With Jacob deGrom winning the Cy Young Award over Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola, he became the seventh pitcher in Major League history to win a Cy Young and a Rookie of the Year award. Can you name the other six? Good luck!
Yesterday, Jacob deGrom won the National League Cy Young Award, but it was not unanimous. No, there was one dissenting vote from John Maffei of the San Diego Tribune. As he has not written an article on why he voted the way he did, and he does not have a Twitter, no one is quite sure why he opted to vote for Max Scherzer over deGrom for the Cy Young Award.
While many may assume the reasons why Maffei made his vote the way he did, you cannot be sure his rationale. Maffei was going to get the chance to explain his reasons with Steve Somers:
Well, that ended badly. Very badly.
In New York, Steve Somers is an institution, and we get him and his tone. It sounded like typical tongue-in-cheek Somers, but Maffei was having none of hit. Most likely not knowing who Somers was, Maffei was not going to deal with it, and he understandably hung up the phone.
Of note, Somers did ask his producer to reach back out to Maffei and explain the shtick. Unfortunately, Maffei would not come back on the show to have that discussion.
To some extent, it is a real shame because Maffei had one of the worst Cy Young ballots you could possibly have. In addition to having Scherzer over deGrom, which is an arguably defensible position, he did not have Aaron Nola third.
Now, Maffei was not the only one to have Freeland over Nola. One of the other two was Thomas Harding, who is the MLB beat reporter for the Colorado Rockies. It’s not unusual to see a local beat writer hold a player they cover and watch everyday to a higher esteem than others. We don’t know why Andrew Wagner did the same thing.
While Harding and Wagner had their own reasons to put Freeland over Nola, Maffei was the only writer to put Miles Mikolas third. He would be the only writer to have Mikolas over Nola, and he would be the only one to have Mikolas in the top three. In fact, there were just two writers who gave Mikolas a vote in the top four.
With respect to Maffei, or really any writer, you would hope there were be some article or explanation for the vote. After all, the Cy Young Award winner is going to be reported in the paper. Speaking of the paper, it is important to note Maffei has been covering high school sports for the San Diego Tribune.
While it did not truly matter in the end, the BBWAA gave a vote to one of the most prestiguous awards to a high school sports writer. So while Maffei may have to explain the thinking behind his ballot, the BBWAA should have to explain why they are letting people who no longer cover the sport have a vote on these awards.
Chances are neither will be on with Steve Somers to provide that explanation.
The New York Mets have had a number of down seasons with 2018 being one of them. There were some bright spots this past season with Jacob deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball being one of them. This is reminiscent of how many times we have seen different Mets players have great seasons in what has been an otherwise lost season for the franchise.
The last time we saw anything like deGrom’s season happen was R.A. Dickey‘s 2012 season. While the knuckleballer had been better than expected for a few years, no one could see him winning 20 games let alone beating out Clayton Kershaw, who was still in his prime, for the Cy Young Award.
While it was Dickey who won the Cy Young Award, it was Johan Santana who captured the hearts of Mets fans by pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history. Special mention needs to go here for Mike Baxter‘s catch.
In 2004, Mike Piazza passed a significant career milestone by hitting his 352nd career homer as a catcher. With the home run, he passed Carlton Fisk, and he all but cemented his Hall of Fame case by hitting the most home runs as a catcher.
Another Mets catcher who set a home run record was Todd Hundley. In 1996, his 41 homers would not just match a Mets single season record, but it would also pass Roy Campanella‘s single season record for most homers by a catcher. That season saw a number of feats including Bernard Gilkey setting the Mets single-season record for doubles and Lance Johnson setting the record for most triples in a season. Remarkably, all three of these Mets records stand to this day.
On the final game of the 1991 season, which was the Mets first losing season since 1983, David Cone tied the then National League record with 19 strikeouts in a game. It was a feat which had only been previously met by Mets legend Tom Seaver.
Speaking of that 1983 season, Darryl Strawberry would become the first and to this date only Mets position player to ever win the Rookie of the Year Award. The 1983 season was also notable because after the Midnight Massacre, Seaver would finally come home to the Mets.
Really, it was that 1983 season which was the beginning of something special with the Mets. In addition to Strawberry and Seaver, the Mets called-up rookie starter Ron Darling. Much like how he is joined in the SNY booth now by Keith Hernandez, he was teammates with Hernandez that season because the Mets would make a franchise altering trade to acquire the former MVP.
