When evaluating what the New York Mets do this offseason, the team has to balance building a competitive 2021 roster with their ability to re-sign players. Part and parcel of that is building a sustained winner and not a typical Wilpon style one and done team.
As noted previously, the Mets have to evaluate their priories when looking to extend Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard. Keeping that quintet is going to be difficult.
That is going to become all the more complicated based on what the Mets continue to do this offseason. Players like Brad Hand and George Springer will be expensive. That affects the Mets ability to spend in 2021 and the ensuing years.
Sure, you can point out the Mets have money coming off the books at the end of the year. It’s a significant amount too with Jeurys Familia ($11.67), Dellin Betances ($6), and Brad Brach ($2) in addition to the aforementioned players.
However, as noted, the Mets have significant players who will require significant money. On top of that, after 2022, key players like Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo are free agents. Exacerbating that is Jacob deGrom having an opt out, and the Mets having a team option on Carlos Carrasco.
You really have to wonder how the Mets are able to keep this going without surpassing the luxury tax threshold. On the other hand, why are people so concerned when the Mets aren’t?
Jared Porter on luxury tax threshold, "No, it's not something we have to have a line in the sand on."
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) January 8, 2021
At some point, everyone became concerned about the luxury tax threshold. Maybe, it was watching the Wilpons operate the Mets for a decade. Maybe, it was the rumors floating around the owners were going to limit the Mets ability to spend as a condition of his buying the team.
Whatever the case, there is only one man who has concern about the Mets spending, and that’s the man cutting the checks. At the end of the day, the only person who truly knows the Mets ability and willingness to exceed the threshold is their owner Steve Cohen.
That’s nothing to say of the expiring CBA. For all the hand wringing about the current constraints, those parameters are going to be readdressed and reset after this offseason. On that front, it makes little to no sense to get over wrought about provisions not set and not really dickered.
At the moment, the only people who should be concerned about the Mets ability and willingness to surpass the luxury tax threshold in 2021 and beyond is the Mets front office. Well, them and the National League East who has to contend with the sudden Mets juggernaut.
For the rest of us, the luxury tax threshold is merely a talking point with only guesses as to the Mets true intentions.
When the New York Mets signed Dellin Betances, the hope was he would be the dominant reliever he was with the New York Yankees. That reliever was the best in all of baseball.
Unfortunately, Betances wasn’t close to that. In 15 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA, 2.057 WHIP, 9.3 BB/9, and an 8.5 K/9. He’d also spend nearly a month on the IL.
There’s no sugar coating how bad of a season it was. He never materialized to be the shut down eighth inning reliever he was supposed to be. Forget that. He was terrible and arguably one of the worst in baseball.
When looking at his season, we do need to take a more global view. Remember, he missed almost all of 2019 with a torn ACL. He also dealt with a shoulder problem.
Another significant issue was the 2020 season in and of itself. Pitchers had to ramp it up for Spring Training, and they were getting closer to being Opening Day ready.
They all went from that to essentially shutting it down before having to ramp it back up again. While they did have the ability to throw in some fashion, they didn’t really have the opportunity to work with trainers and coaches.
For a player like Betances, that was especially problematic. He was returning from not one but two injuries, and he really had not pitched in a Major League game since 2018. The disjointed season most likely affected pitchers like Betances all the more.
Taking that into account, you can certainly understand why Betances pitches very poorly. Despite that, there were some overwhelming positives to take from his season.
First and foremost, while Betances did hit the IL, his shoulder and ACL held up. There weren’t any reports of setbacks or issues. By and large, this made this a strong building block year for him.
Going to Baseball Savant, Betances did post some strong metrics. Notably, the exit velocity against him was the lowest in his career. Looking deeper, Betances was among the best in the majors in whiff%, exit velocity, hard hit%, barrel%, and fastball velocity.
That should’ve translated to Betances being filthy and absolutely dominant. As we know, he didn’t.
There are a few reasons why including his losing some spin on his fastball and slider. However, batters were still swinging and missing and couldn’t square it up.
Keep in mind for all his struggles, the only extra base hit he allowed was a double. In fact, opposing batters had a .289 SLG against him. That’s dominant.
