When the World Baseball Classic rolls around, there is a fear it is going to negatively impact the players. Certainly, Buck Showalter has spoken out about that recently. If you are a defeatist New York Mets fan, you can point to J.J. Putz participating in the 2013 WBC before having the worst season of his career.
However, to be fair there, Putz was already injured. As had been reported, Putz wasn’t really given a physical, and that he was pushed to pitch through a painful bone spur which hindered his performance. That was back in the days of Jeff Wilpon making medical decisions which included forcing an injured and shut down Pedro Martinez to pitch and attempting to prevent Carlos Beltran from having career saving knee surgery.
Going back to Beltran, he participated for Puerto Rico in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic. In fact, the Mets had a heavy contingent of players at that event, which included:
- Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico)
- Endy Chavez (Venezuela)
- Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico)
- Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico)
- Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic)
- Duaner Sanchez (Dominican Republic)
- Jose Valentin (Puerto Rico)
Looking at that list, each and everyone one of these players had a great 2006 season, and their great seasons started by playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Beltran went from the biggest free agent bust in baseball history, even worse than Bobby Bonilla. Beltran probably should have won the 2006 NL MVP as he was an All-Star while winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He probably should have won the MVP award with his finishing second to just Albert Pujols in WAR. Arguably, this remains the single best regular season in Mets history.
Chavez would also have a career year. He was always a great fielder, but he could not hit. He would have a 101 wRC+ while playing great defensively. We still talk about that catch robbing Scott Rolen of a home run to this day.
Delgado had a very good year in his first year with the Mets. However, he would be special in the postseason hitting four home runs.
Feliciano was almost left off the Mets Opening Day roster after returning to the organization after a year in Japan. He stayed on the roster, and he would have a breakout season which led him on a path to becoming the best LOOGY in Mets history.
Sanchez was a reliever Omar Minaya gambled on when he traded Jae Weong Seo to get him. Minaya looked like a genius as Sanchez might’ve been the best set-up man that season, and if he didn’t get in that cab, the Mets probably win the World Series that season.
Entering 2006, Reyes was still this great raw talent who had not been able to harness his ability. That 2006 season was the season which Reyes became that dynamic lead-off hitter and shortstop the Mets knew he could be. He learned plate discipline, hit for power, and of course, stole bases. He was a first time All-Star, and he had what proved to be the best season of his career.
Finally, there was Valentin. In the previous season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the then 35 year old looked done as he hit .170/.326/.265. To be honest, things didn’t look all that great in April for Valentin. However, due to a myriad of injuries at second base, he was given the job, and he was the missing piece that roster needed. He capped off a great season by hitting two homers in the NL East clincher.
That Mets team was a special team, and it still goes down as one of the best regular seasons in team history. For that to happen, they needed almost everything to break right, and it did. That process all started with these Mets players participating in the WBC.
Looking forward to 2023, the Mets are sending a heavy contingent of players including very important ones like Pete Alonso, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, and Francisco Lindor. If 2006 is any guide, this should be a springboard for these and the other Mets participating meaning we are about to see another great Mets season.
Since taking over the New York Mets, Steve Cohen has set out to celebrate Mets history. That hasn’t just included things like Old Timers’ Day and retiring the numbers of Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays. It has been welcoming those players back to the organization.
In this latest effort, the Mets have welcomed back Carlos Beltran to the organization.
Earlier in the offseason, the Mets tried to bring back Beltran to work as a coach for Buck Showalter. After those efforts failed, the Mets were able to hire Beltran in an unnamed front office role.
This comes three years after Beltran was hired and fired as manager for the Mets. That came on the heels of the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal coming to light. Rather than stick by Beltran, the Wilpons fired him.
In many ways, Queens is where Beltran belongs. To this day, he remains the best free agent signing the team ever made. More than that, Beltran is the best center fielder in team history.
The Mets needed this partially because to this day they only have Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza in the Hall of Fame. Absent the Astros sign stealing scandal, Beltran would have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. Before the scandal, the only question was which hat was going to be on his plaque.
Beltran spent seven years with the Mets and Kansas City Royals. He also had notable stops with the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. You could see him wearing a Royals cap or even opting to go the route Greg Maddux, Roy Halladay (family), and Mike Mussina recently opted with a a blank cap.
However, with Beltran back with the Mets, you can see him wearing a Mets cap on his plaque when he is eventually inducted. You can also anticipate the Mets are going to do everything they can to ensure he is enshrined like he should be. We can also expect his 15 to be retired like it should be.