Really, when you look at 1983, you can see how even a bad year is the building block towards a team building a World Series winning club. Hopefully, that is what the 2018 season was for the Mets.
You can argue it was the case with deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball, and Zack Wheeler matching him big start for big start in the second half. Brandon Nimmo had the second highest wRC+ among National League outfielders, and Michael Conforto returned to being Michael Conforto in the second half. More than that, Amed Rosario seemed to turn the corner while his new double play partner, Jeff McNeil, burst onto the scene.
In the end, when you look at losing seasons like 2018, you can see great things. More than that, you can see how great things will soon be in store for the Mets.
With the Mets reportedly not pursuing Manny Machado this offseason, the Mets have put them in a position where their options to improve their batting order are becoming increasingly limited. That is at least on the free agent market. Instead, the team is going to have to look towards trades to try to improve their roster.
When looking at trades, the team should look much further than any of their oft publicized and discussed needs. Instead, the team should do all they can do to improve their roster. If you are looking to build a World Series contender, that means obtaining Corey Kluber.
If the Mets are able to obtain Kluber, they are going to have the best rotation in baseball, and quite possibly, they could have one of the best rotations of all-time. When you have pitching like that, you win games and postseason series.
Remember, the 2001 Diamondbacks won the NL West and the World Series riding Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. While Luis Gonzalez hit 57 homers that year, the rest of the Diamondbacks team wasn’t great offensively. That team had a 97 wRC+, which was ranked 15th in the majors.
The Mets would have that with Kluber and Jacob deGrom. Kluber has led the Majors in wins over the past three seasons with the second most innings pitched and the third highest fWAR. As for deGrom, he was the best pitcher in baseball last, and we have seen what he can do in the postseason.
As for the Mets offense, well, in the second half of the season last year, they were ranked 11th in the majors. With a 38-30 second half record, the Mets were tied with the Braves for the best record in the NL East. Combining that improved offense with the emerge of Zack Wheeler, and this is suddenly a very scary Mets team, which is something the Mets need to be building.
Notably, Wheeler is a free agent after the 2019 season, and after the 2020 season, deGrom will be a free agent. The biggest hit happens after the 2021 season with Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz becoming free agents. That’s a big chunk of the Mets current core, which means this organization has three years to win a World Series with this group.
It just so happens Kluber is under team control for three years with 2020 and 2021 team options. All told, Kluber is owed just $52.5 million over the next three years giving the team some flexibility to add talent around an ace pitcher.
Now, there will be obvious skeptics as to whether this will work for the Mets. This plan would require buying Amed Rosario making strides. It also requires Jeff McNeil to repeat a second half which was fueled by .368 BABIP. Todd Frazier is going to have to be what he was in April and stay off the disabled list, and Jay Bruce is going to have to learn first base. You are also going to need a full season from Juan Lagares in center.
Then again, maybe you won’t.
Adding Kluber only adds to the possibilities. With Kluber atop the rotation with deGrom, the Mets could look to trade Wheeler at his peak value. Possibly, the Mets could move Wheeler to address other areas of need like their bullpen or a right-handed bat. With Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel being free agents and Lance McCullers missing all of 2019 due to Tommy John, the Astros are certainly a fit. Seeing how Wheeler pitched in the second half, there will obviously be other suitors.
Now, getting Kluber is going to hurt. At a minimum, you are probably talking Peter Alonso, Andres Gimenez, and some other notable Mets prospects. It’s entirely possible, a Major Leaguer will need to be included in the deal. Certainly, giving up your top talent will hurt the system.
However, a more broad based analysis needs to take place here. The Mets window is 2019-2021. After that, the next real wave for the Mets comes a year or two after that as Jarred Kelenic, Ronny Mauricio, and Mark Vientos all played in Kingsport this past season. Considering how the talent is structured in the Mets farm system, the time to make a run is right now.
If you’re making that run, the Mets need to go all-out improving this roster. Unless you are spending on the free agent market to get Machado and Bryce Harper, which the Mets aren’t doing, it means trading for big pieces. That means giving up Alonso and Gimenez for a big piece. Right now, there is no bigger piece than Kluber. He’s the real difference maker.
Get Kluber and make a real run at 2019 and 2020. The talent is here, and the Mets have the chips to do it.
Well, the impossible has finally happened. The New York Mets have FINALLY parted ways with one time top prospect Rafael Montero. It is somewhat ironic it comes in the same month when Jacob deGrom is likely to win the Cy Young Award. Mostly, it’s just shocking and strange.
