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The Fall of a World Series Favorite: What’s Next For The New York Mets?
Just two months ago the Mets held a 10.5-game lead over the rest of the NL East and comfortably sat as projected division winners for months. They had all the makings of a World Series Champion–they had phenomenal starting pitching, a few all-star bats, the NL batting champion, and a gritty lineup that never quit. This was a team that looked lost and broken in 2021–whether it was squabbling teammates fighting over rats and raccoons, or starting pitchers that couldn’t stay healthy, the 2021 Mets left fans with low hopes coming into this season. No one would have ever guessed that the Mets would ever hold a 10.5 game lead over the Braves in August, and no one would dare to imagine that the team would eventually go on to win 101 games. Heck, no one would even think they'd make it to the postseason--but, what every Met fan could have predicted was gutwrenching, heartbreaking defeat–and boy, did that happen in 2022.
If you’re a Mets fan, I won't make you relive the pain of the last few months, don’t worry. All you can say about it is the Braves got hot–real hot–and the Mets simply couldn’t deliver when the lights were brightest. We all should have seen that series in Atlanta as the omen it was always meant to be–this Mets team, despite all their regular season success, just did not have what it takes.
I’m sorry, but you can’t get one-hit in the most important game of the year and chalk it up to a “bad day.”
So, all we can do now is look forward–what’s next for the Mets? They have a ton of players expected to enter free agency, and among them is 2-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob DeGrom, who started your only postseason win this year. Is he worth the price tag, or is it better to let him walk? Let’s take a look.
Mets Projected Free Agency Splash
DeGrom isn’t the only one to become a free agent this offseason–he will be joined by Edwin Diaz, Chris Bassitt, and Brandon Nimmo, who were all key parts of the Mets regular season success. Diaz had the season of his career, and became a Mets legend this season thanks to his trumpet-themed closer walkout. Letting him walk would be a catastrophe, as the Mets have struggled for bullpen competence for literal decades.
The Mets should also look to resign Nimmo, but only if the price is right. Nimmo is a great fielder that will give you 100% every time he steps on the field–he even runs to first base after a walk. He’s a guy you’d love to have on your team, but not necessarily one you NEED, so he should be paid accordingly. Something around the range of 5 years, $75 million should do the trick.
While Nimmo surely is a key part to this Mets team, he shouldn’t be the focal point of Steve Cohen’s attention. Edwin Diaz and Jacob DeGrom are MUST SIGNS this offseason, and you’ll probably have to throw a bag their way in order to get the deal done. The highest-paid closer in the MLB right now is Kenley Jansen, who makes around $16 million a year. I think if the Mets offered Diaz a three-year, $60 million deal–making him the highest-paid closer in baseball–it would be almost impossible to turn down. While that would be a record-breaking number for his position, it still leaves some room for DeGrom, who, if I’m being honest, will most likely not pitch for the Mets next season. Judging by interviews and press conferences, he just seems done with the organization. I think the Mets will also let Bassitt walk, and Taijuan Walker, who is also a free agent in 2023, is up in the air. So, the Mets will obviously have a gaping hole left at starting pitcher. So, who is left to sign?
Projected 2023 Starting Pitcher Free Agents
While this offseason’s free agent pool is nothing like the one we saw last season, it still has some massive names in it. In fact, two of the biggest pitchers in the last decade will likely be free agents this offseason, as Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander both have expiring offers. While I see Kershaw staying in LA to play with the Dodgers, I think the Mets can make a serious push for Verlander. They already proved that they are not afraid to throw a bag at aging pitchers, so the money may be too much for Verlander to turn down.
In addition, Giants starter Carlos Rodon will likely opt out of his player option this offseason, thus throwing his hat into the free agency pool as well. Rodon has been an injury magnet throughout his career, but has proven he has what it takes to pitch at a high level. In 2021 with the White Sox, Rodon went 15-5 with a 2.37 ERA, and this year with the Giants he went 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA. I’m sure the Mets would love to have Rodon in the rotation, but I would be reluctant to give him anything more than two years.
Moving on from the bigger names, there are some middle-rotation guys that could definitely help fill out this Mets staff. Luis Severino could decide to cross town from the Bronx and play in Queens next year, or Nathan Eovaldi can search for a change of scenery and join the Mets. Whoever it is, there are options–we just have to see if the Mets are as enticed by them as I am.
Predictions for the 2023 Season
Listen, I know the series ended yesterday–but I just can’t help myself from looking ahead. If the Mets do in fact lose DeGrom, Bassitt, and Walker this offseason, there is undoubtedly tons of work to be done. However, Mets owner Steve Cohen has proven he’s not afraid to spend money, so no problems to big for Stevie Moneybags. I think the Mets will be fine next year–they’ll have another great year out of Alonso, McNeil will only get better, and their young prospects (Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez) will have a full offseason to prepare for Major League ball.
If you also think the Mets will be cruising back to the playoffs next year, you can be sure to bet on them through any of these New Jersey Online Casinos.