In the end, the issue really was the walks. He walked more than a batter per inning. It’s what got him in trouble and led to horrible results.
Last year, in the seven appearances he didn’t walk a batter, he didn’t allow a run. In 10 of the 12 appearances where he walked one batter or fewer, he didn’t allow a run. Again, if batters couldn’t hit him, they couldn’t score against him.
Now, Betances never had sterling control, but it was never this bad. The key for him is to have a healthy and not disjointed offseason which will permit him to regain his mechanics and control. If so, the Mets will have a flat out dominant reliever.
This is why when you break it down, Betances’ 2020 was better than many thought it was. Yes, the final numbers were ugly, but behind those stats, we saw Betances is still capable of dominating.
He is now going to get the offseason to prepare to do it. We saw he still has the stuff. We just need to see him do it again.
Sometimes, a player gets tagged with a ridiculous label, and no matter how much they do to dispel it, it continues. Maybe it’s because Mike Francesa said it, or maybe it’s because people don’t appreciate him for some reason.
Whatever the case, Brandon Nimmo is not a fourth outfielder.
Calling him that is laughably absurd, and those doing it needs to stop. There is no evidence whatsoever which supports that position.
Nimmo broke out in 2018. In that season, Nimmo surpassed expectations hitting .263/.404/.483 with 28 doubles, eight triples, 17 homers, and 47 RBI. In that season and going forward, Nimmo has established himself as a good baseball player and terrific lead-off hitter.
Since 2018, Nimmo has posted a 140 wRC+. That’s the best mark of anyone on the Mets, and it’s the 12th best in the majors. Among outfielders, he’s ranked sixth.
When you look at WAR, he’s posted a 6.7 bWAR and a 7.3 fWAR. Yes, you’d probably expect that to be higher given his offense. However, there are a few reasons it’s lower.
First, Nimmo dealt with a neck injury in 2019 limiting him to 69 games. That had an impact on his production. However, it’s important to note he came back healthy and proved he could produce at his 2018 levels. He did just that in 2020.
The other reason Nimmo’s WAR takes a hit is because he’s playing out of position in center. As a corner outfielder, Nimmo has a 9 OAA and 4 DRS. As a centerfielder, he has a -1 OAA and -14 DRS. When he’s out of center, his defense doesn’t negatively impact his WAR.
Putting all that aside, Nimmo’s WAR over the past three seasons is 22nd best in the majors. This past season he was ranked 21st.
Looking at the leaderboard, Nimmo would be the best outfielder on 21 of the 30 MLB teams. Only the Dodgers, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Mets have two outfielders ranked higher than him. In terms of the Mets, with Jeff McNeil returning to the infield, that leaves just three teams.
This means if Nimmo were to be dropped on any MLB roster, he’d be one of the best outfielders on that team. Likely, he’d be a top two outfielder on that team.
This isn’t what a fourth outfielder looks like. This is what an All-Star caliber outfielder looks like. That’s really what Nimmo is.
To call Nimmo a fourth outfielder is to say he’s no better than them, and that’s absurd. Nimmo is far better than them. When you look at the numbers, Nimmo is better than the majority of Major League outfielders.
For over a century, Baseball was the most popular sport in America. As a result, it more than earned the title of the National Pastime. That changed over time.
In 1972, Gallup did a poll, and arguably for the first time, Football surpassed baseball as the most popular sport in America. Major League Baseball was aware of their losing their stronghold on America, and they moved to resolve the issue.
As outlined by the History Channel, Major League Baseball moved to institute the DH. As we are well aware, due to the resistance of National League, it was implemented only in the American League. As noted by the History Channel, its implementation was targeted at growing the sport’s popularity:
By the early 1970s, Charlie Finley, the colorful owner of the Oakland A’s, had become the designated hitter rule’s most outspoken advocate, arguing that a pinch-hitter to replace the pitcher–a player that usually batted poorly, exceptions like the legendary Babe Ruth notwithstanding–would add the extra offensive punch that baseball needed to draw more fans.
Now, it’s fallacy to say the DH was implemented solely due to football. At that time, the AL was trying to close the gap in attendance with the NL. As noted by Daniel Brown of the Mercury News, the DH was partially implemented to resolved a 2 million gap in attendance between the two leagues.