This was a long anticipated moment, and yet one in which many believed would never happen.
Looking back, it was Terry Collins who first made an issue about Montero’s ability to pitch. With the Mets coming off a pennant, Collins went out of his way to challenge/chastise Montero. Collins would tell him the Mets re-signed Bartolo Colon because Montero had not held up hid end of the bargain because he was not good enough to be a part of the Mets rotation.
The reason Montero wasn’t ready to take on that role was because he was hurt. At least, that is what he said. He kept alleging it, and the Mets doctors never found anything, at least not anything they deemed sufficient enough for his complaining of pain. While he was complaining of pain, we were all complaining about the results.
In 2016 and 2017, he was 5-12 with a 5.87 ERA, 1.790 WHIP, and a 1.61 K/BB ratio. Things got so bad with him many talked themselves into him being a late bloomer when he had a 4.15 ERA in August 2017.
That included the Mets who kept Montero over relievers like Josh Smoker, Chasen Bradford, and Erik Goeddel. The later two had good 2018 seasons, which was something which stung all the more when you saw how much the Mets needed relief help.
The Mets releasing players who contributed elsewhere just so the Mets could stubbornly see what they had in Montero was becoming the norm.
Fact is, the Mets were in this deep, so they might as well see how all of this played out. Then a funny thing happened. The guy who always seemed to complain about injuries was actually injured.
On the eve of the 2018 season, it was discovered Montero had a torn UCL, and he needed season ending Tommy John surgery. While it could be a different injury than the ones he had which had caused him pain in the past, it was certainly interesting to see him finally diagnosed with an injury which COULD explain his struggles.
With the surgery, it is likely he would not pitch until sometime around the 2019 All Star break. Looking at Zack Wheeler, there was a chance he may not pitch at all in 2019. With him being out of options, there was a legitimate question if he’d ever pitch for the Mets again.
Still, the Mets had gone this far down the rabbit hole with Montero, and to a certain extent, they were almost obligated to see how he could pitch when he was finally healthy and/or not complaining of pain to his pitching arm.
Maybe, the poor pitching we’ve seen was the result of a torn UCL. Maybe, just maybe, with a surgically repaired elbow, Montero could be the pitcher the Mets envisioned he could be, or at the very least, he could become a competent MLB pitcher.
Well, if that does happen, it’s going to happen somewhere else because the Mets out-righted Montero to get the roster back under 40 players. Montero then opted to become a free agent.
The Mets out-righted Montero while keeping Drew Gagnon, a 28 year old rookie with a 5.63 career Triple-A ERA. Say whatever you want about Montero, but from a pure talent standpoint, he is better than Gagnon. It’s the reason why Montero got so many chances.
And that where’s we are with Montero. The Mets and Montero are parting ways instead of seeing if Montero could pitch like the pitcher the Mets stubbornly believed he could be. Instead, after all that time and seeing all those other pitches go and produce elsewhere, Montero is an ex-Met.
For all the times the Mets should have parted with Montero, the organization chose to do this now instead of all those other times when they should have held onto another player. They chose now even though Montero was finally the player they should have kept.
If the Mets had done this at any other time, and Montero succeeded, many would have understood. Fact is, most probably still will. And yet, if a healthy Montero does prove himself to be competent MLB pitcher and Gagnon pitches like someone with a career 5.63 Triple-A, the Mets will have definitively made the wrong choice here . . . just like all those other times they cut good players from the roster to stubbornly keep Montero.
With the contracts Brodie Van Wagenen had been able to procure for his clients, it is fairly clear he has been a staunch advocate who is able to get the best deals possible. Part of that has been his being quite forceful to inflammatory in his statements. This includes, but is not limited to his alleging collusion during this past offseason when things moved slowly.
Van Wagenen’s occasional confrontational and inflammatory statements include his demanding an extension or trade for Jacob deGrom. Specifically Van Wagenen would say:
He and I have been transparent with them about his willingness to consider a long-term commitment. But if there’s not a commitment, then obviously the player would be prepared for a trade.
If there’s not a desire to have the player, then you’d like to go to somebody that did have the desire to be committed. It’s if not A, then everybody has to be aware of B. The third alternative of just staying status quo, I don’t think benefits anyone.
The very end of the statement is the key statement. Taking what he said at face value, Van Wagenen honestly believes the Mets have to either extend or trade deGrom. Now, the Mets could let deGrom play out the next two seasons and make a decision then, but as Van Wagenen said himself, that would not benefit anyone.
