Making any predictions about the upcoming season would likely be a fool’s errand.
When will the season start? Will the season start? How many games will be played if it does start?
But, we are an optimistic lot here, so we’ll operate under the assumption that there will be baseball.
So, IF 2021 is more cooperative than 2020, we’ve identified some Wildcards. Some X-Factors which could determine how the season could play out for the Mets.
1. WILL THERE BE A DH?
This is big. National League teams were instructed to operate as if there would not be a DH in 2021.
If that is the case, the Mets might be the team who are most affected by that decision.
What do the Mets do? Dominic Smith has shown that he is deserving of everyday at bats. But can the Mets play him in left field everyday? If not, do they trade him? Do they trade Pete Alonso?
That opens up another can of worms. Pete Alonso is a wildcard himself. How much stock do we place on his 2020 campaign?
Let’s say the Mets decide to make Smith the everyday left fielder. Do they leave JD Davis at third base and completely throw defense out the window in 2021?
Continuing along with the Smith in left field scenario, does Brandon Nimmo become the center fielder again? Does that mean that they would no longer pursue George Springer?
Lot to unpack.
2. EDWIN DÍAZ.
Edwin Díaz. His stats infuriate me.
After blowing a save, you’ll see his stats all over social media.
“Díaz strikes out 26 hitters per 9 innings!”
I mean, that’s great. But he pitches in one high leverage situation a month, and it usually doesn’t turn out well for us.
Díaz needs to be dominant right out of the gate. Imagine how great it would be if he was able to reestablish himself as a lock down closer?
We could ease Seth Lugo back into a bullpen role, rather than thrusting him into closing games twice a week. Additionally, every other relief option being able to settle into a defined role would be very good for business.
Just the thought of Díaz pitching like the guy we traded for makes me giddy. Díaz taking control of the 9th inning and not relinquishing it would be HUGE.
3. PITCHING STAFF
The Mets have certainly revamped their front office under Steve Cohen. They have replaced Brodie Van Wagenen and Jeff Wilpon with some of the best and brightest minds in baseball.
Time to get to work!
On the very top of their list has to be the pitching staff.
As of right now, they can pencil in Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson.
Can they rely on Steven Matz to hold the fort down until Syndergaard returns? Did the aforementioned David Peterson show them enough to where he is given a rotation spot?
How aggressive should they be on the free agent market? Should they look to make a trade? Do they need two starting pitchers? Do they just need one with some additional depth signings?
Do they go the “reliable” route and look at a Masahiro Tanaka? Do they gamble on pitchers like Garrett Richards or James Paxton staying healthy? Do they purchase a Corey Kluber lottery ticket?
Should be interesting.