The New York Mets won 86 games last season despite being their own worst enemy. They had the Cy Young Award winner (Jacob deGrom) and the Rookie of the Year in Pete Alonso who also was the MLB leader in home runs, shattering the rookie record in the process.
Their bullpen, to which general manager Brodie Van Wagenen went to great lengths to repair and bolster, did them in, blowing 27 saves. They’ve made some strides to fix that, mainly by believing Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia will have bounce back seasons and signing former Yankees all star Dellin Betances.
But the team has more issues than the bullpen. It has a roster that is lopsided with infielders and has no true centerfielder. My old colleague at SNY, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog spoke to a front office evaluator about if he felt the Mets did enough this offseason to take the team to the next level.
“They’re strong on paper,” a front office talent evaluator told Cerrone. “They do have more question marks than most teams, though, including Pete Alonso. I expect he’ll be fine, but a lot can throw off a second season.”
Another issue for incoming manager Carlos Beltran and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner will be the middle and back of the starting rotation, which was weakened by the loss of Zack Wheeler in free agency.
“Without Wheeler, and not knowing how to project (Rick) Porcello, Noah Syndergaard will dictate a lot of their success,” the same person added. “I’ve always liked Steven Matz, but he can be very hit or miss. I just think Syndergaard tips their scale one way or the other.”
The Mets might have enough offense to get them through the day-to-day with Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis in the lineup but will need steady contributions from veterans Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos. A full season out of Brandon Nimmo would go a long way, too.
But it will ultimately come down to the pitching and the troubled defense, which is the result of favoring offense over defense.