An offseason Mets error in judgment costing the team right now

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants
New York Mets v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Three straight wins against the Philadelphia Phillies had us feeling good. Hidden in the sweep was how little the offense did to contribute. The New York Mets barely hit in the series. It was clutch hitting, mostly from Mark Canha, and some superior pitching against a rotten Phillies club that led the team to victory.

Against a better team with something to prove, the Mets fell well short of keeping the ball rolling. They lost all three over the weekend to the Toronto Blue Jays. You’re still probably icing your eyeballs from watching the mess.

There are a lot of reasons for their struggles. One complete error in judgment during the offseason deserves the finger pointed at it.

The offseason decision to return with basically the same Mets starting lineup was a bad choice

The 2022 Mets scored a lot of runs. Their 772 was tied for fifth in the regular season. It comes out to an average of 4.76 per game.

This year’s team has crossed the plate 258 times which is a tie for 18th place in Major League Baseball with the Seattle Mariners. It’s actually less than the San Francisco Giants, a team full of ex-Mets, and even the Chicago White Sox who have more problems than their offense.

Their average runs per game this season comes in at 4.3 which might not seem so significant. However, at the current pace, they’d cross the plate 697 times. It would rank 17th based on last year’s results.

The Mets have gotten much more out of the veterans of late. Starling Marte’s extra-base hits have been few too many but a couple of clutch home runs recently and regular singles have kept him in the lineup. Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar have been much better ever since the Mets started playing them less. The only veteran holdover from last year who debuted with the ball club in 2022 not doing much of anything is Daniel Vogelbach. It’s his spot in the lineup we can, will, and probably should question most.

The Mets believed they could score just as much in 2023 even without any major offensive upgrades. They can’t say now that they were hoping the Baby Mets would deliver for them. If that was ever in their plans, why weren’t they on the Opening Day roster?

There was no safety net in place for when Francisco Lindor is hitting this badly. This is still a team reliant on Pete Alonso to pop home runs. While he has done that, he hasn’t done much else. 

There wasn’t much realistic wiggle room for the Mets to make changes to the everyday lineup without a large overhaul. Contractual obligations even forced them to dump catcher James McCann onto the Baltimore Orioles in a trade to open up room for Omar Narvaez to share catching duties with Tomas Nido—a guy who got a contract extension before the season and is now designated for assignment in the first week of June.

It’s both beating a dead horse and preaching to the choir (I don’t want to attend a church service there) to say the Mets’ biggest blunder of the offseason wasn’t adding even more aging starting pitchers to an already older rotation. The Mets needed some kind of a missile in the middle of their starting lineup. Their trust that last year’s one-hit loss in the NLWC to eliminate them from the postseason wasn’t a sign is where they missed the most.