Talking Baseball with Mike Francesa: Can The Phillies Stupid Money Keep Up with the Mets Insane Spending

Written By Katie Kohler on April 7, 2022
Phillies 2022 odds

Don’t talk about money. Don’t argue with a New Yorker. 

We’re breaking both rules and choosing chaos. The New York Mets are the favorites to win the NL East and have attracted the most money from bettors to win the World Series and NL Pennant at sportsbooks. If the Philadelphia Phillies are going to compete and break a playoff drought, they are going to have to control the chaos and wreak havoc on opposing pitchers.

Ahead of the start of the 2022 season, Play Pennsylvania spoke with New York radio legend Mike Francesa. He recently joined BetRivers as a brand ambassador and hosts a twice-weekly podcast. I didn’t so much argue with the radio Hall of Famer as I listened to his insights about a hated rival.

(The interview with Francesca was before the news of Mets ace Jacob deGrom stress reaction in his right scapula which will force him to miss “significant time.”)Mike Francesa

Stupid money vs insane money

After the 2018 season, the Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton indicated he was ready to open the coffers.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”

A few months later, the Phillies would sign Bryce Harper to a then record-breaking $330 million 13-year deal. The Phils have yet to make the playoffs since the pricey acquisition of Harper. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen made Middleton’s “stupid” money look sane when he signed Max Scherzer to a three-year deal worth $130 million. The Mets enter the 2022 season with the second-highest payroll of $252 million.

“(Cohen) is in a different league,” said Francesa. “There is no such thing as stupid money with him because he’s got more money.”

A (more) cocky NY fan

Mets key offseason moves

  • Signed pitcher Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract
  • Outfielder Starling Marte inked a  four-year, $78 million contract
  • Added outfielder Mark Canha with a two-year, $26.5 million contract
  • Signed Infielder Eduardo Escobar to a two-year, $20 million contract
  • Traded for starting pitcher  Chris Bassitt

Phillies key offseason moves

  • Signed outfielder Kyle Schwarber to four-year, $79 million contract
  • Outfielder Nick Castellanos agreed to terms on a  five-year, $100 million contract

With the spending spree to go along with ace deGrom, expectations are high for the Mets. Francesa noted the Mets do need a little help in the bullpen and could use another quality RBI bat.

“Not winning the NL East would be a disappointment. There’s no reason to think this shouldn’t be a special year. If the Mets didn’t win by a comfortable margin, it would be disappointing.

“There is more confidence about the Mets than there has been in a very long time. Cohen will spend the money. There’s confidence in (manager) Buck (Showalter) and there’s confidence in the starting pitching. The Met fan is a little cocky this year. They expect big things.”

NL East odds

Despite the Mets’ spending spree, they aren’t the favorites to win the NL East. The defending World Series champs Atlanta Braves are the favorites.

Mets are a betting favorite

The most money is on the Mets to win the World Series at DraftKings Sportsbook (21% of the handle) as of April 6. The Los Angeles Dodgers are close behind with 20%, then the Yankees with 10%. Only 4% of the money is on the Phillies.

The Mets opened at +2000 at BetMGM to win the 2022 World Series and saw their odds move to +1000. The Phillies World Series odds shifted from +3500 to +25000. The Dodgers and Mets are tops in terms of bettors’ money for World Series futures at BetMGM.

New York Mets futures odds

Philadelphia Phillies odds

Mike Francesa on the Phillies, Mets, and a lethal rotation

On Phillies manager Joe Girardi

“He’s very good at what he does.He’s one of the most capable managers and one of the better managers in all of baseball. He handles his bullpen and it’s a critical thing. He doesn’t let pitchers get tired. When you can keep your team in the game from the 3rd to the 7th inning and give your big bats a chance to come from behind, those games can be won if your bullpen keep you in the game.”

Mets pitching

“deGrom is in his own league when healthy. Health is the whole thing with any starting pitcher. The ability to make 30 starts and go 200 innings is the key. Scherzer’s a horse. He will do that and give you innings. deGrom is in his own league. If the Mets starters, 1 through 3 are healthy, they are going to be very hard to deal with. They are going to be impossible to stop.”

Mets expectations

“In the middle of the season, the Mets will add whatever they need if they need. Their owner will not be deterred. If they are healthy in the postseason, they (deGrom and Scherzer) could be a lethal 1-2 punch. I think it could be a special year for the Mets. They could make a deep run.”

Is baseball too boring?

After an expanded NFL season, thrilling playoffs then March Madness, I doubt baseball can match the excitement. It was the first sport I fell in love with, now I find it dull compared to others.

Is baseball boring?

“A May baseball game can be tedious…but baseball reverses it. Not every game is interesting. Baseball turns it around on you. The at-bat that took five minutes in May, that same at-bat in October when everything is on the line is suspended drama on the highest level. No other sport can stop itself the way baseball can. No other sport can slow itself down to that level. “

Lead image Matt Slocum/AP. Headshot pic Brent N. Clarke/AP

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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