1 big reason why the 2023 Mets were doomed from the start

Jacob deGrom (48) was one of 12 Mets pitchers that hit free agency last fall, creating lots of holes for the 2023 Mets roster.
Jacob deGrom (48) was one of 12 Mets pitchers that hit free agency last fall, creating lots of holes for the 2023 Mets roster. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The 2023 New York Mets season has been, by many measures, disastrous. The pitching has been really bad, the Mets position players have not hit their marks from last year, and they have been fundamentally unsound.

However, when it comes to roster construction, or lack thereof, this team really was doomed from the start, especially with their pitching.

12 pitchers from the 2022 New York Mets squad, many of them impact pitchers, all hit free agency last fall, and their collective value made it impossible for the Mets to run it back.

The Mets had a mission impossible to build their pitching staff in one offseason

Consider the following group of pitchers for a second: Edwin Diaz, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Jacob deGrom, Adam Ottavino, Trevor Williams, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, Mychal Givens, Trevor May, Tommy Hunter, Chasen Shreve. You have two aces (deGrom and Bassitt), and baseball's best closer (Diaz) on that list. This is, at worst when healthy, a slightly above average team pitching staff. The problem is, they were all Mets pitchers from last season that all hit free agency at the exact same time.

That left the Mets with Max Scherzer, David Peterson and Tylor Megill as rotation pieces, and Drew Smith as a surefire reliever, along with John Curtiss, who was coming off Tommy John surgery, so basically they needed to fill eight immediate spots to fill out the roster and sign a few other pitchers for depth purposes.

The Mets were only able to bring back three of their free agents. Diaz tore his patellar tendon at the World Baseball Classic, Ottavino has already given up as many earned runs as he did all of last season, and Hunter was designated for assignment last month.

And then they added just four new pitchers to major league contracts and another via trade: Justin Verlander (missed a month and has been inconsistent), Jose Quintana (hasn't made his Mets debut yet due to injury), David Robertson (he's been really good as a fill-in closer for Diaz), and Kodai Senga, who has remarkably been, in many respects, the Mets' most reliable starting pitcher this season. The Mets acquired Brooks Raley from the Rays in the offseason, and he's been their second best reliever behind Ottavino.

The lack of depth and injuries caused a negative ripple effect on everybody, causing their best relievers to be overtaxed (we saw that with all the blown leads from June). And as a result, they've turned to Stephen Nogosek, Dominic Leone, Josh Walker, Jimmy Yacabonis and others in high leverage situations. And those guys were not going to get the job done all the time.

Another factor to conside. None of their top five pitching prospects in the organization will not be ready for the show until next year, at the earliest.

Essentially, the lack of foresight and proactivity from Billy Eppler the Mets front office last year with regards to the 2023 Mets has cost them so many games this season, especially in the past four weeks with all the losses related to their bullpen. And with that, 2023 has been a year full of empty promises for Mets fans.