Jed Lowrie’s bad contract is far from team’s worst

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Mets.

Is Jed Lowrie the worst free-agent signing in Mets history? — @AlexanderGoHamm

Lowrie’s two-year deal worth $20 million certainly doesn’t look great, but it’s hard to call it the worst.

I would probably start with the four-year contract for $66 million the Mets gave Jason Bay before the 2010 season after deciding they didn’t want to negotiate with Scott Boras to pursue Matt Holliday. Bay started slowly with the Mets, sustained two concussions and was bought out from the final year of his deal. The Mets received all of 26 home runs over three seasons for their money.

Yoenis Cespedes received a four-year contract worth $110 million before the 2017 season. The payout will be reduced by his restructured contract following the accident on his ranch last spring and prorated salary for this season, but the Mets received limited production from him in 2017 and ’18. Then came an entire season lost, and now he is attempting to return and contribute over the 60-game season. Cespedes still has a chance to offer something, so I wouldn’t rank him ahead of Bay just yet.

The three-year deal worth $36 million the Mets gave Oliver Perez before the 2009 season was certainly money misspent. Perez had two brutal seasons with the club in which he pitched to a 5-plus ERA and was released with one year remaining on his contract.

Mets Jed Lowrie contract Yoenis Cespedes
Jason Bay, Jed Lowrie, Yoenis CespedesGetty Images; N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg (2)

How short is Edwin Diaz’s leash this year? — Alorch44

That might depend on how Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia perform early. Familia’s struggles last year were a big reason Diaz remained in the closer’s role deep into summer. The abbreviated season will only magnify any blown save, so it’s reasonable to believe it won’t take long for manager Luis Rojas to change course if Diaz is struggling and another option is available.

Would you re-sign Marcus Stroman? — @lesgold36

The Mets are going to need rotation help, with Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz as the only healthy starters signed or under club control for next season. Unless general manager Brodie Van Wagenen believes there is a trade available that could bring another quality arm, trying to re-sign Stroman should be a priority. The wild card is the ownership situation and whether Van Wagenen will have the financial resources to seriously pursue Stroman. We still haven’t seen Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha throw pitches for the Mets in the regular season, but the veteran right-handers could also fit for 2021.

With the Mets’ recent signees, who would you see as a definite bench player? — @SurviveTrying2

Rosters will begin with 30 players, so it seems there is a realistic chance Melky Cabrera and Gordon Beckham could at least start the season with the team. Cabrera would bring a switch-hitting bat off the bench and Beckham’s value is as somebody with backup shortstop experience. Matt Adams wasn’t a recent signing — he arrived on a minor league deal before the start of spring training — but can’t be ruled out based on his powerful lefty bat.

Do you think a relief pitcher will win the Cy Young this year? — @IamTreasure117

This could be the year a multiple-inning reliever — a Seth Lugo type (but not necessarily Lugo) — finally receives his due. The opportunities will be there for relievers, especially over the first few weeks of the season as starters get stretched out. That said, I still wouldn’t bet against an elite starter such as deGrom or Max Scherzer.

Are Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling calling any games this season? — @Lets_MakeADiehl

Some combination of that group will call the games — with the exception of national television commitments — but Cohen, Hernandez and Darling will only be on-site for home games. For road games, the SNY announcers will work from the booth at Citi Field, watching on a TV monitor.