On April 29, 2022, Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz each took the mound, and none of them allowed a hit. By its very definition this is a no-hitter. In fact, it was one of 17 in Major League history featuring multiple pitchers in a game.
It was an amazing night at Citi Field, and it was a moment New York Mets fans will forever cherish. After all, this was just the second time in team history this pitching fabled franchise had a no-hitter. It was a historic moment in Mets and MLB history.
Really, no one can take that moment away from those five pitchers, this Mets team, the franchise, or the fan base. This will be forever played on SNY, and this is a moment which will be noted somewhere in Citi Field for eternity. It needs to be repeated – nothing can take this away from us.
That includes when Los Angeles Angels pitcher Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was what we have long referred to as a no-hitter, or as Noah Syndergaard put it in his Instagram story, a “real” no-hitter.
Honestly, this is not something which should have been met with any reaction whatsoever. Syndergaard took to celebrating a moment. Instead of analyzing whether he was chiding the Mets or trying to examine why he put quotes around real, we should move on. When Syndergaard was doing this stuff with the Mets, we all loved it.
It’s who he is. He’s a quirky personality. In some ways, it’s why he’s built for the big markets, but more to the point, the second team in the big market. He’s built for the Mets, Angels, or Chicago White Sox. He knows how to garner attention and keep his team in front of the local rival. He’s really good at this.
Whether or not this was a shot at the Mets really doesn’t matter. More to the point, anything anyone says about the co-no, good or bad, really doesn’t matter. That goes for players and analysts alike.
And look, I like that the Mets are having a nice time lately as much as the next person, but this was the first no-hitter of the year. Combined no-hitters are like half birthdays (technically true but otherwise insignificant)
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) May 11, 2022
As an aside here, if you are in the Apple+ TV booth, making comments like this is rather humorous. This is the only “network” who has zero exclusivity to their time slot for a “nationally televised game.” That is even before you consider how maligned that booth has been this season.
Overall, Syndergaard and Keyser can say what they want. Really, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Guess what? The Mets still threw a no-hitter, and this is a first place team who is built to win a World Series. Mets fans have enjoyed every moment of this season, and there are going to be a lot more special moments in store as this team goes deep into October.
When the Mets make the postseason and win the World Series, let’s see what everyone has to say then.
Over the course of a 162 game season, there are going to be games like this. Frankly, Carlos Carrasco just didn’t have it, and as a result the New York Mets just weren’t going to win.
With the Mets winning six straight series to open the season, we shouldn’t be dwelling too much on a game like this. That goes double with the Mets resting players in advance of a travel day.
Where the focus needs to be is how the Mets comport themselves and are rattling their opponents.
Nolan Arenado's reaction following the pitch from Yoan López: pic.twitter.com/7zCFzGh3pw
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
Pete Alonso was pulled to the ground by the Cardinals during the incident: pic.twitter.com/RtlmJRk7x1
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
That was done by the Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp, a coach whose name is reminiscent of what Jimmy Duggan advises young boys to avoid. Things might’ve gotten worse, but Albert Pujols stepped in and de-escalated the situation.
At this point, the Cardinals had hit five batters. That included hitting Alonso in the helmet. Then, they went after him in a scrum.
Chris Bassitt tried to throw the Cardinals pitchers a lifeline by blaming MLB. Instead, Miles Mikolas effectively called Bassitt a liar and said Bassitt needed to take responsibility for his own control issues. Again, this was in response to Bassitt trying to absolve Cardinals pitchers of throwing at his teammates.
After the game, Cardinals manager Oli Marmol not only whined after the non-HBP, but he went on to defend attacking someone from behind:
Oli Marmol said he had "no issue" with how Stubby Clapp tackled Pete Alonso during the benches-clearing incident
"I'm okay with it" pic.twitter.com/TWDhdjy8sJ
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
When Buck Showalter was asked about the same course of events, his reaction was markedly different. He noted how when Alonso was ACTUALLY HIT IN THE HEAD, he went to first base.
Does Buck Showalter think Nolan Arenado's reaction was out of line?
"I know our player got hit in the head and went to first base" pic.twitter.com/E8W0XhW1N0
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 27, 2022
This is where the Mets and Cardinals could not be more different. The Mets are angry they keep getting hit by pitches, but they’re channeling that anger towards beating you. So far, it’s not only worked, but it’s also galvanized the team.
With respect to the Cardinals, they couldn’t handle it. They threw with reckless abandon and kept hitting Mets batters.
