Just minutes after news broke that Carlos Correa was signing with the New York Mets, it felt as if the overwhelming reaction was that the team from Queens, New York were being greedy, signing a player they didn’t necessarily “need.”
While fans may have had that feeling, owner Steve Cohen disagreed. He publicly spoke about the news, telling the New York Post: “We needed one more thing, and this is it… This really makes a big difference. I feel like our pitching was in good shape. We needed one more hitter. This puts us over the top.”
Well, we all know what happened next.
Correa is in Minnesota, and the New York Mets still have the same exact lineup that had one hit in a winner-take-all game in last year’s Wild Card Round.
There has only been one non-pitching change so far for New York, which was trading James McCann (OPS+ of 55 in 2022) to the Baltimore Orioles and signing Omar Narváez (OPS+ of 71 in 2022) to replace him.
Is it an upgrade? Yes.
Is it a significant move? No.
Yes, the Mets have prospects Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and Francisco Alvarez that all seem close to being completely MLB-ready. But can the Mets truly bank on them having significant success this year?
In 2020 when Cohen purchased the team, he said, “If I don’t win a World Series in the next three to five years – I’d like to make it sooner – I would consider that slightly disappointing.”
We’re approaching year three in the 2023 season. The Mets won 101 games a year ago and are still a top five team in baseball, but – the fact of the matter is – their championship window is actually becoming smaller.
With Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt all leaving, the Mets were able to replace them with Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, and José Quintana. While those moves seem lateral for the upcoming season, age is a concern.
Every starter in the Mets rotation is at least 30 years old, and four of the five are at least 34. If Narváez is the starting catcher to start the year, New York will have six position players in their lineup over the age of 30.
Yes, the Mets have money – but the team is getting older.
In order to create a “dynasty,” or at least create a team that can sustain success for a long time, they need to have a mix of veterans and a strong farm system. So far, the Mets have made many moves without giving up top prospects. Outside of the acquisition of Darin Ruf, giving up a valuable player in J.D. Davis in addition to three prospects, the Mets have done a strong job retaining talent in their farm system while improving its major league team.
Regardless, the Mets need to do something ahead of the season to add to their starting lineup.
We know the willingness to do that is there by seeing how the Correa “signing” happened, but the Mets need to recover quickly. It will be virtually impossible to sign a free agent that would be as impactful as Correa would have been, but there must be a recovery of some sort.
The Atlanta Braves, the team that beat-out the Mets in the National League East divisional race in 2021 and 2022, still have a roster that is better than New York’s. The Philadelphia Phillies, the reigning National League champions, improved by signing Trea Turner.
The championship window for the Mets is smaller than it may appear. Sure, they can sign Manny Machado and/or Shohei Ohtani next season, but it’s no guarantee they would come to the Big Apple. Even if that does happen, it would be in Verlander’s age 41 season and, if he returned in 2024, Scherzer’s age 40 season, not the ages you want your two aces.
The Mets must make one more addition before this offseason concludes, or else New York very well could be the third-best team in its division.