Overall, like in 2005, the Mets and Beltran needed one another. They’re back together, and we should see great things ensue.
For reasons which still have not been explained, David Ortiz was held to a completely different standard than anyone else who has ever been on a Hall of Fame ballot. You might’ve believed Ortiz being inducted on the first ballot would prove to be a changing of the guard, but in the end, it was more of the same for the 2023 Hall of Fame class.
As previously detailed here, Ortiz had PED allegations. On this ballot, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Gary Sheffield were not inducted despite each of them being far superior players. We again saw Omar Vizquel lose votes partially due to allegations of domestic violence, but when Ortiz was on the ballot, it was not remotely a factor or ever discussed. We can go on and on with the double standards including how Ortiz threw bats at umpires and constantly tried to police the fun of the game.
When looking at Ortiz, the only conclusion is he was a cheater, and he was an overall bad guy. However, he was great for a quote and mostly good to the media. Combine that with his being a willing caricature on Fox’s pre- and post-games, and you have a Hall of Famer.
That brings us to Carlos Beltrán. As you recall back in 2008, Billy Wagner spoke of a rift in the Mets clubhouse dealing with media accountability, which was an indirect shot at players like Beltràn.
By every measure, Beltràn was a deserving Hall of Famer who should have been inducted on the first ballot. He’s one of the best switch hitters of all-time, and by WAR, he’s the eighth best center fielder of all time ahead of players like Duke Snider and Andre Dawson.
Beltràn won Rookie of the Year. He was a nine time All-Star. He won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He had postseason success and won a World Series in the final year of his career. This is as complete of a Hall of Fame resume as you get, especially when there are zero allegations of PEDs against him.
Of course, this neglects his final year with the Houston Astros. In that year, the Astros had a sign stealing system with Beltràn named as the ring leader. Keep in mind, this needed to be an organizational efforts with the cameras and the like, but in the end, it was Beltràn who received the blame.
As a result, writers lined up to write article after article on how the Mets needed to fire Beltràn as their manager. To that end, Beltràn remains the only player punished for this actions. Apparently, the Wilpons being callow and succumbing to public pressure was insufficient punishment. The writers demanded further punishment with them opting not to vote for Beltràn for the Hall of Fame.
Keep in mind, many of these same writers voted for players like A-Rod. They voted for Ortiz on the first ballot. They did that even though the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox received punishments from Major League Baseball for similar systems. We would see Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge win MVP awards after their teams cheated. Apparently, the sign stealing wasn’t an issue for their careers.
We can go on and on when it comes to sign stealing systems. The reason is for some reason the only time baseball cared was with that Astros team. When it was Bobby Thompson and the New York Giants, it was the “Shot Heard Round the World.”Really, when it came to Beltràn and the Astros, everything has been blown way out of proportion.
Overall, writers just have it out for Beltràn despite his not taking PEDs, committing acts of domestic violence, or throwing bats at umpires. In the end, Beltràn’s biggest crime was not having a much better relationship with the media during this playing days. If he did, the writers would’ve fought for him to keep his managerial job and for his induction into the Hall of Fame. After all, they bent over backwards to overlook all the issues with Ortiz to put him in the Hall.
When the deal with the San Francisco Giants fell through, Steve Cohen acted immediately to sign Carlos Correa. Cohen thought the New York Mets needed another bat, and his family really wanted the Mets to sign Correa. It all came together quickly with everyone exhilarated.
That was until it fell apart. Apparently, this wasn’t Carlos Gomez‘s hips. Both the Mets and Giants agreed there was an issue on Correa’s ankle. This wasn’t Five Days in Flushing where Yoenis Cespedes was going to come crashing through the door. This was more like purgatory with all of us waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Fact of the matter is we will never know how bad Correa’s leg really was. Maybe it was an insurance issue. Perhaps, it was doctors trying to ascertain just how long until it will impact Correa’s ability to play like an elite player or play at all. We don’t know, and in all honesty, it’s a real possibility we won’t know during his playing career.
What we do know is Cohen has earned out trust. This wasn’t the Wilpons trying to nickel and dime Vladimir Guerrero with his back. It wasn’t even them ignoring the medicals on J.J. Putz to execute that deal. Really, this is nothing like the Wilpons ever did because Cohen is unlike the Wilpons in nearly every way conceivable.
This Mets team was already past the Cohen Tax threshold before Cohen sought to sign Correa. He did all he could to make Correa a Met, but at the end of the day, Cohen listened to his medical professionals. He didn’t force an injured Pedro Martinez to take the mound or try to stop Carlos Beltran from having career saving knee surgery.
