After a disappointing loss in the Wild Card Series, the New York Mets remade their rotation and re-shaped their bench. Are they better? Well, we’re about to find out:
1. The Mets are going to miss Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, and Dominic Smith. With Lugo and Smith, they are getting the opportunities they always wanted, and for deGrom, well, let’s hope he can be the AL Cy Young. Best of luck to all of them.
2. The Mets having Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander lead their rotation is a fever dream. Last time the Mets had this much greatness atop their rotation was 2015 when deGrom and Matt Harvey pitched the Mets to a pennant.
3. With the shift ban and other rule changes, Jeff McNeil may hit .400. If he does, you know he will be the NL MVP, so starting right now, we are accepting all passengers on the McNeil MVP Hype Train.
4. Kodai Senga looks like the real deal, and his ghost sinker will likely be a bigger sensation than Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s gyroball or Hideo Nomo‘s wind-up and splitter. Look for him to be an All-Star and have a big year.
5. The best news to come out of spring training was José Quintana‘s tumor being benign. Whenever he comes back, he comes back.
6. It was not the way you wanted to see it happen, but David Peterson got the rotation spot he should have received. He should have a good year, and with the age in the Mets rotation, he may just make more starts than any other Mets pitcher.
7. Obviously, the Mets are going to miss Edwin Díaz immensely. It appears he is gone for the season, but you never know, especially if the Mets go deep into October.
8. One thing the Díaz injury highlighted was the importance of signing David Robertson. With him, the Mets have a closer in their bullpen who has thrived in New York. This was just a good signing.
9. The other thing the Díaz injury highlights is the Mets could have done more to build the bullpen. Obviously, you understood the team not spending or pursuing free agents after the Carlos Correa deal fell through, but when it was clear that money wasn’t going to be spent, Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin were still free agents. Not pivoting to them was a mistake Billy Eppler cannot justify.
10. There is absolutely no justification for Brett Baty not being on the Opening Day roster. Put aside the fact he won the job in spring training (if there was a competition). Everyone says he’s better than Eduardo Escobar right now, and more to the point, the Mets gave him the job in August.
11. The Mets were right to designate Darin Ruf for assignment. His wrist was holding him back, and the team needed to find someone else for the job. Now, that job should have gone to Escobar or Mark Canha, but that is a fight for another day.
12. With the shift rules and pitch clock, there will be more emphasis on contact and defense. While we know these rules are perfect for McNeil, it is another reason why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.
13. Again, the Mets ideal lineup is with McNeil in left, Guillorme at second, and Baty at third. We may need to see that sooner rather than later because Canha finished the year miserably and was non-competitive in the postseason. It may just be he will be far more effective as a part-time or semi-regular player.
14. The Mets bench is flat out bad. Tommy Pham really is just another version of Ruf, and Tim Locastro may just be a worse version of Travis Jankowski. Hopefully, when the Mets finally call up Baty, it will move Escobar and/or Canha to the bench. At that point, this will be a deep and dangerous roster.
15. Francisco Lindor is a great player in his prime. We are very lucky he is a member of the New York Mets, and we can look forward to the day he wears a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque and sees his 12 retired.
16. Aaron Judge broke the rookie home run record in 2017. Two years later, Pete Alonso broke the record. Last year, Judge hit 62. Lets just say this year will be a stepping stone for Alonso’s epic 2024 season.
17. Omar Narváez and Tomás Nido are going to be such a good tandem behind that plate that it is unfortunately going to keep Francisco Álvarez in Triple-A most of the year. Of course, if there is an injury, and Álvarez goes on a tear, the Mets might just be forced to keep him in the majors.
18. The fans clamoring for Álvarez, Baty, Ronny Mauricio, and Mark Vientos is a sign of just how good each of those prospects are and just how bright the Mets future is. As good as 2023 will be, 2024 will be better when they take on bigger roles.
19. Brandon Nimmo is a Met for life poised to break many team records. It’s sad that he couldn’t be joined by Michael Conforto (who the Mets needed), but we should celebrate Nimmo’s path to being one of the true Mets greats.
