2) Create a winning culture
This one seems obvious, because of course every team would like to be able to say they have a winning culture. Actually achieving it, though, isn't so simple.
There are myriad reasons why the Dodgers have been successful in attracting top free agents. Playing in a glamorous place like Los Angeles factors in, as does having a rich franchise history and deep-pocketed owners. Don't underestimate the value of being consistent winners, though.
The Dodgers haven't missed the playoffs since 2012, and they haven't had a losing season since 2010. They've won at least 100 games three years in a row. Other players see that and want to be a part of it. Freddie Freeman is one of the best players in the league, and he chose the Dodgers over returning to the Braves. Much ado was made about the free agent courtships of Ohtani and Yamamoto, but looking back, it seems like a fait accompli that they ended up in Dodger blue.
Only the Astros can claim to have had the same level of success as the Dodgers since Andrew Friedman became L.A.'s president of baseball operations before the 2015 season. Friedman has built the Dodgers into a consistent winner by emphasizing the importance of the farm system, which has produced homegrown stars like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Julio Urias, and the since-departed Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Joc Pederson. There is still plenty more talent in the pipeline, as the Dodgers' minor league teams finished with the best combined record in baseball last year.
The Mets are already trying to emulate this homegrown philosophy, and the next generation of Mets stars is just around the corner. First-round pick Jett Williams looks like a future star, and in trading Scherzer and Verlander for Luisangel Acuna, Drew Gilbert, and Ryan Clifford, the Mets landed three other prospects that all project as key contributors in the future.
Signing aging veterans like Scherzer and Verlander to expensive, short-term contracts can patch up holes on a roster that is otherwise ready to contend, but it does nothing to ensure long-term success. The Dodgers have become the premier free agent destination because they already had so much homegrown talent in place. It may take some time, but the Mets are on their way to doing the same thing.