The Mets have had a transformative offseason that’s led to more than $500 million invested in the MLB roster. That doesn’t include the huge new scoreboard and other improvements around Citi Field coming for 2023. Mets fans think owner Steve Cohen can do just about anything. The one thing he can’t do, though? Get broadcaster Keith Hernandez a new SNY contract.
The former first baseman’s deal to broadcast Mets games with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling expired at the end of the 2022 regular season. He’s been on the open market as a free agent ever since. In typical Wilpon fashion (they still own SNY, in case you forgot), contract negotiations have dragged on much longer than necessary.
Seeing Hernandez still unsigned with the calendar flipping from 2022 to 2023 has been annoying, but it doesn’t come without precedent. His last two multi-year deals were finalized in the middle of January. But, of course, we’re nearing the middle of February and he still doesn’t have a new contract.
Heck, as we write this, Mets pitchers and catchers are supposed to officially report to Port St. Lucie in five days. It’s technically not necessary that he’s signed right now, but what are we waiting for?
Thankfully, the New York Post‘s Mike Puma shared the following update on negotiations:
Hearing there has been progress in the contract talks between SNY and Keith Hernandez. The two sides are considered not far apart on a new multi-year agreement, but there is still work to be done before it can be completed.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 9, 2023
It’s about freakin’ time! I mean, not quite because there’s no report of an agreement being made. But still, we’ve finally gotten some good news on the final Mets-related free agent this offseason.
From what I remember, it seems like contract negotiations for SNY’s Mets announcers are only difficult for Keith. I don’t recall hearing about things dragging on for either Gary or Ron. If we use past contracts as a model, we won’t have to worry about Keith hitting free agency again for another three or four years (likely three at this stage in his professional life).
Could it happen on Friday? There are immaculate contract vibes for Hernandez on February 10th. On this date in 1984, he signed a five-year, $8.4 million deal with New York. At the time he signed it, that deal was the second-largest in franchise history. Things have changed a little bit since then on the player side of things.
Friday would be a great day for a deal to officially get done. But in all reality, as long as he’s signed before the first SNY telecast of a Mets game this season, all will be well. At least it finally looks like it’s going to happen at some point in the near future.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.