New York Maxes out, what's new with Javier Báez and the Mets culture shift begins
Javier Báez appears headed to the Motor City. Plus, New York's culture is changing after signing Max Scherzer.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
The Mets made their biggest blockbuster free agent acquisition in years, signing RHP Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract (Heyman)
The Dodgers, Angels and Giants made pushes in the “final hours” for Max Scherzer prior to him signing with the Mets (Heyman)
The Tigers are closing in on a six-year deal with Javier Báez (MLB.com)
Free agent LHP Yusei Kikuchi is a possibility for the Mets rotation (SNY)
The Mets could look to add LHPs Andrew Chafin or Brad Hand to their bullpen (SNY and MLB.com)
Former Tigers and Angels manager Brad Ausmus remains an option for the Mets, as he has connections to both Billy Eppler and the newly acquired Max Scherzer (NY Post)
Mad Max is here, and New York’s culture shift has begun 📝
Over the course of the 2021 season, it became clear to anyone around the club (or anyone paying close enough attention) that the “incredible” culture and good vibes in the New York Mets locker room was nothing more than a myth.
Luis Rojas didn’t have enough control of his players, according to SNY. The club lacked leadership, according to Jeff McNeil himself. The team got in brawls with themselves, a thumb war with the fans and multiple wars of words with members of the media.
But now things are changing. Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto are gone. Marcus Stroman, the leader of the “only positive vibes” brigade and recent focus of an ethnic slur controversy on Twitter, is likely on his way out. There may be trades to come involving “core” players, as well. And with these departures has come new blood.
Enter Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha, all four of whom bring veteran leadership, postseason experience and a winning pedigree along with them. And just like that, the culture in New York’s clubhouse is already beginning to change.
One of the biggest issues in the Mets locker room in 2021 was that the club relied on some younger players to step into leadership roles they had never been in before, sources told Just Mets following the season. The club forcing newly acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor into that position may have been detrimental as well, according to reports. Leadership is not something that can just be assumed by anyone, and when the club already severely lacked a veteran presence in that room and had a manager in his first full season holding the job, it can lead to the variety of problems we witnessed last season — controversies, teammates fighting each other, battles with the media, booing the fans, etc.
Now, with the presence of Scherzer, Marte and the other new additions, the Mets finally have veteran leadership they can actually rely on instead of forcing that on people who may not be suited or ready for such a role. Scherzer, more than anyone, has been there before. This is not a guy that is going to sit back and tolerate some of the things that have been going on in the Mets’ clubhouse in recent memory and has proven time-and-time again that he is a vocal leader who has made a great impact on every team he’s ever been a part of. Similar things can be said for Escobar and Canha, who have been universally praised for being beloved across the game and leaders in their respective locker rooms over their careers.
It’s been less than a week since the Mets made their move of the offseason and you can already see the culture of this franchise beginning to shift. They appear to have a direction, have had an injection of experienced players, new leaders in the locker room and most importantly, a significantly more talented roster than in year’s past. And all of that combines into a better chance to win.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Rangers signed SS Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract (ESPN)
The Mariners signed reigning AL Cy Young Award winner LHP Robbie Ray to a five-year, $115 million contract (MMO)
The Giants are finalizing a contract with RHP Alex Cobb (Heyman)
The Phillies and Marlins are interested in OF Kyle Schwarber (Heyman)
The Dodgers signed RHP Daniel Hudson to a one-year, $7 million contract (Heyman)
The Mariners are showing interest in 3B/OF Kris Bryant (Heyman)
The Phillies are expressing “serious interest” in free agent RHP Corey Knebel (The Athletic)
The Braves officially signed RHP Kirby Yates to a two-year, 8.25 million contract
The Marlins officially acquired Gold Glove C Jacob Stallings from the Pirates in exchange for RHP Zach Thompson, RHP Kyle Nicolas and OF Connor Scott
The Marlins are now looking to trade C Jorge Alfaro prior to Tuesday night’s non-tender deadline (Mish)
This weekend was as good a stretch as Mets fans could ask for; Friday night's Canha/Escobar/Marte bonanza would've been an entire offseason's worth of signings under the Wilpons.
But allow me a moment to gripe, less at the Mets and more at those covering them: For YEARS seemingly every reporter (including the guys running this site) were begging the Mets to spend like the big league, major-market club they are. This weekend was the biggest indication that they intend to start doing so, and the general media reaction (this site excepted) is...."no, not like that." Really?!?!
Yes, of course Scherzer cost a lot of money and came with question marks. Find me the free agent this year that didn't. Every move the Mets make this offseason gets hit with cold water by some. Seems as though (to me, at least) there's a decided interest in keeping the Mets in the #LOLMets category at all costs, even when they start behaving like we wish all 30 teams would.
Anyway. End rant.