It’s time once again for my predictions post, in which I look into the future and correctly guess how the Mets will fare in the coming season. Sure, I am not always correct, but sometimes I am, like last year, when I proclaimed, “I am not on the bandwagon.” Well, I was right then, and unfortunately, I feel the same way this season.
I know not everyone agrees with me. The good folks at sidelines.io, for example, have the Mets tied with the Braves at +525 to represent the National League in the World Series. If only I shared their optimism.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first — I am thrilled with the signing of Max Scherzer and can’t wait to watch him and Jacob deGrom pitch on back-to-back days (if and when deGrom is deemed healthy). But this huge acquisition alone does not guarantee a parade up the Canyon of Heroes.
Which brings us to the Mets other signings. Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha are underwhelming and smack of Sandy Alderson’s infuriating habit of avoiding the best players and acquiring second-tier talent. They are good depth pieces, not starters. Essentially, Canha replaces Michael Conforto and Escobar replaces J.D. Davis (as a regular, in any case). Does that make the Mets a better team, a team that finished 77-85 last season? Defensively at third, yes, but not in the lineup. The Mets still need one more big bat, and for the second year in a row, they failed to get it.
Starling Marte is fine, but the recent announcement that he could play right field seems really stupid to me. I thought the idea was to finally get a real center fielder (no offense, Brandon Nimmo). If the Mets were looking for a corner outfielder, there were better options available, including my predicted National League MVP, Nick Castellanos.
Chris Bassett was a good acquisition; he will solidify the rotation. The bullpen is always a crapshoot.
I do fear the Mets could age very quickly. All of the aforementioned new Mets are 33 years old (Alderson’s lucky number?!), except Scherzer, who is 37. If age catches up with everyone all at once, this could be a recipe for disaster.
Right now, I see the Mets as a third-place team, behind the defending World Series champion Braves and the vastly improved Phillies (that is, if the latter can field the ball!). But with the expanded playoffs, I think the Mets could still finish a few games over .500 and sneak in as a third Wild Card.
So I see the NL division winners as the Braves, Brewers and Dodgers, with the Wild Cards as the Phillies, Padres and Mets. Over in the AL, the Blue Jays, White Sox and Mariners will win their respective divisions, with the Astros, Angels and stupid Yankees as Wild Cards. The Jays and Dodgers will meet in the World Series, with the Dodgers emerging victorious.
Sorry fellow Mets fans — I hope and pray I am proven incorrect. But as I tell my wife, “I’m never wrong!”