This was purely a baseball business decision. He went after Correa because it made sense for the team. He backed off because the physical indicated it no longer made sense for the team. It really is just that simple.
As fans, we are just left with a smart baseball owner whose sole concern is making the Mets the best team in baseball. Mets fans have needed that for over a decade. We now have it with Cohen, which again makes this the biggest difference between he and the Wilpons.
Peel everything back, and Carlos Beltrán should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Really, the only debate over Beltrán and the Hall of Fame is whether or not he will wear a New York Mets cap on his plaque.
However, that glosses over the Houston Astros cheating scandal, which has been blown way out of proportion. In reality, the writers have been hypocritically holding the scandal against Beltrán.
Remember, David Ortiz was inducted in his first year on the ballot. It was then and remains now a complete and utter farce with Beltrán’s candidacy only cementing that fact.
Ortiz threw bats at umpires. He was served with restraining orders for domestic violence. Also, he was caught cheating using PEDs. It was something held against everyone but him.
While Ortiz was inducted on the first ballot, Beltrán is tending towards not being inducted on the first ballot. That’s even with his actions having previously been celebrated by other teams.
Remember the “Shot Heard Round the World” and the story of the 1951 New York Giants. Well, they did the same exact thing as the 2017 Houston Astros.
The Giants went on a 36-7 tear erasing a 12.5 game deficit forcing a tiebreaker series. In the deciding third game and the Giants trailing 4-2, Bobby Thomson hit a walk-off three run homer off Ralph Branca.
The issue is that Giants team was unapologetically sign stealing. Given the technologies available back then, their’s was far more intricate and complex than what the Astros did.
That Giants team had future Hall of Famers players in Willie Mays and Monte Irvin led by Hall of Famer manager Leo Durocher. Right now, and back in 2017, no one cares about the Giants sign stealing and these Hall of Famers roles in it.
We should also note here the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were themselves implicated and punished for similar sign stealing measures.
Somehow, we’re supposed to care about and punish just Beltrán. To date, he’s still the only player from that team punished and will forever remain as such.
On that note, when Beltrán’s teammates have become free agents, teams have been in an outright bidding war to obtain them. Apparently, the caring only goes so far.
That’s the ultimate issue here. No one really cares except when it comes to Beltrán. He’s being held to a completely different standard than everyone.
His former teammates remain unpunished while Beltrán is fired as Mets manager and isn’t getting Hall of Fame votes. Cheaters are inducted in the Hall of Fame, but he has to wait.
It’s absurd. Voters need to stop being so hypocritical after Ortiz’s induction and glossing over all the other cheating scandals. They need to reassess everything and do some soul searching. After that, they should rectify their mistake and vote for Beltrán’s induction next year.
Before the season, there were 60 bold predictions made heading into the New York Mets 60th season. Here is a look back at how those bold predictions worked out:
1. The New York Mets will win the 2022 World Series.
While they won 101 games, they collapsed late in the season, and they would lose in three games to the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card round.
2. Howie Rose will retire after the season. The Mets have already tabbed their replacement in Jake Eisenberg, and Rose could not pass up the opportunity to go out calling a Mets World Series victory.
Fortunately, Howie has not announced his retirement.
3. Rose will return in some limited fashion to SNY and will be a fill-in replacement in 2023 and beyond.
4. Francisco Lindor will be the NL MVP. Like Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran, he’s going to have a huge second year. Unlike them, he wont’ be denied the award.
Lindor did have a huge second year, but a broken finger cost him any chance of winning the award.
5. Dominic Smith will force his way into the lineup. Yes, he’s battling with J.D. Davis and Robinson Cano for the DH spot, but like he did in 2019 and 2020, he’s going to force his way into the everyday lineup and not relinquish his spot.
As it turned out, Smith was not given a real shot to be the DH. Not only did he not force his way into the lineup, but he was demoted to Triple-A, and he was not called up even with the expanded rosters. He was non-tendered after the season.
6. Edwin Diaz will be an All-Star. Diaz has been an every other year pitcher in his career, and following that pattern, this is his year.
Diaz was an All-Star.
7. The Mets All-Stars this season will be Diaz, Lindor, and Max Scherzer.
Diaz was the only All-Star from this group. The other Mets All-Stars were Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Jeff McNeil.
8. Jacob deGrom will receive some Cy Young votes. Whenever he comes back, he’s going to be deGrom, and he’s going to be so great, he’s going to appear on ballots.
It started that way, but deGrom wasn’t quite as sharp when he returned. He did not receive any votes.