When the Mets said, we get what’s happening here. It’s not your fault. The Cardinals response was to tell the Mets to take responsibility.
When the Mets three inside, the Cardinals freaked out and attacked Alonso from behind. Then, they went and pretended like all of their actions were justified.
In the end, the Mets are better than the Cardinals because they’re a better and more mature team. Every time you hit them, they get you back by winning. As for the Cardinals, well, they’re there to whine, complain, and point fingers.
The Mets took two of three, and they’ll have the mental edge when the Cardinals come visit Citi Field.
Another series and another series win for the New York Mets. That’s five in a row to start the season.
2. While the extra inning rule stinks, with Marte’s infield single and Pete Alonso‘s stretch, you can get used to extra inning replays for the Mets.
3. Marte gave the Mets two wins with his speed. It was the infield single, and then, it was the go-ahead run with the double, stolen base, and error on the throw. We’re seeing he can have an impact while still struggling at the plate.
4. Seth Lugo is back. He’s throwing strikes, getting spin on his curve, and dominating again.
5. As we saw with the homer, so is Edwin Diaz. He’s always a mixed bag, so we just have to ride the wave this season.
6. Tylor Megill shook off a rough start to have a very good start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He may very well be a special pitcher.
7. David Peterson did not deserve the demotion. He showed he is a Major League caliber pitcher right now, but he’s still seventh on the depth chart with Taijuan Walker set to return. This is a good problem to have for the Mets.
8. With the rosters shrinking May 1, Trevor Williams is putting himself on the bubble with his struggles. Part of that is Buck Showalter‘s usage of him not allowing him to get into the flow of the season.
9. In some ways, the Mets biggest hit of the season was the James McCann homer. If he gets going at the plate, this is a truly elite team with the way he has framed this season.
10. There aren’t a lot of positives with Trevor May‘s performance so far, but much of that is explainable. He dealt with arms issues, and Showalter is just asking him to do things he has never been comfortable doing in his career.
11. Showalter needs to stop shoehorning Robinson Cano into the lineup. While he can still contribute some, he is just not an everyday player or semi-regular right now. Other players deserve the playing time.
12. Luis Guillorme has earned his playing time, and he should be getting more. The DH allows to get his bat into the lineup and get rest for the outfielders who have been injury prone in their careers.
13. Mark Canha has cooled off, and he still doesn’t have an extra base hit. His hard hit rates are also concerning as is his poor defense to start the season.
14. While he’s had his moments, Alonso has been mostly poor to start the season. His defense has slipped completely, and he’s swinging at a lot of the zone. In some ways, this is very promising because once he gets going, watch out!
15. The Mets are beating bad teams, which is the key to making the postseason. In fact, that’s basically all they did in 2015, and they came within Terry Collins of winning the World Series that year.
16. It is a real shame Michael Conforto is done for the year. Not only is this costing him a year of his prime, but it is also costing the Mets a draft pick and pool money because Conforto had turned down the qualifying offer.
17. Given the year he had, Conforto probably should’ve accepted the qualifying offer and built back his value. That said, the talk around him rejecting the extension is plain wrong. That was a severely discounted offer anyone would’ve rejected.
18. Noah Syndergaard has been excellent to start the season, and Marcus Stroman has been quite bad. This hasn’t been discussed much because the Mets have been excellent with a very good rotation. That’s something the Wilpons never figured out. Make those decisions but make other ones to justify it.
19. In some ways, the Mets are about to get their real first test of the season with a long flight to play the St. Louis Cardinals on the road. This is a true measuring stick of where they are, especially with the Mets having Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt pitching in the series.
20. The Mets are the only team in baseball with 12 wins. It is a really good time to be a Mets fan right now.
It’s Opening Day, so it is time to make some predictions (sure to be wrong) about the 2022 season.
AL East – Toronto Blue Jays.
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
The Chicago White Sox might be better full strength, but losing Lance Lynn is a huge blow. The Twins also made some huge moves adding Carlos Correa, who is among the best in baseball, and they bolstered the rotation with Sonny Gray. With some health from Byron Buxton, they’ll be unstoppable.
AL West – Los Angeles Angels
With Noah Syndergaard, the Angels finally got that big top of the rotation starter, and they addressed the pen adding Aaron Loup. Oh, and by the way, they have the two best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
AL Wild Card 2 – Chicago White Sox – Even with the loss of Lynn, there is still more than enough there to get this team back to the postseason.