Let’s fast forward to 2021 which is 48 years after the DH was implemented. After a universal DH was purportedly instituted in 2020 due to COVID19, there is a push to institute it permanently.
With the push comes the same talking points. One which we hear is no one wants to see pitchers hit, and that the DH will increase fan interest. While people constantly say this, these statements are rarely held to any scrutiny.
Going back to January 1973, Gallup polls showed 38% of fans classified football as their favorite sport as opposed to 19% for baseball.
In 2018 (most up to date information from Gallup), football held somewhat steady at 37%. Meanwhile, baseball dropped not just to 9%, but they also fell behind basketball. Generally speaking, that’s where things are with football with baseball and basketball battling for the second spot.
We also see the NL remains more popular than the AL. In 2019, as detailed by Baseball Reference, 10 of the 15 worst drawing teams are in the AL. The top two and six of the top 10 drawing teams are in the NL. By and large, that remained true in 2018.
Looking at everything, someone associated with MLB needs to ask what exactly has the DH accomplished in growing the sport?
Since it’s implementation, MLB has not only lost ground to football, but it has also lost ground to basketball. The disparity in interest between the NL and AL still exists.
Yes, there are a number of reasons why MLB’s stature has declined and the interest in the NL still outpaces the AL. This speaks to a lot of what MLB has gotten wrong as well as just how great David Stern and Paul Tagliabue were guiding their sports.
That said, one of the reasons for the implementation of the DH was to combat all this and to really put the AL on par with the NL. It’s incredible to think since the implementation of the DH, MLB has been worse off, and if you break it down, fans continue to want to watch baseball where pitchers hit for themselves.
At some point, someone associated with MLB needs to actually look at what has transpired to baseball and the respective leagues since the implementation of the DH. If they actually did instead of being tethered to unsubstantiated talking points, they would unequivocally see the implementation of the universal DH will not help baseball.
In fact, we may see baseball further lose ground much in the same way it did since the DH was first implemented.
The New York Mets made a bit of a surprise signing when they agreed to terms with Jose Martinez on a one year split contract. With the signing of Martinez, it led many to wonder why the Mets signed him, and there were explanations:
The Mets' signing of Jose Martinez feels like an educated guess by the team that in the end, there will be a universal DH negotiated for the 2021 season.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 14, 2021
The Mets have Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso both battling for first base (again). They have already stated they prefer not to put Smith in LF. They also said the institution of the DH could be the impetus to sign a George Springer.
Looking at the respective numbers, you’re not going to bat Martinez over Smith or Alonso. In fact, based upon last year, the Mets aren’t likely to bat Martinez over J.D. Davis.
So, what’s happening here?
Well, some people desperately want there to be a universal DH, and as such, they will use anything to push the narrative. They’ll do it despite their already being an agreement for no universal DH and MLB informing teams there will be no universal DH in 2021.
Now, things change. Perhaps, there will be a new agreement for the universal DH on the eve of the season. We could see the Mets make some deals or see injuries which will elevate Martinez to the DH role.
However, make no mistake. The Mets didn’t sign Martinez to be their DH. The Mets are too well stocked at that position. They’re not benching better players and hitters for Martinez.
No, the Mets signed Martinez as needed depth. He could be a right-handed pinch hitter. He could be in the minors waiting for a trade or injury. It’s quite possible the Mets are working on some things, and they wanted Martinez as an insurance policy to permit them to make a deal.
There are many possible reasons the Mets signed Martinez. You can’t rule any of them out. Well, that’s not true. You can rule out the Mets signing Martinez as the DH.
Organizations and fan bases have is they become very attached to their players. It’s understandable as teams have invested so much in a player, and a result, they’re invested in that player. As for fans, it’s their nature.
Now, this only becomes problematic when it stands in the way of true progress. Right now, that’s the position the Mets may be.
As Sandy Alderson discussed with Jon Heyman on his podcast, he doesn’t see George Springer as a hit unless there is a universal DH. Part of the reason is it further complicates the Dominic Smith/Pete Alonso problem.
Both players are All-Star caliber first baseman, but there is only one first base bag. Without a DH, the solution has been to put Smith in LF. Despite all the work Smith has put into it, he’s not a MLB caliber LF.
