With the World Series over, the offseason is underway and it’s time to fantasize over marque free agents coming to the New York Mets in 2020.
Following the 2019 season, the New York Mets are entering this offseason with hopes of making the necessary adjustments for a return to the postseason. Acquiring a game-changer this winter is one way to instantly turn that goal into a reality.
Heading into this offseason, there are three players who are franchise-altering assets going forward. Aside from pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gerritt Cole, there aren’t any other pitchers out on the market who could drastically change a team’s starting rotation. There also isn’t anyone like third baseman Anthony Rendon out in free agency either.
Since the Mets aren’t expected to exceed the luxury tax threshold, they don’t really own a realistic chance of landing any one of the players above. Although, that doesn’t mean we all can’t dream about potentially bringing another All-Star to the Mets this offseason.
Signing Cole this offseason would turn the Mets into the most-feared team in the National League. If opposing teams thought the Astros’ rotation of Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Cole from this past season was lethal, then just imagine how those teams would feel about the Mets’ rotation.
Adding Cole to the Mets would also likely require pitcher Noah Syndergaard to be pushed back to the No. 3 spot within their starting rotation. With both Cole and Jacob deGrom positioned in front of him, Syndergaard would endure significantly less pressure during the 2020 season.
After his inconsistent performance this past season, where he recorded a 4.28 ERA and a 3.60 FIP, Syndergaard could quietly improve in 2020 without the added pressure of needing to carry his team. While Syndergaard clearly adores the New York spotlight, the right-hander would be able to adjust his mechanics to perfection stress-free next season.
With deGrom and Cole pitching together at the top of the Mets’ rotation, their combined 2.47 ERA from 2019 would give the Mets the best pitching duo in baseball. Despite Cole being an attractive target for the Mets, the 29-year-old’s expensive price tag will likely prevent him from wearing the blue pinstripes next season, as he’s expected to command $30-plus million this offseason.
With Strasburg seemingly certain to opt-out of the remaining four years and $100 million left on his current contract, the 31-year-old is about to become one of the most coveted players on the open market this winter. Bringing in Strasburg this winter would also have a lot of the same advantages that Cole would provide with the Mets as well.
However, Strasburg is two years older than Cole and he has previously endured very serious injuries over his ten seasons in the majors. Along with requiring Tommy John surgery during his rookie season, Strasburg has also sustained a handful of injuries precipitating lengthy absences since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
On the other hand, the Mets would be signing a pitcher who dominated opposing teams in October. During this postseason, Strasburg recorded a 1.98 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 43.1% strikeout rate and a .221 OPP AVG. The three-time All-Star would also supply the Mets with another pitcher to rely on in big moments, just like the Nationals did during their run to a World Series victory.
Adding a former World Series MVP definitely wouldn’t hurt the Mets’ chances of making it back to the playoffs in 2020. Just like with Cole, Strasburg will also likely command $30-plus million this offseason, which without question takes the Mets out of the sweepstakes for his services.
This past season, the Mets owned one of the best offenses in the entire NL. First baseman Pete Alonso led the charge with his 53 home runs, which paved the way for his team to record the fifth-most home runs (242) in the NL.
Now just imagine having Rendon, who hit 34 home runs and drove in a league-leading 126 RBIs with the Nationals this past season, hitting behind Alonso. Rendon’s 7.0 fWAR also ranked fourth-best in the NL as well. The acquisition of Rendon would make this Mets’ lineup one of the deepest and most productive rosters throughout the whole league.
With Jeff McNeil leading off, newly appointed manager Carlos Beltran could place Michael Conforto in the No. 2 spot, with Alonso and Rendon providing plenty of protection. After the big sluggers, the Mets could bat Robinson Cano followed by Wilson Ramos. At the bottom of their lineup, the Mets could have Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo before the pitcher’s spot in the No. 9 slot.
Despite committing eleven errors at third base this past season, Rendon would make an excellent addition to the Mets’ infield in 2020. However, signing Rendon would prevent promising outfielder J.D. Davis from playing every day. So, along with Rendon also likely demanding somewhere around $30 million this winter, it doesn’t seem likely that the Mets will pursue the All-Star third baseman.