Essentially the same regime is in place over at 41 Tom Seaver Way. Sandy Alderson still wields a lot of power beneath New York Mets owner Steve Cohen. The general manager has changed but the general philosophy hasn’t changed drastically.
Last offseason, you may have picked up on a few different approaches the Mets had toward building what they hoped would become a winning roster. The Francisco Lindor/Carlos Carrasco trade was their biggest move of the winter but hardly the lone thing they did. The Mets also added a bunch of depth pieces to the team, many veterans on the younger sides on shorter deals.
Kevin Pillar. Jonathan Villar. Aaron Loup. They all signed short term with the club. This winter, while they have yet to hand out any extensively long deals, the Mets seem keen on going beyond just those one-season rentals.
The Mets are building beyond the coming season
The window to win it all is open for at least two years, maybe three. This is how long they’ll have Max Scherzer in tow and it’s likely to be the number of years where they can still get Cy Young level pitching out of Jacob deGrom.
Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar each signed two year deals with the team. Outfielder Starling Marte went to a fourth but he’s also in a different class from them. Unless the Mets were willing to give him a ridiculously high AAV on a shorter deal, he was going to end up somewhere else.
What has changed is the club’s willingness to add some older players. Last season’s Opening Day roster only had a handful of guys in their 30s and each was in the early part of their third decade on earth. The team was made up of mostly 1990s babies with only a few that might have some faint memory of the first Bush Administration.
We saw the Mets target younger players almost exclusively last winter. This even includes Francisco Lindor. Other smaller additions for depth were meant to fill in some gaps. Jordan Yamamoto. Albert Almora. Brandon Drury. Chance Sisco. Jake Reed. The list goes on.
These were not guys on the older side of the baseball world hoping to cling to one last season of success. Is it just a coincidence that they were under 30 or was this the plan from the start?
More valuable chips on the roster added prior to 2021 or during it include pitchers like Joey Lucchesi and Trevor Williams. While neither joined with exceptionally high expectations, Lucchesi has been a guy many have been waiting to break out and have some more success. Williams has flirted with it in the past during his days with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Brought to the club at completely different times, for completely different purposes, and at very different stages of their career, they’re actually only about a year apart.
The differences are subtle. The Mets added youth to the organization last offseason with the hope that maybe a few of the guys would turn things around or continue to develop greater. Whether signed short term or for several seasons with arbitration-eligibility, it wasn’t a bad plan.
The process has clearly sped up for this coming year. Canha, Escobar, and Marte are guys you put on your roster to try to win right now. Scherzer isn’t someone you sign to the largest average contract in history just to flex your financial muscle. You do it to win a championship.
Young and healthy players can be nice on a roster. Guys still playing their best baseball are nicer.