Speaking simply from the perspective of the Mets, it’s been one hell of a calendar year. And it really didn’t even start until mid-March.
The Mets opened camp in Port St. Lucie immediately after a tense lockout concluded on March 11. They made a trade for Chris Bassitt to complete their rotation, signed Adam Ottavino to enhance their bullpen, and ran an accelerated spring training program and schedule right to Opening Day - without Jacob deGrom - when the Mets set off for a 101-win season.
In between were the typical ups and downs, ebbs and flows, injuries and pleasant surprises along the way. The Mets had to battle both the expected and unexpected with the schedule thanks to inclement weather both in New York and in other cities across the country (remember when they got snowed out in Denver in mid-May?). They produced a batting champ, the reliever of the year, a no-hitter, a cycle, a big and important comeback season from their shortstop, a continued historic power pace from their first baseman, and completed one unlikely comeback after the next from St. Louis to Philadelphia and finally established themselves among the league’s best with a convincing series win against the mighty Dodgers.
Despite a disappointing ending, both in their race against the Braves for supremacy in the National League East and in the Wild Card series, it was a progressive, fruitful season for this club, one which transformed the club culturally by Billy Eppler, Buck Showalter and the entire staff from the front office to the dugout.
Maybe the Mets had to walk before they could run, even if the next step they take will be without deGrom.
But here they are on the doorstep of 2023. They’ve constructed a new pitching staff headed by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, established leaders and champions. They’ve brought in José Quintana for the middle of their rotation who brings durability and experience from the left-side for the middle of their rotation. Kodai Senga is here too, who has ace-like potential thanks to his nasty swing-and-miss fastball/split combination. Then of course there is Carlos Carrasco, rounding out the back of the rotation with his grit, experience and inspiring story.
Ottavino is back in the bullpen, as is Edwin Díaz who signed the biggest deal for a reliever in history. They’ve brought in Brooks Raley on the left, David Robertson on the right. Just to name a few.
And of course, we wait for Carlos Correa.
As we look ahead to 2023, how can anyone not expect the most and the best for this club? It’s a star-studded roster built around both talent and championship experience, and an expensive roster at that.
But the stakes could even be higher than that for the industry.
If this model of high-dollar, shorter term free agency works and the Mets can become World Champions for the first time in 37 years in 2023, their model could be adopted by clubs all over baseball and actually serve as a benefit to smaller-market clubs, giving them a place in the market to better compete for the top-tiered free agents.
And of course, if it doesn’t work, then what for the Mets?
Time will tell, won’t it? That’s one of the things that makes baseball so great. It’s like a soap opera. The story never ends, and is full of drama, anticipation and hype.
In the meantime, on behalf of the Just Mets writing crew, I wanted to wish you all a very happy new year, thanks for reading, thanks for subscribing, thanks for your support through many of your paid subscriptions. We have experienced unexpected and exciting growth over the last month alone and we are very much looking forward to the year ahead as we endeavor to improve upon our voices and content and endeavor to introduce different kinds of content as well from both an audio and video perspective. We hope you all plan to participate in those as we take the next step on this platform.
Once again, happy new year, stay safe tonight, and we will see you on the flip side!
Happy New Year! LFGM
The very best to all of you and your families in 2023! And of course: LET'S GO METSIES!