20. During the regular season, the Mets may be the third best team in the division. The early schedule is tough. The bench is bad. The older roster will have some nicks. However, in the end, when it matters most, this is a postseason team who will be set up well to win the World Series. Repeat, the Mets will win the 2024 World Series.
Back when Steve Cohen first purchased the New York Mets, the team was very close to signing Trevor Bauer. That was even with there being issues with Bauer and his treatment of women. It’s fair to say the rumors weren’t at the levels of what would eventually led to Bauer receiving the largest ever suspension in Major League history, but there was something there.
Now, the Mets are in winner-take-all mode. This is an offseason where the Mets gave Edwin Diaz a record deal for a reliever, and they gave Brandon Nimmo the largest deal ever to a homegrown Mets player. Oh, by the way, the team also signed Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, and Omar Narvaez. They also did all they could do to sign Carlos Correa.
Cohen wants to win, and apparently, the Mets finish to the regular season and Wild Card round exit has only spurred him to push harder. That leads to Bauer being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s now a free agent with any team able to sign him for $720,000.
For Cohen, that amount is something he finds in his couch cushions. Based on his unprecedented spending spree this offseason, that is nothing to him. Certainly, you can argue he should use that money to sign Bauer like the Mets wanted to do back before Bauer signed with the Dodgers.
After all, by signing Bauer, the Mets would exclusively control his rights. They can use that to make sure he never pitches in a game in 2023 and perhaps never again. They would being a civic duty by doing this.
This is also doing a favor to baseball. Remember, back when Cohen was snatching up free agents, one of the prevailing rumors was the other 29 owners were angry with him and would be complaining to the commissioner if they had not already. By signing Bauer and not playing him, Cohen would be doing the other owners a favor.
First, he would be ensuring Bauer doesn’t play. Second, he would be saving the other owners from themselves. After all, we see what the Atlanta Braves did with signing Marcell Ozuna, and the Chicago Cubs did with their keeping Addison Russell. Sometimes, teams and Major League Baseball needs to be protected from themselves.
Here, Cohen should be the hero. Sign Bauer and then never play him. Let him rot into obscurity. Push him a further year away from ever playing again making the chances of him ever playing again all the more remote.
When the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series, it was the first time the Mets were in the postseason since they were in the postseason in 2016. In fact, that marked just the second time in team history the Mets went to the postseason in consecutive seasons.
While just seven years ago, none of the players from those 2015-2016 Mets teams are around anymore. Actually, that’s not entirely true with Jerry Blevins working on the SNY postgame and occasionally filling in for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.
Blevins isn’t the only player who is retired. Look back at their starting lineup in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Almost all of those players are retired:
- Curtis Granderson – retired
- David Wright – retired
- Daniel Murphy – retired
- Yoenis Cespedes – attempting a comeback after retiring
- Lucas Duda – retired
- Travis d’Arnaud – Atlanta Braves
- Michael Conforto – San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores – San Francisco Giants
- Kelly Johnson – retired
That is five retired and one more effectively retired. Notably, with Johnson, we saw Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinch hit in that DH spot, and both are now retired. If anything, it would seem the San Francisco Giants is the official team of the 2015 Mets.
As we see with Conforto and Flores, there are still some of those Mets players still in the majors, Matt Harvey notwithstanding. However, when Jacob deGrom signing with the Texas Rangers, there are currently no players from that team still with the Mets organization.
When Seth Lugo signed with the San Diego Padres, that left the Mets with absolutely no pitchers from that two year run. When Conforto signed with the Giants, that meant Brandon Nimmo was the only Mets player from that two year stretch to remain with the Mets, and he only played in 32 games.
When deGrom signed with the Rangers, we obviously lamented the second greatest Met ever leaving the organization. However, it was Conforto and Lugo leaving which officially turned the page on those teams with so much promise which ultimately fell apart due to the Wilpons malfeasance and cheapness.
In a sense, we should welcome this chapter forever being closed. Now, it is all about Steve Cohen and how he runs the Mets. So far this offseason, that means Nimmo is a Met for life in addition to adding Justin Verlander, Koudai Senga, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Omar Narvaez and hopefully, Carlos Correa. Oh, and by the way, the Mets brought back Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino.