AL Wild Card 3 – Houston Astros – Many seem to be downplaying the loss of Correa, but in the end, that division appears to be so weak, especially with the Athletics stripping down, they can still make the postseason.
AL Cy Young – Alek Manoah – This is a darkhorse candidate for sure, but his spin and velocity numbers are off the charts. Also, if the Blue Jays can make Robbie Ray a Cy Young, they sure can do the same with a former first round pick.
AL Rookie of the Year – Bobby Witt Jr. – He seems the consensus pick and for good reason. He’s got the tools, and he’s playing for a team who will let him play.
AL Manager of the Year – Rocco Baldelli – This usually nothing more than an award for whose team exceeded expectations, and it will likely be the Twins this year.
NL East – New York Mets
Yes, the Mets have lost Jacob deGrom, and Brandon Nimmo is battling injuries. However, this is a much improved club over the team who was atop the Atlanta Braves in the standings most of last year. Remember, that Braves team has lost Freddie Freeman, don’t have Ronald Acuna Jr.. back yet, and that bullpen which carried them was taxed.
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals were a disappointment for much of last year, but they turned it on late. They are more analytically inclined to match that roster.
NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are a juggernaut, and they are just going to keep going out and finding ways and players to beat you. Keep in mind, they almost won the pennant, and they added Freeman to an already absolutely stacked roster.
NL Wild Card 1 – Milwaukee Brewers – Aside from the Mets, they have the best rotation in the National League, and that will help carry them to the postseason even in Christian Yelich is still not back to being in his MVP form.
NL Wild Card 2 – San Francisco Giants – They’ll miss Buster Posey and Kevin Gausman, but this was still a very deep team, and they have the players and organization to keep this a postseason caliber team, especially in an expanded postseason format.
NL Wild Card 3 – Philadelphia Phillies – No, the Phillies cannot catch the ball. However, they can absolutely mash, and in that ballpark, they will wear opposing staffs out. They also have the top of the rotation and manager in Joe Girardi to do enough to stay above .500 (again) to claim the last spot.
NL MVP – Francisco Lindor – We’ve seen it time and again with the Mets. The first year is the transition year. The second is the break out year. Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran were denied their MVP, but Lindor will not be this season.
NL Cy Young – Zack Wheeler – Wheeler was an unappreciated ace level pitcher when he was with the Mets, but with the Phillies, he has gotten the chance to shine. He should’ve won last year. He won’t be denied this year.
NL Rookie of the Year – Keibert Ruiz – The Nationals are going to let him play, and he has shown some signs in his brief Major League career.
NL Manager of the Year – Buck Showalter – Again, this is a narrative award, and if the Mets win the division, he is going to get it.
Wild Card Round
Astros over Angels
White Sox over Rays
Mets over Phillies
Brewers over Giants
Blue Jays over Astros
White Sox over Twins
Dodgers over Brewers
Mets over Cardinals
League Championship Series
Blue Jays over White Sox
MVP – George Springer
Mets over Dodgers
MVP – Jacob deGrom
Mets over Blue Jays
MVP – Brandon Nimmo
Babe Ruth is widely considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. In his era, he would out-homer entire teams. When he hit 60 homers in 1927, he passed the single season home run mark. Of course, he was beating his own mark, a feat he would accomplish on a number of occasions.
By the way, Ruth was also an accomplished pitcher. He had a career 122 ERA+, and he once held the record for consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series. No one in the history of baseball would dominate the sport in the way he did.
Fast-forward a century later, and many people scoff at the notion Ruth is the greatest player in Major League history. Their argument is Ruth never faced the type of pitching we see in the modern game. Assuredly, Jacob deGrom and his stuff would make Walter Johnson look like a Four-A pitcher . . . at best.
Of course, part of that misses the point. A century ago, deGrom would never make it to the Major Leagues. Remember, deGrom would undergo Tommy John surgery in 2010. We wouldn’t see Tommy John undergo that surgery until 39 years after Ruth played his last game. To put it further in perspective, medicine was so far behind where it was now that penicillin wasn’t discovered by Alexander Fleming until Ruth was in his 15th Major League season.
If you were to put modern day pitchers back in the game a century ago, they couldn’t compete, or better yet, they wouldn’t be anywhere near the pitchers they are now. There aren’t the modern training techniques or training. There isn’t the focus on changing baseballs as frequently as they do now.
In fact, it was routine until 1920 that one baseball would be used per game. As a result, you would get dirty, heavy, and hard to pick up on baseballs. While that would suppress pitch velocity, it would also reduce exit velocity. It wasn’t until Ray Chapman‘s death, that things would change.
