The New York Mets have been in rebuild mode for a couple of years now. We just didn’t know it.
Prior to the MLB lockout, the Mets made some incredible strides to alter their roster for the better. They signed four key free agents, completely changing the starting lineup in the process and adding the name-value and talent of Max Scherzer to the rotation.
The word “rebuild” is generally used to describe the process MLB takes undertake when they haven’t been trying their best to win. Teams can rebuild for a half season and make it clear to those watching. This is what the Mets did at the end of 2017 when they sold off most of their veterans at the trade deadline.
However, the team has been constantly trying to reconfigure its roster each offseason since. The process the Mets are in has been less about building upon what they already have and more focused on tinkering with what they’re missing.
The Mets have been in an unorthodox rebuild mode for the past several seasons
Post-2017, we’ve seen two different managers (not including Carlos Beltran), an endless number of general managers (some never actually in the office for the actual season), and a lot of turnover on the roster. Most impactful of all, the ownership is different.
Changes like this push teams into having to make other changes. Lack of consistency at the top will alter the philosophy of any organization. The Mets have had plenty of brains (maybe a few empty spaces with cobwebs as well) sitting in the front office during this time.
We saw the Mets try to rebuild a little bit before 2018 with a half-hearted attempt at filling in some holes. They were relying heavily on their young starting pitchers to bring them far.
In 2019, the Mets had a little bit of a different look. The infusion of some younger players, most notably first baseman Pete Alonso, made them a team that looked a little closer to winning. The additions of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz were meant to bring the club into a different stratosphere. And with Jacob deGrom defending his Cy Young, the team was strong on paper.
Results were better in 2019 than 2018 but the Mets still came up short of the postseason. The whole world got a pandemic-sized curve ball thrown at them in 2020. The moves made in an attempt to build a winner that season can be dismissed in part because of the shortened season. Nevertheless, adding Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to the roster never seemed like the greatest of moves especially when we compare it to the current roster.
The rebuild took on an entirely new direction when Steve Cohen took over as the owner of the franchise and Sandy Alderson was welcomed back. The team would make its splashiest move in January when they added star shortstop Francisco Lindor in a trade along with veteran starter Carlos Carrasco. Other well-received provided fans with some positive vibes heading into the season. Although many didn’t turn out so great, what the Mets were building rather than sustaining.
A major difference from 2017-2020 offseasons was how many guys were brought in on short-term deals. While the Cohen-owned Mets haven’t gone big with every deal, many of the guys added to the organization since he took over are on multi-season contracts. Previous deals handed out by the team were only for a year or two—a fortunate turn in many cases.
The Mets spent a good part of the previous decade losing and patching the roster together. They developed some young studs, said farewell to many franchise heroes, and managed to eventually start bringing in talented guys to help the club turn into a contender in 2015. Success didn’t last long. Not long after, the next rebuilding phase began until we got today where the legs of the team look to be much sturdier than many of us are used to.