9. Jeff McNeil will finish the season as the left fielder. That is an injury prone outfield, and McNeil will eventually be forced to move out there.
As it turned out, he finished the season as the right fielder, but he moved back to second when Marte returned from injury for the postseason.
10. Robinson Cano will reclaim a starting job. We forget that when Cano played he was actually good in the field. If the outfield is as injury prone as we think, we will eventually play almost every day at second or DH.
Wow, this one was way off the mark and couldn’t have been more wrong.
11. Chris Bassitt will have a slow first month frustrating fans, but he will have a terrific stretch starting in the middle of May as he adjusts to working with the new catchers and Jeremy Hefner.
It was the opposite for Bassitt. He was strong all season until the very end.
12. Starling Marte is going to have a fast start and quickly become a fan favorite. When he’s snubbed at All-Star time, fans are going to be livid.
Marte was a fan favortite, and Mets fans would not let him be snubbed with their voting him in as a starter.
13. Mark Vientos will have a thrilling MLB debut. Vientos’ bat is arguably Major League ready, and he’s going to get some run during some point of the season as a third baseman or DH. He may not relinquish a spot.
For whatever which reason, the Mets were reluctant all year to give him a shot. After the Darin Ruf trade disaster, he finally got a shot in a pennant race and was less then thrilling.
14. Brett Baty will be moved at the trade deadline. With the emergence of Vientos and the ground ball problems, the Mets feel comfortable moving him for that big piece at the trade deadline.
Baty was not moved, and he would be called up to be the team’s everyday third baseman until his own season ending injury.
15. The Mets everyday catcher is not on the Opening Day roster. At some point, the Mets will swing a deal or call up Francisco Alvarez to take over as the everyday catcher.
With his ankle injury, Álvarez was only called up to DH late in the season. Tomas Nido did supplant James McCann as the starter.
16. The Philadelphia Phillies will be the Mets main contenders. Last year, the Atlanta Braves were dead in the water until the Mets were too injured. The Mets won’t do that again this year, and the Phillies pitching and hitters will give people more of a run than we think.
Well, the Phillies won the pennant, so this was only true to that extent. However, the Mets missed their every chance to bury the Braves and would eventually collapse.
17. The Atlanta Braves will not challenge the Mets at all for the division. They’ll really miss Freddie Freeman, the bullpen will falter, and they will not get Ronald Acuna Jr. back in time.
This was very true in June. It was not true at all after that.
18. Tylor Megill will last the entire season in the rotation. Now that he’s here, it is going to be difficult to remove him from the rotation. If need be, the Mets will go to a six man rotation to keep him in the majors.
Megill had a good run as a starter until he was injured. He returned late in the season and moved to the bullpen. He is likely in the mix for the rotation next season.
19. Carlos Carrasco will rebound and will pitch like he did with Cleveland, but he will not make more than 20 starts.
Shockingly, not only did Carrasco rebound, but he also made 29 starts.
20. Trevor Williams will become a huge part of the Mets bullpen as he becomes more of a fastball/slider pitcher.
Williams was a vital part of this team all season.
21. Steve Cohen will purchase SNY during the course as the 2022 season as the Wilpons are scared off by the increasing rights deals with streamers.
This did not happen.
22. The Mets will have multiple Gold Glove winners with Lindor and Marte.
The Mets did not have any winners with only Nido being a finalist. In terms of the voting, there were multiple Mets who were snubbed despite excellent defensive numbers.
23. Hefner will get interviews for managerial positions with other teams after this season.
His name has not surfaced as a managerial candidate.
24. So will Eric Chavez.
Neither has him.
25. The Mets will not have any player at DH for more than 40 games this season.
This was very close to being true. J.D. Davis was a DH in 41 games before the team mercifully got rid of him. After the trade deadline, Daniel Vogelbach was the DH in 46 games.
26. J.D. Davis will make multiple relief appearances for the Mets this season.
He did not.
27. The Joely Rodriguez trade will work out as well as the Alex Torres trade did for the Mets.
While Rodriguez had his moments, he had an 87 ERA+ making his largely true.
28. None of the Mets outfielders will play over 135 games this season.
To our collective surprise, Brandon Nimmo played a career high 151 games. Mark Canha would play 140.
29. Fans will fall in love with Nick Plummer and get more frustrated by Khalil Lee.
For a one week stretch, when Plummer hit that ninth inning homer against the Phillies, Mets fans did fall in love with him before he stopped hitting as a part time DH. No Mets fan paid any attention to Lee.