Aside from that, while it is true Ruth probably never saw a pitcher like Noah Syndergaard‘s fastball or slider, pitches were routinely scuffed, and pitchers were permitted to use the spit ball (and likely used many other substances). Fact is, every time Ruth stepped to the plate, he was effectively facing Mike Scott on the mound. Also, keep in mind, someone like Johnson or Smoky Joe Wood was throwing their fastballs in the lower 90s.
Another consideration is during Ruth’s playing days, he routinely used bats which weighted as much as 54 ounces. The modern day bat weighs around 33 – 36 ounces. Ruth was hitting the ball when it was likely mostly thrown in the 70s and 80s. Keep in mind, he was hitting the ball out of ballparks whose fences were typically deeper
Even if we were to assume Ruth could not keep up with the current velocity, he could drop 15 ounces on his bat and be much better positioned to catch up to that velocity. It should also be noted Ruth would be using a significantly better quality bat than he was using a century ago.
That’s exactly the point. If you put Ruth into baseball a century later, he would have every advantage the modern day player has. If you put the modern day player in baseball a century ago, they may not be able to even step on the field. Overall, Ruth dominated his era like no one ever has or ever will. If you gave him all of the modern advantages, or you took them away from the modern player, he would absolutely destroy those pitchers because Ruth was that great.
The New York Mets were on a hot streak. They hired Buck Showalter, and then they started filling out the coaching staff with some well respected candidates.
And then, nothing.
The Mets are looking for a bench coach, and they’re coming up dry. Andy Stankewicz will remain as the head coach of Grand Canyon University.
Suddenly, this search is becoming reminiscent of the Mets GM search. It was then a reminder of the beginning of the Mets offseason when Noah Syndergaard shockingly left the organization to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. Things were bad.
Out of that would eventually emerge Starling Marte and Max Scherzer. With that, the Mets suddenly changed the narrative about the direction of the franchise. Suddenly, the same old Mets became legitimate World Series contenders. It happens that fast.
At this point, the Mets keep striking out on bench coaches. That’s fine. There are still a number of qualified candidates out there, and the Mets will eventually get their guy. If they don’t, well, they still have Marte and Scherzer, so in the end, they will be more than fine.
There’s a gag on the show Archer wherein Archer is essentially asked what he can’t understand, and the answer is, “Core concept.” Right now, this applies to the New York Mets and free agency.
Noah Syndergaard was a free agent, who had a qualifying offer in hand and wanted to return to the Mets. However, while the Mets were focused elsewhere, the Los Angeles Angels and other teams were making their pitch.
The Mets immediate response to Syndergaard’s signing with the Angels was they weren’t given the last chance to sign him. Of course, to make that request, they’d actually have to talk to the player.
Not even a week went by, and the Mets are once again upset a player who wanted to return to the Mets didn’t give them an opportunity to make the final offer. This time, it was Steven Matz.
As the story goes, Matz first contacted the Mets, and the team’s interest was mutual. It was a wide open field, but for whatever reason, the Mets not only we’re going to get the opportunity to match, but they were willing to match the deal Matz signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, that’s not what happened. Matz liked the deal and the opportunity presented by the Cardinals, so he signed with them. Mets owner Steve Cohen was angry:
I’m not happy this morning . I’ve never seen such unprofessional behavior exhibited by a player’s agent.I guess words and promises don’t matter.
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) November 24, 2021
Keep in mind, this was the same Matz the Mets traded for spare parts (Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski). The Mets could’ve extended him last year with zero competition, but they instead traded him.
The Mets getting upset over Syndergaard and Matz not giving them the final chance shows they fail to understand the core concept of free agency. Free agents owe no loyalty to anyone, and they can sign with whomever they want.
For the Mets, you can almost write this off as a fluke. After all, it’s not often these situations present themselves, and it’s really infrequent this happens in a week.
The problem is it’s not just this week. Last year, the Mets thought they had Trevor Bauer signed. Honestly, with the website snafu, everyone did.
When Bauer went to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Alderson complained this was the furthest in the process he went in contract negotiations with a free agent and not get the player. As a result, Anderson and the Mets (fortunately) didn’t sign Bauer.
This marks the third time the Mets thought they were in a great position to sign a player only to come up empty. At some point, that’s a Mets problem and not a agents problem.
Argue over whether the Mets should’ve signed these players all you want. The fact is the Mets lost out on all three, and they wanted all three. That’s a huge problem.
