The Mets have been spoiled these past three years.
Well, spoiled as far as Mets fans go. Between 2015 and 2017 there wasn’t too much to worry about in the NL East. The Nationals were always the favorite to win the division and the Mets main competitor. Long gone were the days of the bitter rivalry with Atlanta. And the championship Phillies team was nothing but a shell of their former selves.
But that window of the Mets and Nats being the only two competitive teams in the NL East is now starting to close. The Phillies rebuild is nearly complete. They scored big time by signing Carlos Santana to a three-year deal. Rhys Hoskins has already more than proven what he’s capable of. The Phillies now have their sights on another decent starter to complement Aaron Nola. Which means it’s doubtful that they’ll finish as basement dwellers again.
Then there’s the Braves. I once heard a broadcaster say “the NL East is always more fun when the Braves are good.” While there’s probably an element of truth to that, as a Met fan, the Braves being good again is a living nightmare for us. I am constantly having war flashbacks to the Braves of the late 90s that the Mets struggled constantly to defeat.
The Miami Marlins are really the only sure thing in that division to be terrible next season with their ongoing firesale. But even there I wouldn’t be surprised if by some fluke they managed to finish the year above the Mets in the standings. I mean, just look at how things turned out last season:
I don’t think anyone expected the Mets to finish at 70-92. Let alone, just four games above Philly. Even the Braves, in a year they weren’t supposed to be a threat, managed to still burn the Mets by finishing with two more wins than they did.
Then, of course, there are the Nationals. The team that has never won a postseason series. (I’m always going to bring that up). And yet somehow, they still ruin the Mets day. That team is going to be a powerhouse for a while. Even if they don’t manage to keep Bryce Harper during free agency next year. Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman both had a 100+ RBI season for the Nats. Both aren’t going to become unrestricted free agents until 2020 and 2021. Sure if they keep up that production the price tag to resign them will be higher. But it will be much cheaper than what it would cost the Nats to keep Harper around. Then there are the young guns like Trea Turner and Wilmer Difo who look like they’re going to bring in this second wave of young talent.
Why am I tell you all this?
Does all this information about the progress of the other NL East teams make you itch? It should. And if the Wilpons are reading this, (I know they read all my work). I hope they’re breaking out it just as many hives as they’re giving their fans right now. The point I’m making here, is that just forget that the Mets are a New York City team and should be spending like one. I know the Wilpons don’t see it that way. But how on earth, when you’re not in a rebuilding year, are you going to sit back and watch every other team in the division actively make themselves better than you? At the very least, be concerned about competing in your own division.