Understandably, with Sandy Alderson having to step aside, this decision was better left to a new General Manager. Whoever the Mets hired had to make a number of important decisions. With Zack Wheeler a year from free agency, the Mets need to make a decision to extend, trade, or wait until the trade deadline to make a decision on the future of Wheeler.
With Van Wagenen’s comments and his being hired, a decision on deGrom is now front and center.
The team either needs to have a plan for an extension in place, or they need to be prepared to trade him. Even if those plans are not immediately disclosed, those plans need to be in place right now. If not, this will serve as a distraction all season long. The beginnings of that will begin with today’s press conference. In fact, reporters are lined up to ask the question:
First question for Van Wagenen: “Brodie, last July you said the Mets should either trade deGrom or give him a contract. So what are you going to do?”
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) October 29, 2018
If it is this pressing today, it will be all the more so during the GM Meetings, Winter Meetings, Spring Training, and during any losing streak during the 2019 season.
After that decision is made, the decision is then turned to another one of his clients in Noah Syndergaard. Should deGrom get that extension, how much is left over for his other client? The dominoes keep falling after that.
Yes, there are other decisions which technically need to be made first including who should be designated for assignment. The Mets will need to cut three people by Friday to do that. That said, deGrom is the first order of business because how the Mets handle that decision will inform everything which happens from now. That includes how the rest of the Mets team handles a deGrom trade or extension.
Brodie Van Wagenen is the agent for Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Robert Gsellman, Todd Frazier, Tim Tebow, and others. Through his representation of his clients, Forbes pegged his 2018 commissions at $25 million. Now, instead of collecting commissions from these players and pushing management to either pay or play these players, he could be the one making the decisions for the Mets.
The mere idea Van Wagenen would take the Mets General Manager job is fascinating.
First and foremost, Van Wagenen would presumably need to take a paycut to join the Mets front office. He would be doing that to go from one high stress job to the next, and he would presumably need to work the same hours. His job will now come with public scrutiny and much less job stability. Considering all that’s involved, it just begs the question why Van Wagenen is even considering this.
If he gets the job, you then have to consider how his relationship with the Mets players will impact how he runs the team.
This past season, Van Wagenen said the Mets needed to either trade or extend deGrom. Does he do that now, or does he keep deGrom on his current contract and spend the money elsewhere? If the extension talks were ever to occur, how would he handle them? Clearly, he knows what deGrom wants. Does he give it to him in full? If he doesn’t, does the deGrom situation become a problem?
Can he trade Frazier to clear room for another player? Is he willing to keep Tebow in the minors all year, or if the situation presents itself, could he actually cut Tebow?
Go back to Cespedes. The Mets organization rushed him back to DH in the Subway Series. Does Van Wagenen rush Cespedes back from his double heel injury this year, or does he break ranks with how the Mets have handled injuries the past few years? Could his opinion on these matters be swayed by those players he used to represent and those who didn’t?
On that front, do the Mets players see Van Wagenen’s treatment of his former clients as favoritism? What impact would this have on the Mets clubhouse?
Speaking of the clubhouse, what impact would Van Wagenen have on Mickey Callaway‘s authority? Assume for a second Gsellman has an issue, and that issue was not handled by Callaway or Dave Eiland to his satisfaction. Gsellman has a prior relationship with Van Wagenen. Should he ever go behind the coaching staff’s back, how would it be received? Does Van Wagenen take his manager’s side, his player’s side, or does he effectively mediate?
Looking further, what impact does Van Wagenen’s relationship CAA have? Like the Mets have done the past few years, does he go towards them for the free agents, or is he willing to branch out and speak with Scott Boras about Manny Machado? Would Boras or other agents be cautious in their dealings with the Mets? Is there preexisting bad blood which would hamper or even infringe upon negotiations?
But it’s more how he handles the Major League team. He is now responsible for an entire organization. To that end, we know he is capable of running an organization. We don’t know if he can handle running a baseball operation, especially one where the Wilpons are rumored to meddle in even the smallest of decisions.
There are people already in place, and presumably Van Wagenen has a relationship with those people. Obviously, the dynamics of that relationship are about to change. There are many reasons why, including but not limited to the fact, Van Wagenen has people outside the organization he trusts. He will seek out their opinions and may even hire them over existing staff. That is certain to have ripple effects.