Cohen can pretend it’s the agents fault. It’s not. The Mets are failing to sign players, and all they can do is tweet their way through it.
The Mets need to do better. If they want a player give them a strong offer while they’re there and don’t let them go out and leverage your offer. Just get it done, and then tweet out you actually signed the player.
That’s how free agency works.
There can be a debate as to when the New York Mets knew they needed a front office overhaul. It could’ve been since the start of the season since they failed to hire a president of baseball operations last year.
It could’ve been as late as Zack Scott’s DUI arrest. Whatever the case, the Mets knew before the end of the season they needed a front office overhaul.
What ensued was a protracted search which missed the mark. First, the Mets again gave up on hiring a POBO. Then, it was a GM search.
While this was happening, other teams went to work on their offseason plans. That goes double for the Los Angeles Angels.
While the Mets had no leadership and no plan, Noah Syndergaard signed with the Angels. While the Mets had radio silence, the Angels were laying out their plan from their assembled front office. The sales pitch and uncertainty had an effect on Syndergaard and his decision:
"This is kind of a make or break time for me. I didn't want to gamble on that kind of uncertainty that was going on with them"
Noah Syndergaard after he was asked if the Mets' GM and managerial search impacted his free agency decision pic.twitter.com/qIzgRxwYXz
— SNY (@SNYtv) November 19, 2021
While Syndergaard was due partially to confusion over the front office, Aaron Loup was something else. Loup was great for the Mets, and he wanted to stay. He didn’t.
During the Mets exclusive window to negotiate with Loup, they were trying to assemble a front office. Again, while this was happening, the Angels were making their pitch to Loup. Obviously, it was a successful one.
So, Billy Eppler hasn’t been on the job for a week, and he’s seen Syndergaard and Loup leave. That’s not to say the Mets aren’t moving. After all, they’re pursuing Steven Matz.
Again, the Mets are working from behind. The Angels aren’t and have struck twice. Who knows where this stops, especially with Marcus Stroman still a free agent.
The Mets have time to act, but free agent starters are flying off the board. More to the point, the Angels are taking some of their best pitchers, and it’s possible it’ll happen again soon.
Noah Syndergaard shocked New York Mets fans when he accepted a one year deal from the Los Angeles Angels for one year for $21 million. That was worth more than the $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Mets.
Up until this point, Syndergaard had made it clear he wanted to stay with the Mets. That was until free agency began. After that, the Mets cut off all communication, and while the Mets were quick to point out they didn’t get an opportunity to match, they also weren’t going to match.
Noah Syndergaard to the Angels is a significant loss for the Mets, who need to add probably two starting pitchers this offseason.
The Mets had a lengthy, exclusive window to sign Syndergaard, who was open about his desire and expectation to stay in New York. They didn’t take it.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 16, 2021
The response from Mets fans hasn’t been bewilderment over how the team let a rehabbing ace leave. It wasn’t irritation over Sandy Alderson cutting off communication with Syndergaard like he once did with Daniel Murphy, Another Mets star who desperately wanted to stay.
Like many players, free agent Marcus Stroman especially, Syndergaard is very online. He was part of the conversation, and at times, he drove it. We also know he can be sensitive. This is the same Syndergaard who will be a free agent after the 2022 season.
We all should be expecting Syndergaard to have the Zack Wheeler type turnaround at the end of 2022 and heading into 2023. Certainly, money will dictate, like it did here, but seeing the treatment on his way out the door, why would Syndergaard want to return to this fanbase?
This is the same fanbase who had an issue mercilessly booing players this season. Incredibly, that initially happened when the Mets were in first place.
Homegrown player Michael Conforto was booed as he tried to return from COVID. Francisco Lindor was booed as he struggled to adapt to New York and all the things Chili Davis did wrong as a hitting coach.
When Javier Baez was acquired, things went from bad to worse. Baez crossed the line booing back with the thumbs down, and he dragged Lindor into it. That caused the fans to get worse until Báez was great again.
At that point, Báez was cheered and was loved. Keep in mind, Báez is a free agent. He initially talked about wanting to stay to play with his best friend, and we know Alderson has always loved him as a player.
Will Báez return? Who knows? Not everyone is Mike Piazza and wants to deal with the booing and fight to overcome it. No, some players don’t want to have to deal with the negativity which comes with the boos, Twitter nonsense, and sports radio and SNY trying to come up with the biggest nonsense.
Believe it or not, players want to get paid and play. They want to win. They want to be loved and respected by the fans.