30. Mark Canha will play more games than any other Mets outfielder, but he will have the lowest WAR out of all the regular outfielders.
Canha played fewer games than Nimmo, but he did have the lowest WAR among outfielders.
31. There will be an issue over Marcus Stroman not receiving a video tribute when the Chicago Cubs visit the Mets in September.
There wasn’t any issues with Stroman during the season, and he did not pitch against the Mets this year.
32. Old Timers’ Day will have one team wearing the 1986 Mets jerseys and the other team wearing the black jerseys.
That did not happen.
33. Carlos Beltran will not return to Citi Field for Old Timers’ Day. We also will not see Carlos Delgado.
Sadly, this was true.
34. The loudest ovation on Old Timers’ Day will go to Piazza. The second loudest will go to Nolan Ryan, who will be a surprise attendee.
It was difficult to ascertain who got the loudest ovation which was a great thing.
35. The defensive highlight of the season will come from Luis Guillorme.
This award probably goes to McNeil for robbing the Oneil Cruz homer, but Guillorme had more than his fair share of highlights.
36. Pete Alonso will take a step back defensively, and he will see more time at DH than initially expected.
Alonso took a big step back defensively, but the Mets hesitated to give him more time at DH even to give him rest late in the season.
37. A week or two into the season, we will hear some rumblings about Michael Conforto looking to return to the Mets. He won’t return, and likely, he will not sign with anyone until after the Major League draft.
There were some rumblings about Conforto, but he wasn’t tied with the Mets. He also did not sign with any team.
38. Some team will crack the frequency on the pitch calling device, and we will eventually know it is them because they will be the surprise team of the 2022 season. It won’t be the Mets.
We heard nothing on that front, but we should give this one time.
39. Mets fans will actually enjoy the Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts this season.
Nope, we didn’t, and it didn’t help that David Cone was saying Mets fans would complain about them not being GKR.
40. Showalter will be the 2022 NL Manager of the Year, and it might be unanimous.
Whether or not it was the right call, Showalter won, and it was close to being unanimous.
41. Seth Lugo will return to his dominant form, but he will only be a one inning reliever. The multiple inning role will be assumed by Williams.
This one was actually true.
42. The Tom Seaver statue will be perfect.
This one should’ve been true. However, Paul Lukas of Uniwatch found the flaw.
43. Drew Smith will take over the eighth inning and will be groomed as the next closer. He will not take over the eighth due to any fault of Trevor May who will have another good year.
Smith was well on his way until injury. May did not have a great year, but that was mostly due to injury. It should be noted he stepped up late in the season and in the postseason.
44. People will talk about how Scherzer isn’t what they thought he’d be and the contract was a mistake. Those people will be idiots.
With Scherzer dealing with an oblique injury and faltering against the Braves and Padres, this ultimately proved true.
45. The Mets are going to have a monster second half with them running away with the division.
The Mets did have a monster second half until they faltered against the weakest September schedule. Truth is they should have run away with the division.
46. With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the division, the Mets are going to make a push to get their unvaccinated players vaccinated to ensure their availability for the World Series.
The Blue Jays made the postseason. With them and the Mets losing in the Wild Card round, this was not remotely an issue.
47. Jeurys Familia will receive a tribute video when he returns to Citi Field, and there will be a mix of cheers and boos with probably more boos.
It was a chilly reception.
48. The Wild Card round will be a complete dud and fans will be clamoring for the return of the winner-take-all Wild Card Game.
So far, fans seems to be unhappy with the postseason changes.
49. We will see David Peterson bounced around between starting and relieving due to the injury issues with the Mets starting staff. He will struggle for it.
Peterson did quite well even if he had some struggles, and he stayed in the rotation for the most part.
50. The Mets will not need to add bullpen pieces at the deadline because we will see pitchers like Colin Holderman and Thomas Szapucki emerge as quality relief options at the Major League level.
Holderman emerged as a quality relief option, but he would be traded for Vogelbach. Szapucki was moved to the bullpen with Syracuse with an eye towards using him in that role. He too would be traded for a platoon DH option (Ruf). The Mets only added Mychael Givens at the deadline while espousing they liked what they had.
51. James McCann will have very similar production to what he had in 2021, and in short order, he will find himself in a catching rotation with Tomas Nido.
This proved true with Nido finally taking over full duties at the very end of the season.
52. No New York baseball player will sign an in-season extension. That includes deGrom and Nimmo, and it also includes Aaron Judge.
True, but Diaz was signed before the start of free agency.
53. There will be no negative articles written about Showalter this season even during a time in the season where the Mets slump (as even the best teams in baseball always do).
