Outside of the end result, the 2022 MLB season was exciting for New York baseball fans. The Mets and Yankees combined for 200 regular-season wins. They also each qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2015. After an expensive offseason in both boroughs, expectations were high in 2023.
Heck, some projections even liked the idea of both New York teams facing off in the World Series this October. But here we are, six months later and the complete opposite has happened.
The Mets waved the white flag at the trade deadline and will enter Tuesday’s games with a 70-80 record. They’ve all but secured their fifth losing season since 2017. The Bombers are in a slightly better spot, but not much. After suffering their worst losing streak in 40 years, manager Aaron Boone’s club is 76-74 and trying to finish the year out of the AL East basement.
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Do you know what makes this all worse? The Mets and Yankees began this season with MLB’s top two payrolls. A disappointing season like this should lead to absolutely no end-of-season accolades, but they’re each getting one anyway.
Well, it’s technically a three-way tie between the two of them and the San Diego Padres: The Platinum Toilet Award. ESPN’s Jeff Passan handed out his MLB awards for this season. The Platinum Toilet is given to the team that wastes the most money in a particular season.
Since they began the year with an MLB record $350-plus million payroll, the Mets technically wasted the most money. But, since the Yankees (second-highest payroll) and the Padres (third-highest payroll) also fell well below expectations, they all get their own fancy toilet. Here’s what he said about it:
The New York Mets, with their record $353.5 million Opening Day payroll, were so bad they punted at the trade deadline and dealt two future Hall of Fame pitchers in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. The New York Yankees, with a $277 million roster, were nevertheless the worst offensive team in the big leagues during the seven weeks Aaron Judge missed and are fighting to avoid a below-.500 finish for the first time since 1992. The San Diego Padres, at $249 million, have significantly outscored opponents but are 0-11 in extra-inning games and 6-22 in one-run games, two of the ugliest numbers in the big leagues.
All in all, the Mets, Yankees and Padres committed $879.5 million for teams that today are a combined 217-232 and 64.5 games back of first place. Rather than pick one, let’s shatter the budget and get platinum toilets for all three. Each deserves it.
As usual, Passan doesn’t miss. The Mets, Yankees, and Padres all definitely deserve this “honor” being shared between the three of them.
Having these squads all drastically underperform preseason expectations is a huge feather in the cap of the crowd that continually says “See?! You can’t buy championships.” There’s some truth to that, but it’s a mixture of things. Having a strong organizational foundation is necessary. But, having the ability to afford players that’ll get a team over the hump is certainly needed, too.
Regardless of how you want to slice it, both New York teams and San Diego just didn’t have it in 2023. Here’s to hoping this will be the last Platinum Toilet Award the Mets and Yankees win for a long time.