Overall, there are many minefields and issues which accompany Van Wagenen. There are the conflict of interests with this players, and the conflicts his relationships could have in the clubhouse and throughout the organization. It is interesting to see how the Mets and Van Wagenen himself handles the whole situation . . . should he get the job.
In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Jack Morris and John Smoltz had a pitching match-up for the ages. For 7.1 innings, Smoltz would shut out the Twins. Somehow, Morris was even better than that pitching 10 shutout innings in an epic 1-0 Twins Game 7 victory. It was a fitting end to one of the best World Series ever played.
Whenever you see big time pitching match-ups in the World Series, this is what we expect to see. In this century, as evidenced by last night’s game, these match-ups typically fall well short of expectations.
Yes, Clayton Kershaw is no longer the young dominating ace we remember. Sure, Chris Sale has been dealing with injury issues for the second half of the season. Still, you were hoping they’d each pitch at least five innings. But it’s not just them or their injuries, it’s seemingly every World Series.
In Game 1, Corey Kluber held up his end of the bargain shutting out the Cubs over six innings. Jon Lester wasn’t bad allowing three earned over 5.2 innings, but it certainly wasn’t two aces trading haymakers.
It may be a bit of a stretch to call him such, but in 2014, Johnny Cueto finished second in the Cy Young voting. Moreoever, he had been great with the Reds before being traded to the Royals. He was great in Game 2 limiting the Mets to just one run in his complete game victory. Despite being dominant all postseason long, Jacob deGrom hit a bump in this game allowing four earned in five innings.
Adam Wainwright has been one of the better postseason pitchers of his era, but in Game 1, he allowed three earned over five while Jon Lester shut out the Cardinals over 7.2 innings. The Game 5 match-up was much better with both pitchers going seven plus innings. This had all the makings of a classic, especially with Wainwright striking out 10, but with two runs scored against him in the seventh, it was a 3-1 game.
Game 1 was the match-up of all match-ups. In 2008 and 2009, Tim Lincecum had won the Cy Young Award. Cliff Lee had won the 2008 Cy Young in the American League, and he had established himself as a big-time postseason pitcher. Lee would get shelled for six earned in 4.2 innings. Lincecum was not much better allowing four earned in 5.2 innings, but he was at least good enough to get the win.
Much like the 2013 World Series, the sequel was better. For the first six innings of Game 5, Lincecum and Lee would trade zeros. That was until Edgar Renteria hit a two run over which effectively clinched the Giants first World Series since moving to San Francisco. Ultimately, Lee would allow three earned over seven while Lincecum would allow one over eight.
Former Indians teammates and former Cy Young winners, Lee and CC Sabathia would face-off in Game 1. This was the rare pitching match-up which didn’t disappoint. Lee pitched a complete game allowing just one earned while striking out 10. Sabathia was also terrific allowing just two earned over seven. Of course, the final score did not have the same feel as the Yankees bullpen blew up in what would be a 6-1 Phillies victory.
There was another big match-up in Game 4. Andy Pettitte made a reputation as a big game pitcher, but he wasn’t quite that allowing four over six innings. Opposite him as 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who allowed five runs over 4.1 innings.
Pettitte was about the same in Game 6 allowing three runs over 5.2 innings, but Pedro Martinez, in what would be his final game, allowed four earned over four innings before departing.
Now, this had a Game 7 befitting the 1991 Game 7. The first five-and-a-half innings were scoreless until the Diamondbacks finally broke through with a Danny Bautista RBI double off Roger Clemens. The Yankees responded with a a run off Curt Schilling in the seventh, and they took the lead with an Alfonso Soriano homer off Schilling in the eighth. To heighten the great pitching all the more, Randy Johnson would pitch 1.1 scoreless to allow the Diamondbacks miracle comeback against Mariano Rivera to win the series.
As great as that was, the rest of the series did not have the same great starting pitching matchups. Schilling was great in Game 1 while Mike Mussina allowed five runs over three innings. In Game 2, Johnson had a complete game shutout while Pettitte allowed four over seven innings. In Game 6, Johnson allowed just two earned over seven while Pettitte was hit hard from the get-go allowing six runs over two innings.
Now, there have been great pitching match-ups here and there. There are typically memorable games. Also, unlike movies, we have seen the sequel in starting pitcher match-ups prove to be much better than the first match-up. If that trend continues, we should be in for a treat when Sale and Kershaw face-off in Game 5 in Dodger Stadium.
Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom will not just take any job. At 35 years old, he can be selective, and he has. In the past, Bloom has outright refused to even interview for the Diamondbacks position. However, he not only has decided to interview for the Mets job, but he is also a finalist for the General Manager position.
Bloom’s interesting in the position should have Mets fans excited about the future of this team regardless of who the team hires to be the General Manager.
There is a lot to like with this Mets team. Just like 2015, it all starts with the rotation. Jacob deGrom has emerged this season as the best pitcher in baseball. Zack Wheeler looked like an ace himself posting the second best ERA in the second half. Noah Syndergaard had 13 wins in a down year, and he had a strong finish to the season. Finally, somehow Steven Matz actually made 30 starts last year. Now that Matz is able to navigate a full season, he can take the next step much like how Wheeler did this year.
There are also the y0ung left-handed bats on this roster. Using wRC+ as a barometer, Brandon Nimmo was the second best hitter in the National League last year and in the top 10 of all of baseball. After dealing with the shoulder issues, Michael Conforto hit .273/.356/.539 in the second half. Jeff McNeil emerged from out of nowhere to not just make to the majors but to also claim the second base job for 2019 by posting a 2.4 WAR and 137 wRC+ in just 63 Major League games.
The Mets also have a vastly improving farm system. Andres Gimenez, Peter Alonso, and Jarred Kelenic are viewed by nearly every outlet as Top 100 prospects. After a breakout season, Justin Dunn is on the cusp of cracking those lists as well. David Peterson and Anthony Kay are both left-handers who took steps forward and are not far from the majors.
There are also young players who people have lost enthusiasm but still have talent. Dominic Smith will not turn 24 until August, and there are still many who believe in his talent. For example, Keith Law of ESPN believes Smith could hit better than .262/.346/.459 if given the first base job next year. Before his season ending injury last year, Gavin Cecchini returned to the form he was when he was seen as a future middle infielder for the Mets.
This is before we even consider players like Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton, Luis Santana, and even Desmond Lindsay with his retooled swing. The overriding point is the Mets farm system has plenty of talent, and Bloom, a Rays executive with a strong player development background knows this.
Ultimately, this is why Bloom is interested in the Mets General Manager job. This is also why Mets fans should be excited about the future of this team even if Bloom does not get the job because whether or not he gets the job, the talent is already here. It’s now just a matter of that talent continuing their development and winning the World Series.
Back in 2015, the Mets somehow held onto a Game 5 and series clinching win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Despite having nothing, Jacob deGrom kept the Dodgers to two runs over six innings. That was more than enough as Daniel Murphy took over that game in what was one of the truly great postseason games a player has ever had.
He’d double home the first run of the game in the first off Zack Greinke. On a fourth inning walk to Lucas Duda, Murphy went first to third against a shifted and lackadaisical Dodgers infield allowing him to score the tying run on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly.
The big blow came in the sixth when Murphy hit the go-ahead homer putting the Mets up 3-2.
At the time, the Mets seemed to be the young team on the rise. In addition to deGrom, Syndergaard, and Familia, the team had Matt Harvey, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, and eventually Zack Wheeler again.
In 2016, both teams returned to the postseason. The Mets captured the top Wild Card spot only to be shut out by Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. That year, the Dodgers would lose in the NLCS to the eventual World Series winning Chicago Cubs (two years later and that sentence still seems bizarre).
After that, the Mets have had consecutive losing seasons while the Dodgers have gone to back-to-back World Series. Why?
Well, for starters, the Dodgers build a deep team with a deep bench. They do not have top heavy rosters which crumble when there is one injury. For example, Clayton Kershaw has not thrown over 175.0 innings in a season since that NLDS, and yet, the Dodgers remain a great team.
Also, while the Mets are off purging the Murphys and Justin Turners of the world, the Dodgers are finding them. In addition to Turner, we have also seen Chris Taylor and Max Muncy figure things out in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are also not afraid to take risks or trust their young players. Gone from the 2015 team are Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Jimmy Rollins. Instead, the Dodgers have players like Cody Bellinger.
For the Mets part, well, Adrian Gonzalez was their Opening Day first baseman.
Mostly, the separation has been financial. The Dodgers ownership has been willing and motivated to keep this championship window as open as possible, and they have with the largest payroll in baseball.
The Dodgers are not just a financial juggernaut, but they are also a supremely well run organization. This is a complete opposite of what the Mets have been, and judging from their current GM search, will continue to be.
This is all why the Dodgers are competing for World Series while the Mets are once again also-rans.