Remember when Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets and they were going to have a $300 million payroll for 2021? Trevor Bauer would start the second game of the World Series, George Springer would lead the game off with a home run, and J.T. Realmuto would pump his fist as the Mets walk off the field in yet another perfect game by the club.
So, maybe this wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned. You live in a real world with real problems and not so spectacular finishes to the season for even the best teams. This outrageous thought—while not at the level of being institutionalized—will not come true.
Rather than flex their cash, the Mets have ripped open their shirts to reveal more than just the almighty dollar. Based on the moves they’re making this offseason, their focus seems to be on having a sweet set of six-pack analytics.
Mets are building differently than expected
Is it so bad for the Mets to build like a reasonable baseball team? I think the majority of fans understand this was always a possibility. The loud minority of fans who are upset over the team not having an All-Star at every position probably didn’t realize that in the game of baseball, you need to make friends.
Signing all of the best free agents, pushing past the luxury tax like it’s nothing, and blowing kisses at the rest of the league is not a good look. Cohen is new to the face of the franchise. He doesn’t need to make any enemies.
Fortunately, the Mets are still spending and look as if they are preparing to do what the majority of fans want most: extend the stars. The club has yet to make any crazy addition involving cash. Francisco Lindor will certainly cost a lot, but until he is signed to an extension, the team in Flushing has gone a more traditional route than buying a championship—or at least trying to.
Let’s see how well this turns out for the Mets
The Mets made a few moves this winter which seemed to be less about adding star power and more about finding guys with brighter futures ahead. Typically, for most free agents, you’re paying for past production.
Not the Mets. Signing guys like Trevor May and Sam McWilliams shows this. While May has been good in the big leagues, his resume isn’t too extensive. They believe in him more because of the deeper metrics. McWilliams, meanwhile, has yet to even pitch in the big leagues. They added him based almost entirely on what their analytics department believes he can accomplish.
The system isn’t perfect. If it was, the other 29 MLB teams would have bowed out by now. The St. Louis Cardinals may have attempted to hack into the system, but the rest of the league would have given up and changed their logos to white flags.
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Ultimately, I think the Mets will succeed by combining these two muscles. Strong analytics and the money to pay for it will get them a long way.