Although the Mets missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year in 2020, they look as if they’ll head into the upcoming regular season as a popular pick to contend. New owner Steve Cohen’s arrival early in the winter brought a great deal of optimism for Mets fans, who suffered for years under the yoke of the Wilpons. Cohen has largely lived up to the hype since taking over, as he oversaw an active offseason in which the Mets’ roster looks to have taken steps forward.
The Mets did lose second baseman Robinson Cano for the year because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, and they didn’t reel in any of Trevor Bauer, George Springer or J.T. Realmuto in free agency, but they still ponied up for several notable names in recent months.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor, an elite player for a large portion of his career, and quality right-hander Carlos Carrasco came over in a major trade with Cleveland. James McCann, who ranked second behind Realmuto among free-agent catchers, signed a four-year, $40MM deal to assume the reins as the Mets’ starting backstop. Righty Marcus Stroman, who opted out of last season thanks to COVID-19, stuck around when he accepted the Mets’ $18.9MM qualifying offer, and they filled out their season-opening rotation last month with the signing of fellow RHP Taijuan Walker to a three-year, $23MM guarantee late. Reliever Trevor May, lefty Joey Lucchesi, infielder Jonathan Villar, and outfielders Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. were also among those who became Mets during the offseason.
Despite the loss of Cano, the Mets look as if they’ll have a high-end offense in 2021 with Lindor and McCann complementing holdovers Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis. The starting staff also looks good with Carrasco, Stroman and Walker joining ace Jacob deGrom and David Peterson (and don’t forget that Noah Syndergaard will return from his Tommy John recovery during the summer). The bullpen appears to be more of a question mark, especially with Seth Lugo having undergone elbow surgery last month, though the signings of May and lefty Aaron Loup should help New York’s cause.
There still could be room for further Mets acquisitions in the coming weeks, but for the most part, their roster looks set going into the new season. The team won 26 of 60 regular-season games and wound up last in the National League East in 2020, but thanks in part to its offseason, PECOTA projects a 93-win effort in 2021 and a first-place finish in a tough division that also features the Braves, Nationals, Phillies and Marlins. Are you buying the Mets as a playoff-caliber team?
(Poll link for app users)