In his career, he’s a -7 DRS and -8 OAA in 470.1 innings in left. With his 26.0 ft/sec sprint speed, it’s unrealistic to expect him to improve much.
Smith in left is exacerbated because it also forces Brandon Nimmo to play out of position. Instead of playing left where he is a good fielder, he’s forced to play center where he’s a poor defender.
Really, when you look at the Mets roster, Nimmo and Michael Conforto are the only everyday caliber outfielders on the roster. When looking at them, neither can play center everyday, and really neither are as good as Springer.
Since 2017, Springer has a 16.2 WAR, 138 wRC+, and a 13 DRS. Conforto has an 11.9 WAR, 132 wRC+, and a -14 DRS. Nimmo has a 7.8 WAR, 136 wRC+, and a -12 DRS.
Keep in mind, Springer’s numbers include his playing CF. In center, Springer has a career 14 DRS and 3 OAA. He’s also maintained elite speed with a 28.2 ft/sec last year indicating his good play out there should continue.
Now, as indicated earlier, there is some push to not sign Springer because it displaces one of Smith or Alonso. To wit, we should take a look at the past two seasons. That probably works better because that also coincides with Conforto moving past his shoulder injury.
- Springer – 8.6 WAR, 153 wRC+, 15 DRS
- Conforto – 5.7 WAR, 134 wRC+, -3 DRS
- Nimmo – 2.5 WAR, 130 wRC+, -5 DRS
- Smith – 2.6 WAR, 149 wRC+, -3 DRS (OF), -1 DRS (1B)
- Alonso – 5.5 WAR, 137 wRC+, -7 DRS
Now, there are some caveats to note here. Nimmo dealt with a neck injury much of 2019, but he’s proven he can return. Smith was largely a part time player in 2019 and missed time due to injury. Springer is the only player in his 30s, and he’s part of the Astros sign stealing scandal.
Putting those caveats aside, Springer would be the Mets best outfield option from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Really, when you break down the Mets roster further only Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom can stake a claim to being a better player than him.
When you break down this Mets roster, not one player should serve as an impediment to signing Springer. None of the current Mets can play center, and with the exception of Lindor, none of the current position players are better than Springer.
Yes, there are justifiable reasons to not sign him. There’s his contract demands, his age, and the heavy lifting the Mets need to do signing players to extensions. What isn’t a justifiable reason is Smith or Alonso.
As good as both players are, neither are as good as Springer right now. They’re also first baseman. Whether or not the Mets sign Springer, the organization still needs to find a center fielder, and they need to solve this conundrum.
Overall, Springer is the perfect fit for the Mets. He’s a good center fielder, and he’s a right-handed bat who can balance this heavy left-handed hitting lineup. No one on this current Mets roster should be used as an excuse to not pursue him.
June 1, 2012.
Johan Santana was 10 starts deep into the season as he tried to make the fairly unprecedented step of returning from anterior capsule surgery in his pitching shoulder. On this night, this one glorious night, he would do something no one had ever done before:
The Mets history is one of great pitching. There were great pitchers both before and after Santana. There were many close cases, but Santana was the only one who threw a no-hitter.
This is just one part of his legendary Mets career.
Santana initially came to the Mets after the dismal 2007 collapse. He came to the Mets as the piece meant to not only ensure there wouldn’t be a second collapse, but also to get them to the World Series.
Santana would more than hold up his end of the bargain. That season he was arguably cheated out of the Cy Young after he led the NL in ERA, GS, and IP.
Even if Santana didn’t win the award, he proved himself to be an ace’s ace and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. In a game the Mets had to win, Santana took the ball on the penultimate day of the season despite his being on short rest and his dealing with a knee injury. It was a virtuoso performance:
In that game, Santana registered the last great performance by a Mets pitcher at Shea Stadium. It was the last complete game shut out, and he would pick up the last win by a Mets pitcher in the ballpark.
The Mets were in the position for that heartbreaking loss because Santana was phenomenal down the stretch. In the second half, he was 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.096 WHIP.
Sadly, it was the last chance for him to pitch in a pennant chase for the Mets. Poor roster decisions, an ill conceived ballpark, a Ponzi scheme, and flat out bad ownership cost the Mets and Santana the opportunity to again compete for a postseason berth.
