To say the 2023 New York Mets have been a disappointment would be a gross understatement.
With championship expectations high, the team found itself under .500 at the All-Star break with slim hopes of even making the postseason. Almost all the characteristics that led the 2022 team to 101 regular season wins – clutch hitting, quality pitching, and strong fundamentals – have regressed considerably just a year later, despite many of the same players and personnel in place.
Yet not all hope is lost, and there are still plenty of reasons to follow the Mets in the second half, regardless of where they finish.
NY Mets storyline: Will the Mets be trade deadline buyers or sellers?
When the calendar flipped to July, the Mets were clearly trending towards being sellers at the trade deadline – an indictment of a disastrous first three months that had them closer to last place in the N.L. East than the playoffs.
A 6-2 start to July, however, put the Mets at 42-48, seven games back of the final N.L. Wild Card spot heading into the All-Star break. While there remains a significant hill to climb, a late playoff run is at least still possible.
Realistically, the Mets probably need to be around or above .500 and a game or two closer to that playoff spot to justify being buyers. That would translate to a 10-5 or 11-4 record over their final 15 July games – not impossible, but not easy.
If this doesn’t happen, look for guys like David Robertson and Tommy Pham – players on one-year deals who have performed at or better than par – to be prime trade candidates for future prospects. There’s always a chance others like Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander could be dealt too, but given the size and complexity of their contracts, they seem less likely to move.
Still, it’s possible the organization makes a last ditched attempt at saving this once-promising season. In his comments to the press on June 28, Steve Cohen indicated the organization was preparing for multiple scenarios while also citing how so many recent postseason teams have come back from early season struggles. Even if there’s a remote chance at keeping their championship hopes alive, it’s hard to imagine this regime letting that opportunity pass.