True even as his team collapsed.
54. Taijuan Walker will make the fewest starts of anyone in the Mets pitching rotation.
Walker tied for the second most starts. deGrom would actually make the fewest starts.
55. The Mets will have a no-hitter this season, but it will not be from a starting pitcher going all nine innings.
On April 29, the Co-No happened.
56. This will be the last Major League season with nine inning double headers. We will see the return of seven inning double headers in 2023.
This likely will not happen.
57. The Mets will announce their next Hall of Fame class, and it will include Al Leiter and Johan Santana.
There was no such announcment, but there was the announcement of Willie Mays and Keith Hernandez having their numbers retired.
58. Mets fans will not care about the Apple TV game, but they will be absolutely livid about the game on Peacock. Of course, MLB will not care one iota about the blowback.
MLB did not care about the lack of quality with the games, and honestly, while there were complaints, Mets fans didn’t complain nearly as much about the streaming games as you’d anticipate.
59. Showalter is going to get Guillorme in a lot of games for late inning defense.
It actually proved to be more than just that. Showalter got Guillorme into the lineup due to his glove.
60. To reiterate, the Mets will win the World Series, and they will not have to wait another three decades for their next World Series.
To reiterate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll probably make the same prediction next year.
Collusion has been a very real thing in baseball history. That was no more apparent than when Andre Dawson signed a blank contract with the Chicago Cubs because no one would offer him a contract.
Ultimately, the Hall of Famer Bud Selig collusion efforts led to MLB paying $102.5 million to the player’s union. We’ve subsequently seen evidence of collusion, but the matter has not been subsequently taken to arbitration.
That brings us to the right now with Aaron Judge’s free agency.
As reported by The Athletic, MLB is requesting records between the New York Mets and New York Yankees regarding Judge. Specifically, they want communications between Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner.
This goes back to a report saying how both teams “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.” If you’ve been around New York baseball since free agency began, you knew this was going to be the case.
Typically speaking, the Mets and Yankees don’t pursue each other’s free agent players. That goes double for the higher profile players. Really, when you think about it, the Mets and Yankees never get into a bidding war over a player.
That’s not to say players don’t switch teams. We know Curtis Granderson signed with the Mets after four years in the Bronx. Pedro Feliciano signed with the Yankees after his second stint with the Mets.
What was notable about both players is their tenures with their previous team ended. To put it another way, the franchise was not pursuing their own player in free agency.
That may also explain the respective franchises historical obsession with their respective high profile players towards the end of their careers.
We’ve seen the Yankees sign players like Carlos Beltrán, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry. The Mets made trades made trades to obtain El Duque and Robinson Canó in addition to signing players like Willie Randolph.
This just doesn’t happen when these players initially hit free agency and their team wants to keep that player. Certainly, a large part of that was the Wilpons unwillingness (followed by their inability) to spend.
As we look to this offseason, both Judge and Jacob deGrom are free agents. These are franchise defining players. They are future Hall of Famers whose numbers will be retired by their respective teams.
They also solve problems for both teams. It’s just going to come at exorbitant salaries. Even with the money both teams have, they likely will not be able to sign both.
That’s part of the reason there is a détente between these franchises.
These two teams could be running up the cost on the respective players. Eventually, one is going to be signed by someone. That doesn’t mean the other will get signed.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument, the Mets sign Judge. Let’s also assume, this puts them out of the deGrom market.
We’ve heard rumors deGrom is looking for money similar to Max Scherzer. Let’s say the Mets were in that neighborhood before signing Judge and breaking off negotiations.
It’s entirely possible the Yankees were never going to that point. That leaves them out on deGrom, and we’ve already heard other teams balking at what deGrom wants. In the end, this means deGrom eventually signs for less than what he would’ve had this détente not existed.
The simple fact is this détente is necessary for the franchises and players. It’s not driving down player salaries. It’s keeping them all high. It’s allowing Judge and deGrom get the highest possible contract they could receive.
Both the Mets and Yankees now they have an uneasy relationship. They’re rivals who share a city, but they need one another. They’re allies when it comes to revenue sharing and the CBT, and they both know they both do better financially when both teams are thriving.
So, the Mets and Yankees have this unwritten détente which has served New York baseball well for 30+ years. We will now soon find out if this unwritten détente is also unspoken.
The minute Jacob deGrom exercised his opt out was the exact minute anything could happen. At some point, a team could unexpectedly swoop in and offer him a deal to steal him right out from under the New York Mets.