Despite that, Santana was good when his health allowed him to pitch for the Mets.
To this day, he is still the Mets best left-handed pitcher in the Citi Field era. Since the ballpark opened, he leads all left-handed pitchers in ERA and FIP. Overall, he’s fourth and sixth in those categories respectively.
Looking past that with an eye towards Mets history, Santana still rates well. He’s sixth all-time in ERA+ and 10th in K/BB%. He’s 11th in pitching WAR despite having fewer starts than anyone in the top 10. In fact, he has the second fewest starts out of any Mets pitcher in the top 20.
As if this convincing enough, Santana’s impact on the Mets is still felt to this day. Back when Santana was rehabbing his shoulder injury, a then unknown prospect by the name of Jacob deGrom was rehabbing from Tommy John.
As detailed by Tim Rohan, then of the New York Times, Santana taught deGrom how to throw his change-up. That helped deGrom set on the path to not only make the majors but also become the best pitcher in all of baseball.
In a nutshell, that shows how much of a profound impact Santana has had on the Mets organization.
He delivered the last great moment in Shea Stadium history. He’s thrown the only no-hitter. He and his change-up helped deGrom. When you break it all down, it’s just impossible to tell the history of the Mets without Santana.
Overall, he’s one of the best starters in team history, and he’s done things no one has done in Mets history. As a result, he belongs in the Mets Hall of Fame.
As the New York Mets continue to build their roster, one area they need to address is depth a versatility. Case in point, Guillermo Heredia, a player with a career 84 wRC+ and -7 DRS in center is slated to be the team’s fourth outfielder.
Looking at the free agent list, one name which really stands out is Enrique Hernandez. He’s a very versatile player who is a right-handed bat which can compliment a very heavy left-hand hitting Mets roster.
Hernandez has been a good to adequate defender across the diamond. In 2020, he played every position but third recording a 0 OAA at each position. In fact, he’s never been worse than a -3 OAA at any position in his career.
What really stands out is his good he’s been at second and center. At second, he has a career 2 OAA and an 18 DRS. In center, he has a career 4 OAA and 4 DRS. That also happens to be two big areas of need.
With center, Hernandez can be a late inning defensive replacement there. He can also be that at second for Jeff McNeil thereby allowing McNeil to move to third. Of course, this assumes the Mets don’t add new starters at these positions.
Even if they do, Hernandez can still serve as a defensive replacement. Moreover, with no DH in the NL, Hernandez is a strong option to double switch into games. Really, he plays seven defensive positions, and he’s quite good in the outfield and second.
On that note, Hernandez isn’t the strongest hitter. He has a career 99 wRC+. That’s been dragged down by consecutive sub 90 wRC+ seasons.
Still, Hernandez has traditionally hit left-handed pitchers well. Since 2015, he’s posted a 122 wRC+ against them. That’s one of the reasons Dave Roberts controversially started him against David Price in Game 5 of the 2018 World Series.
Whatever the impetus was for that decision, it’s apparent Hernandez can hit left-handed pitching, and he’s a good defender. With his versatility, he can platoon in center with Brandon Nimmo or with McNeil at second.
Hernandez is a player you can trust starting for small stretches in case of injury. He’s also accustomed to producing with irregular playing time. He can give you very good defense and hit left-handed pitching.
Overall, Hernandez just complements this Mets roster. He provides a balance to a team which is left-handed hitting friendly, and he’s a good defensive player across the diamond. As a result, the Mets should strongly consider him.
The New York Mets got their star in Francisco Lindor. The question now is how to best build the rest of the roster to help the Mets win the division.
There are still some areas which need to be addressed with third base being one of the bigger issues. While J.D. Davis is the incumbent, the Mets do not appear eager to put him there and rightfully so due to Davis’ career -19 DRS and -6 OAA make him completely unplayable there.
Looking forward, one thing Mets GM Jared Porter spoke about addressing run prevention. Another way to phrase that is putting an improved defensive team on the field.
One of the best ways to build the best defensive team would be for the Mets to sign reigning Gold Glover Kolten Wong to play second base. Simply put, Wong is the best defensive second baseman in the game which is why he’s won consecutive Gold Gloves.
