The Chicago Cubs have fought their way into the NL playoff picture in a season where the expectations didn't have them finishing ahead of teams such as the San Diego Padres or our New York Mets. Yet here we are looking upward. Offseason additions for them included Dansby Swanson, Jameson Taillon, and their best move of all, signing former MVP Cody Bellinger off of another down year.
A league of underachievers opened the door for the Cubs. The Mets can take a few notes on what has and what hasn't worked well in Chicago after their tear down.
The NY Mets can learn a lesson from the Cubs after a trade deadline sale
The Cubs aren't a National League powerhouse. They should still get credit for selling so many major pieces in 2021 and refusing to extend the sell-off any longer than it had to continue. They were trade deadline salespeople in 2022 again, but they made the kind of moves a contender might execute in the winter prior.
Marcus Stroman was a big addition to the Cubs roster for the 2022 season. It was also the year they won the bidding for Seiya Suzuki. Shortly after subtracting core members of the franchise, they steamed forward. Ian Happy received an extension. They were choosy in terms of who they kept and who they let walk away.
The Cubs weren't very good for only a short period of time. A big reason is how many of those beloved players, particularly those from the 2016 championship team, have stunk post-Cubs. Injuries have limited their playing time. Those who’ve managed to stay healthy have dropped off a cliff.
A similar attack is something we could see out of the Mets. Chicago added win-now players at a minimum in 2022. More were brought in for 2023. It was a slow reload.
For the Mets, this means sticking with a timetable of expected contention and building your roster early. Yoshinobu Yamamoto has caught the eye of many fans already. Julio Urias could do the same. Unlike last winter though, the Mets might want to take a backseat when it comes to directly replacing all of the holes on the roster. Maybe it’s best to hand some playing time over to guys you already have and see who develops.
Taking a year off from spending seems like a ridiculously bad direction to take the club. They might not throw around any record-breaking contracts. It would be inexcusable for the Mets to skip over any improvements whatsoever.
It won’t take gathering up as many future Hall of Famers as possible to make the Mets good again in 2024. They need to be clever, patient, and most of all get a couple more players to have even an average year for themselves. Put Jeff McNeil back into the batting race. Add a healthy All-Star Starling Marte. Those “asks” right there already put the Mets closer to .500. That’s the easy part. The hard part is fixing everything else by the time we get to 2025.