The 2023 World Series is set to begin on Friday, and it features an unlikely battle between two teams that just two years ago both lost over 100 games. Few people expected the Texas Rangers or Arizona Diamondbacks to be on the precipice of glory when spring training began, least of all fans of the New York Mets, who entered the season full of hope that this could be the first time since 1986 that their team would go all the way.
With apologies to George R. R. Martin (if he ever releases his final two books, that is), the Mets' dream of spring quickly gave way to the winds of winter. After a hot start in April, nothing seemed to go right for the team, as they quickly fell out of not just the N.L. East race, but the crowded Wild Card race, as well.
Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, two of the players that Mets fans were counting on to lead the team to the promised land, were traded before the trade deadline, but they were only part of the mass exodus from Flushing that is still reverberating throughout the playoffs. This postseason has been positively littered with players that began the season on the Mets roster, such as Mark Canha of the Brewers, David Robertson of the Marlins, and Tommy Pham of the Diamondbacks.
No matter what happens in the World Series, at least two former Mets will be able to call themselves champions this year. Scherzer's trade to Texas reunited him with fellow former Mets ace Jacob deGrom, and the Rangers roster also includes Travis Jankowski, who spent part of 2022 with the Mets as a utility outfielder. Pham is joined in Arizona by reliever Paul Sewald, who spent the first four seasons of his major league career with the Mets before moving on to the Seattle Mariners.