Over the past three years, Wong’s 37 DRS is a significant step above the next best player. This is part of the reason why Wong has amassed the fifth best WAR over this timeframe over players whose primary positions over this timeframe has been second base.
Pairing Wong with Lindor would make this easily the best defensive tandem up the middle in the majors. For that matter, it could be better than Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordoñez up the middle. That’s just how good they could be.
This would also be a huge turnaround for the current Mets. Since 2017, Mets second basemen have a -35 DRS, which is third worst in the majors. Over the same time period, their shortstops have had a -62 DRS, which is by far the worst in the majors.
All told, since the Mets last made the postseason, they’ve been the worst defensive team in the majors, and really, it’s not close. Adding Wong to Lindor would turn one of the team’s biggest weaknesses and make it a significant strength.
That means more ground balls become outs, and more double plays get turned. Marcus Stroman and his career 58.6 GB% and Carlos Carrasco with his career 48.6 GB% would become even more formidable pitchers. There’s also sinkerballer David Peterson who could benefit. Really, all Mets pitchers would benefit.
This means pitchers go deeper into games saving the bullpen. That keeps everyone stronger as they work their way through the season and hopefully head to the postseason.
Overall, adding Wong’s glove and league average bat (103 wRC+ since 2017) adds a dynamic to the Mets missing for 20 years. It gives the Mets superior up the middle defense helping the pitching staff and making the overall team better. As a result, signing Wong should now be a priority.
Now that Francisco Lindor is a member of the New York Mets, the team now has to try to find a way to sign the 27 year old superstar to a contract extension. This is the move the Los Angeles Dodgers made with Mookie Betts just last year.
Its also what the Mets once did with Keith Hernandez and Mike Piazza. Those moves resulted in a World Series, two pennants, two NL East titles, and four postseason appearances. Keeping Lindor can very well have the same impact on the Mets going forward.
However, it’s more than just Lindor. The Mets have key pieces of their core ready to hit free agency after this year.
First and foremost is Michael Conforto. In 2020, Conforto emerged as a true leader for this team and a potential future captain. Since moving past his shoulder injury, he’s re-established himself at the plate with a 135 OPS+ over the past two seasons.
Another homegrown Mets player who will be up for free agency is Noah Syndergaard, who will be returning from Tommy John at some point in 2021. Before suffering that injury, he was arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball.
From his debut in 2015 – 2019, Syndergaard was 10th best in the majors in FIP and WAR while having the second best hard hit rate. He’s also a pitcher who thrives on the big stage. He was the last Mets pitcher to win a postseason game, and in the last Mets postseason game he arguably out-pitched Madison Bumgarner over seven innings.
At 28, he’s still young and in his prime. This is the type of pitcher teams usually move to make a part of their franchise for as long as they possibly can.
Joining Syndergaard near the top of the Mets rotation and free agency is Marcus Stroman. Like Syndergaard, the 2017 World Baseball Classic MVP was born to pitch in the big game and on the biggest stage.
What truly stands out with Stroman is not just his positivity, but his tireless pursuit to improve as a pitcher. That is exactly the type of pitcher who not only tends to improve as years progress, but he’s the type of pitcher who has a positive impact on teammates.
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) December 29, 2020
In terms of advanced stats like FIP and WAR, he lines up as a number two starter. However, he’s someone who you trust against another team’s ace. He’s not good, and he’s not getting outworked by anyone.
Right there, the Mets have four extremely important pieces due for an extension. After 2020, their two best position players, and two of their best three starters hit the free agent market. If the Mets truly want to rival the Dodgers, they need to move to lock these pitchers up long term.
That’s easier said than done. Some of these players may want to test the free agent market. Steve Cohen’s pockets aren’t bottomless. There’s also the matter of other players on the team.
Steven Matz will also be a free agent. After the 2022 season, Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can opt out of his contract after 2022, and the Mets have a team option on Carlos Carrasco.
Overall, the Mets have to make a number of extraordinarily important decisions on players on their roster over the ensuing two seasons. They need to balancing being able to extend those players with adding another huge contract.
By the looks of it, obtaining Lindor hasn’t completed the big moves for this Mets offseason. Rather, it means their work really has just begun.