SAN DIEGO — Money was flying and the clock was spinning when Mets General Manager Billy Eppler emerged from his suite late Wednesday afternoon on The final day of winter meetings was used to announce that Justin Verlander had indeed signed an $86.6 million, two-year deal with the club.

There was much more to be done, roster holes still to fill, and championship aspirations still to be pursued. Would the Verlander deal leave enough in the owner Steven A. Cohen’s budget for Eppler to address some of those gaps in impactful ways?

“I think the biggest takeaway here is that Steve’s committed to winning,” Eppler spoke, and less than 24 hours later, the club reached agreement to bring back Brandon Nimmo, an outfielder. on an eight-year, $162 million contract. “He talked about that in his introductory news conference. He talked about that again last year when we were going in shortly after I got hired, and we made some of those signings.

“The commitment remains very evident to this day that he and Alex are making to the community, the fan base, the City of New York. It’s showing.”

Teams across the industry were spending like the Mets this week. Many clubs, freed from the restrictions of the owner-induced, 99-day lockout last year that brought the baseball business to an icy halt, saw only green lights this week among the palm trees of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Major League Baseball’s teams have already guaranteed more that $2 billion in salaries for Verlander, Nimmo and Aaron Judge.

The money has gone to pitchers and outfielders, sluggers and speedsters, young players and — especially eye catching — older players.

Verlander will be 40 years old during spring training. San Diego’s deal with Bogaerts is the longest ever for a player who has already turned 30, and it ties him to the Padres until he is 41. Turner will turn 40 when his contract expires. Judge and deGrom will both be 39 years old, while Contreras (a catcher) will be 35.

Long-term contracts with high price stars are important because it allows clubs to spread out the money over a long time and lower the average annual value. The A.A.V. It is an integral component of the calculation of the competitive balance taxes. The Phillies may not be expecting Turner to be as good in his 30s as he is now. However, Turner’s lower salary allows them to spend more before reaching various luxury-tax thresholds.

Players can also extend their lives with advanced nutrition and training techniques.

“How he takes care of himself, understanding his regiment, some of the questions we asked him was how he does keep his body the way he keeps it and some of the things he’s learned over time,” Eppler stated that Verlander, who just finished a Cy Young Award-winning season at age 39, would continue to pitch at an elite league level. “This guy is a consummate professional. While the age is what it is, the way his body works and the way his stuff works is a little bit different.”

The main takeaway of the week was that it was easy. The elite talent can get a player paid regardless of age, injury history, or redundancy. Although the Padres already have two shortstops, Fernando Tatis Jr. & Ha-Seong Kim respectively, they seriously considered signing Turner before adding Bogaerts.

San Diego, which continues its astonishing financial outlays, projects a $235 Million payroll for 2023. That would make them one of the most elite teams in major league baseball. After not landing Turner, Judge and Page Odle, his agent, met the Padres for three hours at Petco Park. on Tuesday night they were due to meet again Wednesday, before Judge was informed via text at 5 a.m. that Judge was going to the Yankees.

A.J. Preller, San Diego’s president of baseball operations, said his club’s strategy wasn’t simply a matter of casting a wide net so much as it was “player specific” — meaning, when players such as Judge or Turner — two of the best in the game — were available, San Diego at least wanted to see what might work.

Adding Bogaerts most likely means sliding Kim over to second base, moving Jake Cronenworth from second to first base and deploying Tatis Jr. as an outfielder when he returns in mid-April from his performance-enhancing drug suspension and shoulder and wrist surgeries. Bogaerts is the leader in M.L.B., having helped the Red Sox win two World Series titles in 2013. In the five previous seasons, shortstops have been in on-base percentage (.373) ranks second in batting percentage (.301), and third in slugging percentage(.508).

Bogaerts’ talent is not the only benefit. The team would also have more flexibility if Manny Machado leaves his contract after 2023.

“I think if there’s a team built to be able to move some guys around, it would probably be us,” This week, Bob Melvin, San Diego Manager, said these words on It was the idea that another shortstop could be added before the Bogaerts deal. “Now, there are probably some tough conversations along the way as far as that goes, but I think with the athletes we have, we’re able to move some guys around and make it fit.”

Two high-profile shortstops are left on Carlos Correa and Dansby Swinson (both 28) are two of the free agents in the market. After San Francisco’s failed run at Judge, Correa appears to be a logical target for the Giants. Among the factors that could play a role: Fans undoubtedly are disappointed the team didn’t land Judge; attendance at Oracle Park in 2022 (2.4 million) was the lowest in a full season since the stadium opened in 2000; the Giants have an aging roster and were 26 games worse in the standings in 2022 than in 2021; and the perennially strong Dodgers and wildly spending Padres are threatening to leave San Francisco far behind.

“As a fan, this is great,” Gabe Kapler, Giants Manager, said this last week just before Judge’s decision. “It’s really exciting for baseball. Envisioning some of these players in new uniforms and, obviously, the names that we’re all talking about, really excited about the possibility of some of them being Giants.”

He said: “I’ve been coming to the winter meetings for a lot of years, and obviously we’ve had some breaks for various reasons, but this is the most exciting time that I can remember.”

Clubs can now operate in confidence regarding their business operations. Fans can also invest emotionally and not worry about work stops with the new labor contract.

“The free agent market’s going to be what it is, right?” Commissioner Rob Manfred said during an appearance at a Baseball Writers’ Association of America meeting this week. “It’s the product of a whole bunch of economic forces and individual decisions by clubs as to what they want to do.

“On the positive side, I think, a week in December where there’s a ton of focus on players and where they’re going to be is a good thing in terms of marketing the game. And on the downside, I think everyone in this room understands that we have a level of revenue disparity in this sport that makes it impossible for some of our markets to compete. It’s some of the numbers we’ve seen. And, you know, that’s not a positive, just, it’s like everything else in life, there’s good and bad.”

The Mets have just two months to go before spring training begins and project a M.L.B. record payroll of $322million, an increase of $282 million from 2022. The Mets have not yet spent $300 million, but no team has.

“It’s nice to see some things in the rearview mirror,” Eppler, who hails from San Diego, made the announcement late Wednesday. “My family, who is here, asked if I could get together tonight, and they sent LOL after the text because they know it’s not happening. So I’m going to go upstairs and get to work and stay to work.”

Nimmo became a Met again 24 hours later. The winter maneuverings went on.