Case-in-point: no one expected the Los Angeles Angels to sign Noah Syndergaard after the Mets offered him a qualifying offer. However, it happened, and Syndergaard is gone. There are some who expect the same will happen with deGrom.
From Jon Heyman, "Folks who have spoken to the Mets lately opine that they believe deGrom seems pretty likely to leave."
— Metsmerized Online (@Metsmerized) November 8, 2022
There are some who expect him to go to the Texas Rangers. There are some believing the San Diego Padres may be suitors. You can never count out the Los Angeles Dodgers or Boston Red Sox. There are reports the Atlanta Braves want to make a run (this doesn’t pass the smell test after they let Freddie Freeman go for less than deGrom will cost).
When you look around, there aren’t many people who expect deGrom to return to the Mets. Well, that is except for the people who know deGrom best. We have heard Chris Bassitt, Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler say they expect deGrom to say. They say he’s happy with the Mets and only wants a fair market deal.
When deGrom signed his initial extension, he spoke about how he wanted to be a Met for life like his friend David Wright. We have heard exactly nothing that would have us believe deGrom has changed his mind on that. Really, all we have is conjecture from people that they believe deGrom might go.
If it comes down to money, well, the Mets have Steve Cohen.
Cohen was the same man who gave Francisco Lindor $1 million more than Fernando Tatis Jr. to get him to sign a contract extension. He have Edwin Diaz the largest ever deal for a reliever to get him to stay. He handed out the largest average annual value to Max Scherzer to get him to come to the Mets. Now, all of a sudden, he’s going to let deGrom walk over money?
If Cohen has shown us anything, he’s not going to necessarily let money stand in the way. He knows great players need to get paid, and that great players deserve more than their “value.” Mostly, Cohen understands deGrom is Mets royalty, and Cohen respects Mets history.
Cohen brought back Old Timers’ Day. Keith Hernandez and Willie Mays had their numbers retired. Former players like Ray Knight talk about how they loved the Mets, hated, the Wilpons, and now, feel more welcomed to return to the ballpark.
Cohen was also a Mets fan when Tom Seaver was traded. While not on the same level, deGrom is this generation’s Seaver. Arguably, deGrom is the second greatest Met of all-time. He could be their next Hall of Famer (depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran), and he could have his number retired by the Mets one day.
Does Cohen want to be the owner who let deGrom leave over money? Does he want to see deGrom leave on his watch? The answers should likely be no.
Another thing here is Cohen has cited the Los Angeles Dodgers as the model he wants to follow. Well, time and again, even with the injuries, the Dodgers have found a way to keep Clayton Kershaw, even with all of his injuries.
The Dodgers have understood for true franchise greats and Hall of Famers the typical rules don’t apply. You take care of those players because they’re a part of the fabric of your organization. Another important factor is when the Dodgers deal with Kershaw the entire baseball world is watching.
It’s the same with the Mets. Everyone wants to see how the Mets handle their first homegrown future Hall of Famer to hit free agency.
How he’s treated impacts whether other players want to play for the Mets or stay with the team. It’ll impact agents handling extensions. Again, there is a real impact.
Through all of it, we’re left with the simple fact Jacob deGrom wants to be a Met for life, and Steve Cohen has the ability to make it happen. If this is all truly the case, there are no excuses for not getting a deal done.
Just because the New York Mets lost in the 2022 Wild Card Series to the San Diego Padres does not mean the Mets will somehow not be represented in the World Series. In fact, both teams have some of the once top rated Mets pitching prospects in this series.
If you can recall back to the 2014 season, we can remember the Mets had viewed Jacob deGrom as a future reliever. At the time, they did not know they had someone who would be the best pitcher in baseball. Instead, deGrom was a too old for his level pitching prospect who was a converted shortstop.
Standing in deGrom’s way was Rafael Montero. He was famously a prospect the Mets held onto for too long while getting rid of him too soon. That was just the way things were when the Wilpons were in charge of the franchise.
Montero never panned out as a starting pitcher. It was not until he went to the Texas Rangers that he found a role for himself as a reliever. In typical Montero fashion, it has not been a smooth ride from there. He struggled for a few more years before another breakout season with the Houston Astros.
Montero was phenomenal this season. In 71 appearances, he was 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and a 9.6 K/9. So far this postseason, he has only allowed one earned over 5.1 innings. While not as a starter, at 31, he is finally having the level of success the Mets once imagined he would have.
In a twist of irony, the Mets did imagine Montero would be one of the best starters for a rotation which had Matt Harvey was the ace. Behind the two of them was going to be Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard. Well, Wheeler and Syndergaard are now standing opposite Montero in this series.
