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Mets NL East Sunday Battleground: Offseason recap and grades

Mar 19, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a grand slam in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a grand slam in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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Mar 17, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) during a spring training game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) during a spring training game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have improved greatly and still might not make the playoffs. That is because of the division they are in. The National League East projects to be one of, if not the toughest division in baseball this season. Legitimate cases for postseason contention can be made for each of the five teams in the division.

While the N.L. East only had two playoff teams in the Braves and the Marlins, all five teams were talented. If every team was healthy, I bet more than two teams from the division make the playoffs.

The scary thing about this division is it improved.

Arguments can be made that all five teams got better. The Braves might have been the clear-cut best team in the division last year and the last three years, but this year I would not be shocked at all if there was a new division champion.

The Marlins were doubted last season, had a massive Covid outbreak and still made the playoffs. You never truly know in this division, and I expect a ton of chaos this season.

New York Mets

Notable Additions: OF Albert Almora Jr., RP Jacob Barnes, SP Carlos Carrasco, RP Tommy Hunter, OF Khalil Lee, SS Francisco Lindor, RP Aaron Loup, SP Joey Lucchesi, OF Jose Martinez, RP Trevor May, C James McCann, OF Kevin Pillar, OF Mallex Smith, SP Marcus Stroman, INF/OF Jonathan Villar, SP Taijuan Walker, SP Jordan Yamamoto.

Notable Subtractions: RP Brad Brach (KC), C Robinson Chirinos (NYY), 3B Todd Frazier (PIT), SS Andres Gimenez (CLE), RP Jared Hughes (Retired), OF Jake Marisnick (CHC), SP Steven Matz (TOR), SP Rick Porcello (FA), C Wilson Ramos (DET), SS Amed Rosario (CLE), C Ali Sanchez (STL), RP Chasen Shreve (PIT), SP Michael Wacha (TB), RP Justin Wilson (NYY).

Under new ownership and management, the Mets seem like they are finally getting back on track. They have an owner who only cares about winning, and experienced baseball guys to help get the roster back in shape after Brodie Van Wagenen messed a lot of it up.

The Mets already had one of the best lineups in all of baseball headlined by guys like Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil. They added to this lineup by trading for the best shortstop in baseball Francisco Lindor. His bat and especially his glove will be massive additions for this Mets team that went 26-34 last season.

Acquiring a top ten caliber player like Francisco Lindor makes your offseason a success already, but the Mets improved in many other ways as well.

The first move they made was signing James McCann to a four-year $40 million-dollar contract. The catcher spot has been brutal for years in Flushing so the Mets went out and got a really good catcher. While he is not the best catcher in baseball, he certainly is an upgrade over Wilson Ramos and will get the job done.

The next biggest need this team had was starting pitching. In the Lindor trade, the Mets also acquired Carlos Carrasco. While he is set to miss the first month or two of the regular season after a hamstring injury, once he comes back he will provide a huge boost for this Mets team. He has been one of the more underrated pitchers in the game for a while and will slot in nicely behind Jacob deGrom in this Mets rotation.

The Mets also brought back Marcus Stroman after he accepted the Qualifying Offer. After opting out of the 2020 season, Stroman will look to prove himself again as he is in a contract year. He is another big boost to a rotation that had Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha, and Steven Matz in it last season.

The Mets then added Taijuan Walker, another boost to this rotation that should be very helpful. While he hasn’t been durable in his career, Walker is coming off of a really good 2020 with Seattle and Toronto. If he stays healthy, he should pitch well.

The Mets will get Carrasco and Syndergaard back a couple of months into the season, and when that happens they will have one of the best rotations in all of baseball. They also have depth. Guys like David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto can step up if need be and be solid options at the back end of the rotation.

The Mets improved their bullpen as well, signing Trevor May to be a late-inning arm. May will likely pitch in the seventh or eighth innings of close games which was the role he excelled in while with the Twins. With Seth Lugo out for the first month of the season, he will be relied upon a ton to help protect leads and set up for Edwin Diaz.

To finish their offseason, the Mets improved their bench and added much-needed depth. Guys like Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Villar, and Albert Almora are perfect bench pieces and can step into an everyday role if need be.

The first offseason under Steve Cohen was a huge success and I am very excited for the 2021 season. The Mets should be competitive and I fully expect them to be a playoff team.

Grade: A

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