3) NY Mets mistake: Not adding a high-leverage left-handed reliever
The Mets made an immediate splash this offseason by securing Edwin Diaz as their closer for the foreseeable future. Just as important, however, is how the Mets plan to bridge the gap to Diaz in the ninth inning, particularly from the left side.
A frequent criticism of the Mets approach last year was how the team failed to add a proven left-handed pitcher to the bullpen. It was a noticeable issue entering the season after Aaron Loup was not retained following a historically dominant 2021 campaign. It became an even more glaring hole after Billy Eppler failed to trade for a lefty at the deadline in August.
While the bullpen will be a major focus area for the Mets holistically, adding a lefty who can succeed in high leverage situations is critical, especially with a prevalence of left-handed power bats in the division. Matt Olson hit seven home runs against the Mets in his first season with the Braves. The Phillies will still have perennial Mets-killer Kyle Schwarber to go along with Harper at the top of their lineup.
Amidst several different experiments, Joely Rodriguez was ultimately the only left-handed reliever to stick around with the Mets for all of 2022. And despite a few flashes of brilliance, he pitched to a 4.47 ERA in 55 appearances, most of which were in lower-leverage situations. With quality options expected to be available on the market this winter, that cannot happen again in 2023.