The tales of both Wheeler and Syndergaard are both fresh and well known for Mets fans. In terms of Wheeler, the organization really showed its own flaws with their complete inability to self scout. Their player projection and analytics teams looked as ill funded and understaffed as they were.
Wheeler didn’t get to be the pitcher the Mets had hoped he could be when they traded Carlos Beltran for him until the second half of the 2018 season. From there, he was actually one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He was top 15 in FIP and had the second best hard hit rate. Rather than see that and the woeful defense put behind him, the Mets just to foolishly sell fans that Marcus Stroman, who was in the same rotation as Wheeler, as his replacement.
Predictably, Wheeler has been an ace level pitcher despite arguably not being as good as he was with the Mets. So far, he is 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.513 WHIP, and an 8.33 K/BB this postseason. He is likely to get the ball in Game 1 of the World Series.
Unlike Montero and Wheeler, Syndergaard actually pitched for the Mets in the postseason. In fact, Syndergaard was the last Mets pitcher to win a World Series game. He is the last Mets starter to not allow an earned run in a postseason start (2016 Wild Card Game).
Despite his big game credentials, Syndergaard has only started one game this postseason while making two appearances out of the bullpen. For Mets fans, that was reminiscent of his electric one inning performance in the clinching Game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Things haven’t been great for Syndergaard since he looked like a future Cy Young in 2016. He dealt with a number of injuries. He worked hard to pitch for the Mets post Tommy John heading towards free agency. He asked for, received, and rejected the qualifying offer much to the dismay of Mets fans.
His choice of the Los Angeles Angels proved less than inspired. He would talk about his mental difficulties in New York, and after he was traded to the Phillies, he avoided the Mets the two times he was lined up to face them.
This may not be too different than most Mets pitchers returning from Tommy John. For whatever which reason, Mets pitchers seems to have a steeper mountain to climb in their returns. When you look at their current pitching coach, Jeremy Hefner, you realize some never make it all the way back to a Major League mound.
Despite all that, while he’s not Thor, Syndergaard is pitching for a team who just won the pennant. He is back on the stage he was seven years ago, albeit in a far different role. He’s also with a once hated rival. Remember, he is the guy who “threw” at beloved former Phillie Chase Utley.
As noted, that was all seven years ago. Things are far, far different. Things are much different than they were in 2012 when these three were all uber prospects that were going to lead the Mets to a World Series. Instead, now, they are pitching in the World Series for different teams, and at least one of them will get the ring we thought they would one day with the Mets.
Things with Yoenis Cespedes did not end well with the New York Mets. After signing his second extension, he had the double heel surgery against Mets wishes, which was something of a Jeff Wilpon specialty with him trying the same with Carlos Beltran‘s career saving knee surgery.
During his rehab, he had the incident with the wild boar. His return was kaput as he now had to contend with a broken ankle. He would return in 2020 for eight games actually hitting two homers before leaving the team.
He opted out like many others did during COVID. While Cespedes told his teammates and the organization, an account backed up by players like Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets lied to the public saying they had no idea. After that, there was a significant amount of backlash against the player.
What is interesting is Cespedes was supposed to be one of the players who was to return for Old Timers’ Day. However, he didn’t. This was not a snub, but it had more to do with Cespedes looking to make a return to the Major Leagues. So far, Cespedes is off to a great start in the Winter Leagues:
Yoenis Céspedes had a monster night in the Dominican Winter League:
4-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
— Michael Mayer (@michaelmayer22) October 20, 2022
Does this mean Cespedes can return and be an impact player in the majors? No, we absolutely cannot ascertain anything from one game against lesser competition. Still, with Cespedes, we see he can still have some of that magic in his bat.
This is the type of player for whom a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training exists. In terms of Cespedes, he actually could fill a need for the Mets.
At the trade deadline last year, the team acquired Daniel Vogelbach. That necessitates a right-handed platoon partner. That was supposed to be Darin Ruf, and that did not end well with his 20 OPS+. With Ruf under contract next year, there needs to be competition for him next year.
Internal solutions could be Francisco Álvarez or Mark Vientos. However, they are prospects, and the Mets do not want to have them be a short-sided platoon partner getting very limited plate appearances. That’s not good for them or the organization.
This is where Cespedes could help. He could be competition for Ruf. He is that rare player who raises his game on the New York stage. If there is anything left, the Mets could use it. There is still plenty of time in the Winter Leagues to look at Cespedes more, but the Mets should be tracking him intently while looking to bring him back to the organization.