The New York Mets are a team in recent years that has been saddled with high expectations and has thus far failed to live up to those expectations. Many long time Mets fans will pin the blame on poor ownership from the Wilpon family who had been the sole owners of the franchise since 2002. Those snakebitten fans will now find relief that the team has reportedly been sold to billionaire Steve Cohen for a record $2.4 billion.
Cohen, whose bid won out against an investment group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez has a large task at hand if he wants his new team back in the postseason. The Mets haven’t made a postseason appearance since 2016 and under the Wilpon regime were certainly not regular fixtures. Here is a baseline of how Cohen’s new Mets should attack the first offseason to make it back to the postseason.
The Mets starting rotation figured to be a major strength before the start of the season but that hasn’t quite been the case in the COVID shortened season. The opt out of Marcus Stroman put the rotation in a hole early after already losing Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery. Steven Matz has also failed to follow up on a solid 2019 campaign failing to pick up a win and posted an unsightly 9.79 ERA.
The Mets, under the regime of new owner Steve Cohen and GM Brodie Van Wagenen should address the rotation first and foremost. The big prize they should be after in free agency should be 2020 Reds standout Trevor Bauer. Bauer has compiled a 1.80 ERA in 65 innings pitched with 88 strikeouts. Pairing the current Cincinnati Reds ace with a returning Syndergaard and perennial Cy Young contender Jacob deGrom would be a formidable three headed dragon.
The Mets could do well to take a flier on a rebound guy like Taijuan Walker who had himself a nice season.
Center field has been a black hole for the Mets for the past few seasons now with the offseason leading up the 2020 season seeing them seek yet another answer in Jake Marisnick. Marisnick has had a season marred with injury having only logged 34 plate appearances but posted good peripheral numbers with a 158 wRC+, .402 wOBA and a .606 slugging percentage. Marisnick also did this on a likely unsustainable BABIP of .402 and struck out at a rate of almost 30%. The Mets also traded Blake Taylor to the Houston Astros as part of the deal for Marisnick to make matters worse. The Mets will undoubtedly also seek bullpen help and giving up a reliever with 5 years of team control left who pitched to a 2.18 ERA for a rental hurts.
Marisnick is slated to become a free agent and the Mets should look to upgrade. Making a run at one of the top free agents in the class, George Springer should be a priority. Springer has quietly had a very good season with a struggling Astros team, notching 13 home runs in 199 plate appearances with a 139 wRC+ in a 1.5 WAR campaign. Springer would be a perfect complimentary bat near the top of the batting order and play his usual solid defense in center.
The loss of Yoenis Cespedes when he elected to opt out left the Mets with a hole in the offense which struggled hitting this season, especially with runners on base. Pete Alonso failed to build on his rookie of the year season and the emerging J.D Davis has also struggled. Getting those two back to form and replacing the production from the departing Cespedes should be addressed in the offseason. Signing a bat that could fit in the corner outfield spot Cespedes has vacated should be an equal priority. Michael Brantley is a veteran leader who would bring a valuable contact focused bat to a team that has the ability to hit for power with his .310/.374/.877 slash line.
The Mets, now under the new rule of Steve Cohen also face the challenge of the logjam at first base.Dominic Smith was the Mets best hitter in 2020 and he plays the same position as franchise cornerstone Pete Alonso. The universal designated hitter rule isn’t slated to come into effect until the 2022 season and the Mets will have to find a way for Smith to hit every day.
The Mets have the framework to build a contender under this new ownership group. Steve Cohen will be hoping the right additions in the offseason could finally push them over the hump.
Last modified: March 4, 2021 2:45 PM