They don’t want to deal with fans who turn their back on players because they leave, get hurt/sick, or struggle. They don’t want to deal with fans dumb enough to buy the outright lies Alderson continues to feed them (remember payroll will increase when attendance does?)
As fans, you are permitted to do whatever you want, and you can continue to parrot whatever ownership tells you. However, at some point, you have to question when is your collective behavior going to be counterproductive and keep some players away.
After all, if Syndergaard does break out, why would we want to return in 2022 after the way he was treated? What would he say to other players who are thinking of playing for the Mets? Therein lies the problem.
When Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, one of the talking points was the Mets are going to benefit from the draft pick acquired. The way things are going that may need to be their focus.
Syndergaard leaving is another big hit to the Mets already thin pitching depth. That’s problematic given all the question marks that rotation had even when Syndergaard was expected to be a Met in 2022. If this rotation falters, this is a team who is going to be given no choice but to rebuild.
Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco are coming off injury plagued years, and they are 33 and 34 respectively. With deGrom having an opt out after the 2022 season, they can both be free agents. Taijuan Walker can also be a free agent after the season. Walker had a great first half in 2021, but he faltered in the second half and would ultimately finish the season with a 90 ERA+.
As stands right now, the last two spots in the rotation would go to David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Peterson followed a poor 2020 from a peripheral stat perspective with poor 2021 stats and a season ending injury. He showed flashes, but ultimately, he looked like he was not ready. Megill burst onto the scene, but he tired quickly and fell apart at the end of the season, which is quite understandable.
Given the dearth of Triple-A pitching depth, the Mets need to sign two starters to allow Peterson and Megill to further develop and try to limit their innings a bit. Given where the prices are now, Marcus Stroman is going to need around a $25 million AAV to re-sign. Realistically speaking, it’s going to cost at least $40 million to fix the starting pitching.
Keep in mind, starting pitching is far from the Mets only problem. With Michael Conforto a free agent, and the Mets never getting a left fielder over the last three years, they need to fill-in two-thirds of their outfield. Left field could potentially be filled by Jeff McNeil, but the team needs to both hope they fill in two infield spots while also hoping McNeil rebounds from a nightmare 2021.
That is also before you consider Brandon Nimmo is going to be after the 2022 season. In reality, the Mets will have to figure out how to fill out an entire outfield over the course of two seasons. While McNeil may be the proverbial cheap choice, he is now an arbitration eligible player and will be more expensive. Thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen, the same goes for Pete Alonso.
While the Mets are figuring out how to pay two more starters, having to pay arbitration salaries to Alonso and McNeil, they will also have Robinson Cano‘s salary on the books. Unless Cano has a Jenrry Mejia situation, he is going to get $24 million in 2022 and 2023 ($3.75 will be paid by the Seattle Mariners).
Maybe Cano can take over second or third. Maybe he is a utility player. If the DH comes to the NL, he could be the DH. It’s also possible he’s just an overpaid pinch hitter or a player who will need to be released. In any event, that’s a lot of dead payroll weight when the team is potentially looking to re-sign Javier Baez to play alongside his friend Francisco Lindor. On Baez, he’s projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a $20 million AAV.
Before the Mets look to rebuild their bullpen with Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, or build depth with Jonathan Villar being a free agent, they will add at least $84 million to the payroll to add two starters, re-sign Baez, and do whatever they are going to do with Cano. Again, that is before building a bullpen and depth, and it is also before arbitration.
From a competitive balance tax threshold, the Mets payroll is $128.45 million before arbitration. Adding $84 million puts it at $212.45 million. According the MLB Trade Rumors model, the arbitration salaries could increase the payroll by an additional $49.4 million. That puts the Mets payroll at $261.85 million before they fill in their vacancies at second, third, left field, right field, the bench, and the bullpen.
That’s also before they figure out potential extensions for players like Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Nimmo. It’s also before they try to figure out a way to get deGrom to decline his opt out. The question is do the Mets really want to have a payroll around $300 million for the 2022 season? Based on what we saw in 2021, the answer is a clear no. However, we heard some rumors as to why the Mets didn’t go past the threshold.
Sure, with some creativity and shrewd moves, the Mets may not need to get to the $300 million threshold to compete in the NL East. Then again, this team is going to hire Billy Eppler as the GM. Taking a look at the complete picture, the Mets realistically have two options: (1) spend like no one has before; or (2) rebuild. Losing Syndergaard tilted it a little more towards rebuild, but it is still early in the offseason.