Let’s take a quick look at the New York Mets thus far into the 2021 season. They are in first place in the National League East by a relatively comfortable margin. Jacob deGrom is in the midst of what could be the greatest season for a pitcher — ever. And for the first time in a long time, they appear to have a good, young core around which to build. So why are we all miserable?
Well, you could argue the Mets are in first place by default. The NL East is shaping up to be the weakest division in baseball. The Mets are the only team over .500. By all appearances, deGrom is hanging on by a thread — who isn’t dreading that every spectacular pitch he throws will be the last of the season? And the young core is not performing as expected. So that’s why we’re miserable.
Oh, did I mention those pesky injuries? Not a big deal — only every regular except Francisco Lindor and James McCann — the two major offseason acquisitions who have disappointed thus far — have spent time on the IL. Even the reserves started falling by the wayside, forcing the likes of Cameron Maybin and Mason Williams into the starting lineup. Every starting pitcher except David Peterson has also missed time with injury (expect Marcus Stroman to join the IL parade). Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have yet to pitch this season. The bullpen has been relatively healthy (a low bar, indeed), but Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia have just been added to the IL.
The injuries (not to mention the lack of offense) is just creating a negative feeling around this team, as we wait for the long losing streak that is sure to happen. After all, the Mets are undermanned — they can’t keep winning forever. A major trade is unlikely to happen; the team really has no trade chip, unless they want to pull a Brodie Van Wagenen and send away all of the team’s top prospects. I don’t expect Sandy Alderson to do that.
The Mets are just not a good bet at this point. Incidentally, if you live in New York, you’d have a tough time betting on them, anyway. With online sports betting proliferating around the country, here in New York you can only place a bet via retailers. This is much to the state’s detriment — total betting revenue is less than $30 million since the state legalized sports gambling in July 2019. Just imagine how much money the state would make if it decides to allow online betting.
But that’s neither here nor there. The Mets could be facing a very difficult month or two if things keep going the way they are now. However, if deGrom does not fall apart, and the Mets doctors have some miracle cures up their sleeves, and if the Mets new hitting coaches can teach the team how to hit a baseball, things could just turn around. Why can’t we just have nice things?