So yes, it is sad to see a part of Mets history gone, but we will have those memories. More than that, we have an exciting new era and owner. Now, it is time to just wait for Correa to sign, and the Mets to win a World Series.
You’ve got Verlander, Mr. Cohen,
You filled the deGrom sized hole,
Your pocket is full of dollars, you have Gotham in your soul, Mr. Cohen,
I couldn’t touch your pitching with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!
You’re a rotter, Mr. Cohen,
You’re the king of concession spots,
Your ballparks got helmet nachos with Mr. Softee instead of those lame Dippin’ Dots, Mr. Cohen,
You’re a three decker sauerkraut hotdog and double burger with extra Shack sauce!
You nauseate me, Mr. Cohen,
With a payroll super cost!,
You’re Scherzer is joined by a Koudai, and you sold McCann at a loss, Mr. Cohen,
Your opponents are left as an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most intimidating
assortment of pitches imaginable putting batters in tangled up knots!
You’re a foul one, Mr. Cohen,
You’re Omar catches pitches that sunk,
Your Edwin had us soil our jocks, your Quintana puts us in a funk, Mr. Cohen,
The three words that best describe the NL East opponents follows, and I quote,
“Stink, stank, stunk”!
EDITORS NOTE: Adapted from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
Truth be told, Steve Cohen has been spending at a level no one anticipated. We should have anticipated there would be backlash to that with Major League Baseball trying to establish a system to discourage spending to build a team.
To some degree, you have to give the other owners credit. They were tight-lipped last offseason when the New York Mets free agent spree was highlighted by Max Scherzer and Starling Marte in addition to the Mets trading for Chris Bassitt.
They bit their tongues as the Mets signed Justin Verlander, José Quintana, David Robertson, and Koudai Senga in addition to re-signing Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo. It’s fair to assume they weren’t happy, but they didn’t react publicly. Then, Carlos Correa happened.
Cohen and the Mets initially made a too late push for Correa, and Correa signed with the San Francisco Giants. To be fair, the Giants offered more than the Mets were willing to offer. If you were a skeptic, you were left believing Scott Boras was using Cohen and the Mets to extract every last dollar from the Giants.
After that, Correa “failed” his physical leading the Giants to try to renegotiate the deal. Boras being Boras treated this as an opportunity to re-open the bidding for Correa with the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers re-entering the picture. In the end, it would be the Mets who signed Correa to a 12 year $315 million deal.
This is what caused the rest of baseball to snap. In an article from The Athletic by Evan Drellich, the other owners, who did not go on record, spoke about this disdain about how Cohen has conducted his business this offseason. There were a few choice quotes speaking about how Cohen was not stopped by control measures put in place for him to not outspend what other owners and markets were willing to do.
Note, the choice of the word willing isn’t of able. That choice was highlighted by an unnamed source who said, “There’s no collusion. But . . . there was a reason nobody for years ever went past $300 million. You still have partners, and there’s a system.” Another choice quote was, “We’ve got somebody with three times the median payroll and has no care whatsoever for the long-term of these contracts, in terms of the risk associated with any of them.”
Essentially, owners don’t like or feeling comfortable going to the lengths Cohen has been willing to go. That’s not the same as can’t go. They don’t want to go there, and as Drellich astutely points out, owners are not happy Cohen is raising the price of player contracts.
This is much in the same way the Wilpons restricted player salaries. They had a team in the largest market in the world, and they couldn’t spend on players. Having a very large market out on a player suppressed player salaries, which is why other owners had zero issues with the Wilpons.
They didn’t care about the psyche of Mets fans or what not having a large market non-competitive for all but two years in a decade was doing to the growth of the sport. All they cared about is players were cheaper. They left money and growth at the table to make their bottom line better. Now, they’re faced with the choice of spending a little more to be competitive, or as we see with the Tampa Bay Rays, find real ways to be competitive other than artificially suppressing player salaries.
