The word “competitive” can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. To Max Scherzer, it essentially means winning 81 games. For Steve Cohen, it means less expensive but relevant. Being competitive seems to be the goal of the New York Mets in 2024 but with a much different approach.
Cohen hasn’t hidden from the leaked private conversation with Scherzer or denied what the ex-Mets starting pitcher claimed is the future outline of the franchise. He gave what has become a clearer interpretation with a more positive outlook of the future. Mets fans have bought in. Cohen has bought a lot of things in his life. Trust with the fans is one of those purchases.
Not everyone has fully bought into the notion of the Mets being competitive next year. We all believed they were going to go far in 2023 only to come up well short of those expectations. They more than pulled the plug on the plan. They tripped over it and knocked out the IV fluid, too. Fortunately, the bag hasn’t fully leaked. There is reason to both believe the team will be competitive next year with some doubts even if you see the world through orange and blue-colored glasses.
The NY Mets will be competitive in 2024 because they’ll spread the spending
Could the Mets actually be a better team with a smaller payroll? Darn right they could be. In fact, we should expect it if only because the 2023 version wasn’t all that good.
Spreading out the wealth has its obvious benefits. In its simplest format, we can ask if we’d rather have one Justin Verlander on the roster or players like Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. The quality might not be as guaranteed to swap one future Hall of Famer for two very good starting pitchers. However, when it comes to building a roster, sometimes you have to swap the ability of one player for what a pair can offer you.
One or even two pitchers can’t win a team a championship. That only works in the NBA where a single entity can control the entire game. Baseball teams need to be the most well-rounded of the major sports. A pitcher can’t even hit a home run to rescue his team any longer.
We all expect the Mets payroll to drop significantly between now and next season. It’s a realistic expectation if Shohei Ohtani isn’t signed by the ball club. There aren’t any other $300+ million players for the Mets to sign. Instead, prepare for smaller yet quality deals to set them up for more success in 2025 or even 2026.