first-round grades.
The reason Allan was available on day two was due to his perceived signability issues. As Mike Axisa noted on Monday, Allan is believed to want $4 million in order to forego his commitment to the University of Florida. He has the makings of a frontline starter thanks to his size, his arm strength, and his feel for a high-quality breaking ball. It’s not surprising that some team decided to make a run at signing him — it is surprising that the team in question is the Mets.
The Mets have about $8.2 million to spend this draft, which ranks 16th among teams. If their first two picks — third baseman Brett Baty (12th overall) or pitcher Josh Wolf (53rd) — sign for slot, they’ll eat up nearly $5.7 million of that pool. Allan clearly wouldn’t fit in without the Mets exceeding their allotted spending total, an act that can trigger the following penalties:
If a team exceeds its assigned pool, it faces a penalty. Teams that outspend their allotment by 0-5 percent pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for surpassing their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.
Should the Mets have underslot deals in place with either Baty and/or Wolf, then signing Allan would become more realistic. The Mets would also have to go underslot with their remaining picks, meaning New York would be loading up on college seniors who lack negotiating power.
Keep in mind that the Mets will not receive a compensatory pick in next year’s draft if they fail to sign Allan. Additionally, a failure to sign Allan would mean his slot value (roughly $667,000) would be subtracted from the Mets’ pool. This is a risky pick, then, albeit one that could pay off big-time if the Mets are able to ink Allan.