Make no mistake here, the other 29 owners didn’t give a damn about their fans, especially Mets fans. It was all about their profit margin, which is what Cohen is directly impacting despite their efforts to stand in the way. In the end, not one fan should care what they think because they certainly didn’t care about Mets fans when the Wilpons were actively destroying baseball.
When Steve Cohen took over the New York Mets and went on an unprecedented spending spree for the franchise, there were hopes he would land Carlos Correa. In fact, here, it was discussed how Correa was a future Hall of Famer and a perfect fit for the Mets.
To our shock and surprise, the Mets made a run at Correa this offseason even after re-signing Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo in addition to signing Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Koudai Senga, and Omar Narvaez.. We thought Cohen had his limits, but apparently, he doesn’t have a limit. He is just that intent on winning the World Series this season.
Well, Correa had an issue with his physicals, and Scott Boras does not renegotiate based on physicals. So, when the San Francisco Giants balked, Boras went right back to the Mets, who were apparently happy to re-offer the 13 year $315 million contract they were willing to give Correa. Just like that, one year later, the Mets got their perfect fit.
When healthy, Correa is just as good as any player in the game. With the exception of last year, he’s an exceptional fielder, and you can argue last year was an indication he needed to move to third now anyway. He is a phenomenal hitter who hits the ball hard and draws walks. His only weakness is his back, and we should note the Giants did not balk at the physicals when it came to Correa’s back.
There is nothing to like about this move for the Mets. The lineup is deeper and more potent. The infield defense is so much better in a year with no shift. It is going to accelerate position changes on Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and Ronny Mauricio they were eventually going to need to make anyway. Again, this is a great move from every angle.
More than the fit, what really stands out is Cohen really is doing everything possible to win. After years of the Wilpons tomfoolery, we see how a New York team really should operate. For every owner who claims they don’t have money to expand the payroll, Cohen is showing that to be complete and utter nonsense. He is making a mockery of every owners excuses.
New York Mets fans knew the Wilpons could do much more than they did. They deserved better after the Wilpons. We expected more. However, in no way did we ever or could we ever expect this. This was simply astounding, and World Series or not, we can just appreciate a team really trying to win a World Series.
Looking at the New York Mets rotation, it wasn’t just that it felt they needed another starter. They really needed to add a starter with upside.
Arguably, the Mets would have been fine with one of Tylor Megill or David Peterson. However, the team needs to manufacture pitching depth, and a team who is all-in on winning the World Series needed better.
Ideally, they needed a pitcher who has real upside. Someone who could give them something they didn’t quite have. Well, the Mets found the right guy with Koudai Senga.
Senga signed with the Mets partially because he said he wanted to win now. He’s also well versed in analytics and wants a team who can help him further understand and grow. Mostly, he signed with the Mets because they are now THE destination team in Major League Baseball.
The Mets wanted Senga because he’s been a great pitcher with great stuff. He can hit 102 MPH on the gun and has a pitched dubbed the ghost forkball.
Senga, 29, pitched last season foe the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League. Over 22 starts, he pitched 144.0 innings (6.2 innings per start). He was 11-6 with a 1.94 RRA, 1.056 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 9.8 K/9.
He completely dominated the Japanese Leagues. He’s one of their best pitchers ever, and we saw a record setting pitcher there.
If you want a downside, people can and will point you to the theory Japanese pitchers don’t translate well to the majors. Of course, that’s complete nonsense.
Sure, a pitcher like Daisuke Matsuzaka was disappointing. There are other examples including the times when the Mets grabbed pitchers like Satoru Komiyama and dubbed him and his ERA always hovering around 4.00 as the Japanese Greg Maddux.
As an aside, how did the Wilpons ever get away with stuff like that.
While the disappointments have been highlighted and discussed ad nauseum, there have been success stories. Hideo Nomo was a good Major League, a Rookie of the Year, an All-Star, and threw to no-hitters. Masahiro Tanaka was a big game pitcher for the New York Yankees.
Japanese pitchers can and will succeed in the majors. There’s no reason to believe with the Mets infrastructure and pitching coach like Jeremy Hefner that Senga won’t succeed.
The Mets needed a pitcher like Senga to take them to the next level. They got him, and now, their chances of winning the World Series have increased exponentially.