That is shaping as much as be probably the most vital offseason in Steve Cohen’s tenure because the New York Mets’ proprietor.
Sounds acquainted, doesn’t it? Nicely, it is for actual this time. Cohen has been working a little bit bit with no rudder, and he discovered his rudder — and the wanted captain for his Citi Subject ship — by hiring David Stearns because the membership’s first director of baseball operations. And Stearns wasted no time making his first impactful transfer, notifying supervisor Buck Showalter the membership was heading in a brand new path in that function.
It wasn’t a lot that Showalter did something improper, however Stearns wished his personal rent in that function. Is sensible, however stinks for Showalter.
What else is on Stearns’ agenda? How about something and every part? There’s a lot of work to be performed, of which participant choices are solely a part of it. However that’s the noticeable half, so let’s check out how this offseason may form up for the Mets.
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Mets three offseason targets
1. Signal Shohei Ohtani. The very smartest factor Stearns did in his introductory press convention was to say the Mets weren’t, in reality, punting on the 2024 season. Cohen reportedly needs nothing greater than to signal the world’s largest baseball star, and for good cause. However Ohtani has seen sufficient seasons punted in his time with the Angels, and he’s not signing anyplace that doesn’t count on to compete in 2024. If Ohtani’s solely aim is to signal the largest contract obtainable, the Mets ought to go forward and begin prepping for the press convention. Cohen is not going to be out-bid. Nevertheless it’s not his sole standards, after all. The Mets have to point out they’re dedicated to profitable, and they’re heading in that path.
2. Construction the group. Cohen has talked about this prior to now, about not simply the splashy signings however constructing the group in the best way it must be constructed, in a means that was uncared for by the earlier house owners. Getting Stearns in place was an enormous step, and that may occupy loads of Stearns’ time this offseason. That features hiring a brand new supervisor and determining the teaching workers for 2024 and past.
3. Resolve the Alonso dilemma. Pete Alonso has few friends as a slugger — his “worst” dwelling run whole in a full season is 37 — and he’s a free agent after the 2024 season. It’s laborious to think about he’ll play out subsequent summer time in limbo, so as soon as Stearns will get a deal with on a couple of different issues, he’ll have to determine whether or not he’s signing Alonso to an extension or buying and selling him for reinforcements. The extension received’t be low cost; Alonso is heading into his Age 29 season, and he’ll be on the lookout for a contract much like what Aaron Decide acquired final offseason (8-9 years, $350 million-plus). Even with Cohen’s wealth, that’s not nothing, particularly contemplating all the opposite areas of want with this crew.
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Mets free brokers
SP Carlos Carrasco: Everybody loves Carrasco as an individual, however the membership’s backside line received’t miss his 6.80 ERA in 20 begins. Heading into his Age 37 season.
Mets free-agent targets
The listing begins with Ohtani, clearly. However proper up there on the prime is Ohtani’s teammate on Staff Japan from the WBC this spring, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He’s dominated in Japan and he’s simply heading into his Age 25 season. Significantly, look.
2021: 1.39 ERA, 9.6 Okay/9, 0.847 WHIP
2022: 1.68 ERA, 9.6 Okay/9, 0.927 WHIP
2023: 1.21 ERA, 9.1 Okay/9, 0.866 WHIP
These numbers, by the best way, are higher than Kodai Senga’s numbers in Japan, and he came to visit to MLB final yr and was excellent for the Mets.
With Jeff McNeil’s potential to play a couple of positions, the membership has some choices when trying on the free agent market. However right here’s a query: Are they happy with Brett Baty at third base? He was a extremely regarded prospect, and he positively had some good moments in 2023 within the bigs, however had lengthy stretches the place he struggled, and his remaining numbers (.212 common, 65 OPS+) aren’t precisely stellar. In the event that they don’t consider in him, do they open up the pocketbook for Matt Chapman? His bat isn’t what it was once, however he’s nonetheless an elite defender and is the perfect infielder on the free-agent market this offseason.
They’ve an outfield opening, too. Cody Bellinger, who had an excellent rebound yr for the Cubs, would definitely match. Possibly veteran Teoscar Hernandez? Joc Pederson? Any outfielder introduced in would most likely determine into the combination at DH, too. Daniel Vogelbach didn’t hit sufficient (104 OPS+, 13 homers) to maintain a maintain on that job. Possibly Rhys Hoskins?
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Mets potential commerce targets
This doesn’t essentially really feel like a giant commerce offseason for the Mets. There are answers to be discovered on the free-agent market, and the membership’s dedicated to constructing from inside, so buying and selling away prime prospects doesn’t actually match that mannequin. Except, after all, it’s a scenario the place they commerce for a soon-to-be-free agent and signal him to an extension (hello, Corbin Burnes!). Now, in the event that they’re in competition at subsequent yr’s commerce deadline and want reinforcements? That’s while you’ll see motion.
Mets on the buying and selling block
The Mets did most of their buying and selling earlier than the deadline, however there are names. Jose Quintana pitched effectively when wholesome, however he spent a lot of the season on the IL. He has one yr left on his deal, and will convey an honest return if the Mets discover pitching on the free-agent market. Similar contract scenario for Omar Narvaez, with one yr remaining. He was an All-Star with Milwaukee (Stearns’ former crew, bear in mind), however struggled massively on the plate, to the tune of a 61 OPS+ final yr. Vogelbach has one yr remaining, too. Neither Vogelbach nor Narvaez would convey again a lot.
That brings us again to Alonso. It feels inconceivable to consider that he’ll be moved this offseason, however commerce winds can come up unexpectedly some winters. If a power-hungry crew sends over a large supply (the Brewers have been reportedly made a suggestion final summer time) that the membership feels it may’t flip down? That will nearly actually be the largest commerce of the offseason, for anyone.
Yeah, the 2023 season was extremely disappointing. However the Mets are nonetheless on track as a franchise, even with the surprising detour this summer time.