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  • 2023 New York Mets Opening Day Preview

    Things are looking up for the ball club based out of Flushing known as the New York Mets. With their new ownership group, led by majority owner Steve Cohen who has a net worth of $13 billion, a new era has been started for the franchise as they are pushing harder than ever before to get back to the World Series and win their first championship since 1986. Here’s what the Mets did this offseason to improve.

    After a devastating loss to the Padres in the Wild Card round, owner Steve Cohen decided it was time for some changes to the roster. However, before most of those changes could be made, the team lost arguably their most valuable player, starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, in free agency to the Texas Rangers on a five-year contract worth $185 million. Cohen knew he had to make a splash after losing deGrom, so he pivoted to signing 3x Cy Young award winner, and reigning American League Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander, to a two-year deal worth $86.7 million. Verlander was 39 years old coming off Tommy John surgery, and had a 1.75 ERA in 175 innings pitched in 2022. Sounds like a solid replacement for the 2x National League Cy Young. In addition, they added Kodai Senga, the 30-year-old right-hander who was signed from Japan for five years and $75 million, and pitched to an impressive 1.94 ERA in 22 starts in the Japan Western League. They re-signed closer Edwin Diaz to a five-year deal (who will miss the season due to a torn patellar tendon suffered while celebrating a WBC Pool Play match vs. Dominican Republic) and outfielder Brandon Nimmo to a $100 million contract. They then signed starting pitcher Jose Quintana for two years and $26 million (who will miss at least the first 3 months of the season due to a lesion in his ribs) to help fill the roles previously held by Taijaun Walker and Chris Bassitt, who both left in free agency. Cohen and the Mets nearly made their biggest splash of the offseason by agreeing to give star shortstop Carlos Correa a 12-year $315 million contract before backing out of the deal due to an issue with Correa’s ankle. 

    The Mets starting lineup is viewed as one of the league’s best, as they scored the 5th most runs, along with ranking 2nd in on base percentage, and 6th in team OPS. The starting nine from Flushing is led by numerous All-Star caliber hitters, including 2x Home Run Derby champion and single-season rookie home runs record holder Pete Alonso, reigning National League batting title winner Jeff McNeil, 4x All-Star and 2x Silver Slugger winner Francisco Lindor, 2022 NL All-Star outfielder Starling Marte, and $100 million on base specialist Brandon Nimmo. With additional depth pieces such as Mark Canha, Daniel Vogelbach, and others, this makes for one of the most complete offenses in the league, that could potentially add top catching prospect Francisco Alvarez to the roster during the season. The only concern with the lineup, aside from the key players staying healthy, would be consistency. On paper, not many lineups have more talented hitters than this Mets lineup, but there were times last season, such as in late September and the playoffs, when the offense became stagnant.

    This squad is also considered to have one of the top pitching units in all of baseball. The starting five of the rotation is led by two future Hall of Famers, 3x Cy Young award winners in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, who are both arguably still top-10 pitchers in the league, despite being 38 and 40 years old, respectively. Alongside the two aces, they also have newly acquired right-hander, Kodai Senga, who has an incredibly nasty pitch called the “ghost forkball,” which is a combination of a splitter and a changeup, that has an unreal vertical drop of 41 inches and 11 inches of break. In addition to those three, the Mets round out the starting rotation to start the season with veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco who pitched to a 3.97 ERA in 29 starts in 2022, as well as left-hander David Peterson, and 27-year-old Tylor Megill who showed glimpses of stardom early in the 2022 season. 

    With such a stacked roster that the Mets have, it can be hard to notice weaknesses at times, but the bullpen for the 2023 season could be seen as one considering the devastating loss they suffered with their top reliever and closer, Edwin Diaz, being injured for the entire 2023 season. The new closer for the bullpen is presumed to be 37-year-old David Robertson, who threw 63.2 innings in 58 appearances with the Cubs and Phillies, with a 2.40 ERA, 11.5 K/9, and 5.5 H/9. Behind Robertson, there are some solid setup man options in the bullpen, including Adam Ottavino, who used to be a top reliever in all of baseball, and Brooks Raley, who was one of the better lefty relievers last season with a 2.68 ERA in 53 innings pitched in Tampa Bay. The Mets should be one of the top contenders in the National League this season alongside the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, and Phillies.



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    Dale News Online Publication: March 2023