There’s inherent skepticism and a sense that nothing is ever satisfactory that comes with being a Mets fan, and I’m currently trying very hard not to succumb to both of those feelings.
After days of watching Steve Cohen (the man who’s supposed to be the franchise’s savior after the horrendous Wilpon regime ended) air his dirty laundry on Twitter, some good news finally came our way. After years of being subject to other teams making huge headlines with big offseason signings, I will admit it has been refreshing to see the Mets get a few.
The first big move of the Cohen era came with the Francisco Lindor trade, then 10-year contract, and I will admit that the classic Mets skepticism was with me from the start. Immediately upon seeing the news, my mind went to “Amed Rosario (2019’s SS) was good last year, what we really need is a third baseman.” While now I do believe Lindor will pay off, my third baseman feelings definitely proved true last year, as the platoon of J.D. Davis, Jonathan Villar, Luis Guillorme and others simply didn’t provide any consistency.
The Lindor deal was last year though, and another fatal flaw of all Mets fans is the idea that each year is going to be the year. I will say, however, this year’s moves have been very exciting so far.
First, my third baseman wishes have (hopefully) been answered. The acquisition of Eduardo Escobar genuinely excites me. The Mets haven’t really had a consistently healthy third baseman since Matt Cain hurled a fastball into David Wright’s head, and Escobar seems like a durable player. If he can be an anchor at the hot corner, the rest of the infield will have so much more depth. Also, for what it’s worth, his batting average went up by more than 20 points when he went from the Diamondbacks, a team far out of contention, to the first-place Brewers last year. Assuming the Mets will be at least a contender next year, hopefully this winning mentality will keep his productivity up.
In the outfield, the Mets have two new exciting acquisitions, Starling Marte and Mark Canha. If I’m being completely honest, I’m more excited about the former than the latter. With a career OPS of almost .800, Marte should be a very productive piece in the lineup. Canha will still be a positive addition to the outfield, but I hope that the Mets get a few more deals done, because I can see him being an effective depth piece.
Now, I began writing this article on Sunday night, but I had to completely restart on Monday. The original argument I was going to make was that the Mets, just like with the Lindor deal, once again focused on the wrong area of the team. However, much to my delight, Max Scherzer signed on Monday. The omnipresent skepticism crept back into my head for a bit, wondering if Scherzer might be past his prime, but one look at last year’s numbers has me convinced this was a good pick up. The beginning of my career as a fan introduced me to Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine aging as Mets, and I’m really hoping this isn’t the same scenario.
So, after a week of the Mets front office making fans happy, the unfortunate feeling that this isn’t good enough still remains. Sure, we currently have four of the last six Cy Young Award winners on our team, but that’s only going to cover two of five rotation days. While I’d be overjoyed with a rotation that included Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and David Peterson all at their peaks, the last two years have planted a lot of doubt in me that that’s possible.
Right now, if there’s any move that I think is necessary for the Mets to make as soon as possible, it’s signing Marcus Stroman. He’s a third dependable arm in the rotation, he works great with the New York environment and he literally said earlier this week, in a now deleted tweet, that he wants to come back despite the organization’s possible desire to look elsewhere. Cohen has already demonstrated that he has the wallet to get the deal done, we just need to see if new GM Billy Eppler is willing to do it.
Other than that, the last thing I want for the Mets is completely out of their control. Dom Smith has been a fan-favorite and an integral part of the team for multiple years now, and as it seems Pete Alonso, just as integral a player, has the first base job on lock, the Mets would benefit immensely from the DH coming to the National League.
In conclusion, I envision a Mets lineup with Brandon Nimmo, Marte, Alonso, Smith and Lindor being very effective, and if they can get run support for a pitching staff helmed by deGrom and Scherzer, this team could really go somewhere. All we have to worry about is whether or not injuries will strike as hard as they did last year, and whether or not we have a front office that’s willing to fill in the gaps effectively. Those are two huge maybes, but what’s a Mets season without huge maybes?