3 ways the Mets should mimic the Dodgers

No team in baseball has done more this offseason to better itself than the Los Angeles Dodgers
No team in baseball has done more this offseason to better itself than the Los Angeles Dodgers / ROBYN BECK/GettyImages
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It's only early January, but already the baseball offseason has felt less like hot stove season and more like "the Dodgers won't let anybody else in the kitchen" season. L.A. has absolutely dominated the headlines by acquiring baseball's top free agent in Shohei Ohtani, the most coveted international player in Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and one of the top pitchers on the trade market in Tyler Glasnow. The Dodgers' recent signing of outfielder Teoscar Hernandez would be viewed as a major move for most teams, but cast next to the aforementioned whirlwind of activity, adding Hernandez just seems like a minor luxury.

It really does feel like it's the Dodgers' world and we're just living in it, but for 29 other teams, it does no use to roll over and play dead. Unlike football or basketball, which place a higher importance on fewer players, baseball is a sport in which it is difficult to sustain excellence, at least as it pertains to winning championships. Look no further than the Angels to see that one player, even one as great as Ohtani, can only do so much. The season is long, and the postseason is a minefield. Major League Baseball hasn't seen a repeat champ since the Yankees in 2000, so as much as the Dodgers feel inevitable, a lot can happen between now and October.

Time will tell if the Dodgers can live up to the impossible expectations they're sure to carry into the next decade, but one thing is sure: baseball hasn't seen a team this loaded in quite some time.

Fans of the New York Mets have watched the Dodgers' offseason with an unhealthy mix of jealousy and rage. How can the rich just keep getting richer? Why can't the Mets land any of these big names? Is Steve Cohen's money no good? The sports radio airwaves have been crackling with the frustrated wails of Mets fans.

As Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, "Know thy enemy and know thyself." If the Mets want to reach the Dodgers' level, there are lessons they can learn to help them get there. Here are three that could help turn frustration to jubilation in the Big Apple.

1) Get creative with contracts

New Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns earned a sterling reputation around the league while running the Brewers. Now that he's running an organization with much more cash at its disposal, the hope is that Stearns' baseball savvy can be combined with Steve Cohen's bank account to get the best of both worlds: a smart organization that pursues the right kinds of players, and has the funds to land them.

The Mets lost out on Yamamoto, their top target, to the Dodgers last month, but other than that, they haven't seemed interested in doling out big money to this year's free agent class. In the wake of the underwhelming on-field returns of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, this counts as growth, but it's not like the Mets will sit on the sidelines forever as big names become available.

One lesson they can learn from the Dodgers is to get creative with contracts. Ohtani deferred nearly the entirety of his $700 million deal for 10 years with no interest added, all in the name of allowing the Dodgers to add even more talent in the short-term. Can Stearns convince future stars to take a similar deal?

Currently, the most pressing contract situation for the Mets is that of Pete Alonso. The slugging first baseman is a free agent after next season, and his name has been bandied about as possible trade fodder for months. In reality, it's hard to envision a world where trading Alonso makes sense. The Mets aren't a small market team like the Rays or Pirates that has to deal their stars away before they're eligible to sign a big contract. Even if the team isn't going all-in on 2024, Alonso is only 29 and has been the most reliable power hitter in the league since making his major league debut in 2019.

Stearns needs to do whatever it takes to lock up Alonso. Whether it's deferring money, adding an extra year or two to the deal, or giving Alonso a no-trade clause or a player opt-out, there are many imaginative ways to keep the Polar Bear in New York, and those same creative methods can be used to bring in future stars, too.