The dynamic duo of Mickey Callaway (who was relieved of his duties after the 2019 season foreclosed) and Brodie “The Bro” Van Wagenen did not go as planned but still were not terrible. After finishing 3rd in the NL East with an 86-76 record and a 46-26 record for the second half of the season, the Mets seemed to maybe have figured something out. Not sure what it was but someone might have to credit the now TWO-TIME Cy Young Award winner, Jacob DeGrom, and newly crowned NL Rookie of the Year, Pete Alonso, for their contributions of keeping the Mets in it. They had no chance with the great franchise in Atlanta steamrolling through the NL East (even though the Mets somehow took eight games from the great Braves) but they did their best.
Thinking about it, the Mets were damn lucky to finish where they did after the dismal 2019 seasons of off-season acquisitions Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. Cano ended up slashing an easily career worst .256/.307/.428 with 13 home runs, 39 RBI, 100 hits through 107 games. Edwin Diaz, who was brought in to fill the long vacant closers role, seemed to only make things worse for the Mets as the season went on. Diaz finished with a 5.59 ERA 26 saves, seven losses which all resulted in blown saves and a 1.379 WHIP. Take even five of those seven blown saves out and the Mets suddenly have themselves a 90 win season.
Obviously, the likes of Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto cannot be overlooked as all of them plan to build upon their very successful 2019 seasons. So after rambling about all these positives, you should have an idea of what I am about to get into. It’s like when someone comes up to you and they’re bullshitting saying nice things to you at first just to bring up their real point of conversation to bring you right back down a couple sentences later.
The Mets rotation last year was top notch. DeGrom, Syndegaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, and the late addition of Marcus Stroman, (Jason Vargas was holding down the fort until he wanted to intimidate a reporter) things could have been way worse in New York. As a team, the Mets were 11th in all of baseball in ERA with a 4.24 mark, 5th in strikeouts (1520). 13th in OBP allowed (.317), 9th in slugging allowed (.418), last in stolen bases allowed with 139 (next closest team had 99) and middle of the pack for just about every other category. It is the bullpen that needs work.
A bullpen that had the names to do it, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Luis Avilan, and Seth Lugo, just couldn’t put it all together. Besides Seth Lugo, who was by far the most competent reliver with an ERA of 2.70, WHIP of .90, 104 strikeouts, only 16 walks and threw a team leading 80 innings. In other words, the farthest thing from the Mets problems. So what did the Mets do this off-season? They went out and got TWO more starters. Rick Porcello, one-year, $10 million contract and former St. Louis Cardinal, Michael Wacha, one-year $3 million contract with incentives that could boost that total depending on how many games he starts or if he is in the bullpen.
I know what you’re thinking: “why the hell were they concerned about starters when their bullpen is clearly the problem?” Well no worries because when the world was bitching about the Mets not adding any relievers, you know what they did to give Mets fans a little gift right before Christmas? The New York Mets actually made a logical decision and signed former Yankee reliever Delin Betances to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million and a player option for the 2021 season. Not bad for a team in desperate need of a bulpen arm to maybe put them over the hump and launch them into a Wild Card spot. They will not beat the Braves.
Do two wrongs make a right? In this scenario, yes. Maybe that makes no sense in this context but in my brain them signing two starters when they didn’t really NEED them to finally make a productive move in signing a great bullpen arm was the right move. The Mets still have a ways to go to catch the Braves and Nationals but if everything goes their way, they could have a chance to get one of those Wild Card spots and play the Braves in the NL Division Series.
P.S. If the Mets would have given Eric Hanhold a chance last year to compete for a bullpen spot and gain traction instead of running guys out there like Chris Flexen, Chris Mazza, Tim Peterson, Corey Oswalt, Brooks Pounders, nothing against those guys because I’m sure they’re great people but maybe the Mets could have found a diamond in the rough. Just sayin’.