This is a painful post to write because in a time of optimism for Mets fans, I find myself pessimistic. So many of the experts are predicting great things for the Mets this season, but I am just not seeing it. I do think they will end up playing in October, but not deep into the month.
The Mets were a losing team in the 2020 COVID season, failing to make the playoffs despite the fact that eight, count ’em, eight teams made the postseason in each league. Is the 2021 roster that much different than last year’s squad that finished a paltry 26-34? Not much.
Yes, they have Francisco Lindor, one of the best players in the game. And they have James McCann, an upgrade over Wilson Ramos. But that’s about it. The defense is still lacking with Dominic Smith out of position in the outfield, Brandon Nimmo out of position in center field and J.D. Davis a below average third baseman. This is not a recipe for success.
The starting pitching is better, but with Carlos Carrasco out until who knows when and Noah Syndergaard not expected back from Tommy John surgery until at least May or June, the rotation does not look all that intimidating after Jacob deGrom. And the bullpen? Well, the Mets yearly disaster is poised to be very good or very, very bad. Bullpens are a crapshoot, and Sandy Alderson’s history of picking bullpen arms is just not great. So forgive me if I am skeptical.
Which leads me to the elephant in my room — Sandy Alderson. I just do not like him or his team-building philosophy. So perhaps this is all my anti-Alderson bias seeping through. But I thought he could have made so many better moves over the winter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I am very excited about the new ownership of the Mets, but I really wish Alderson was not involved. This was a time to move forward, not a time to bring back a failed steward from the past.
In any case, I do think the Mets are good enough to win 85 or so games (remember, they did manage to win 86 games in 2019, the league’s last full season), which should alo be good enough for the second Wild Card. However, I see the Mets getting bounced from the postseason by the other Wild card team, the Padres.
As far as the rest of the league, I predict the division winners in the NL will be the Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers. I’ve already told you which teams will be Wild Cards. Over in the AL, the Blue Jays, White Sox and Angels will win their respective divisions. The stupid Yankees and the Rays will be Wild Cards.
So which team will be crowned champions? It would be easy to say the Dodgers again, so let’s take the easy route, as I often do.
And back to the Mets, please, please, please prove me wrong. Nothing would make me happier.