The Mets’ offseason and preparations for 2024 are happening a lot sooner than we anticipated back on Opening Day. But still, owner Steve Cohen’s club has a pivotal winter ahead, and now, David Stearns is officially installed as the President of Baseball Operations to steer the ship.
What exactly could the Mets do, though? At the trade deadline, there was a lot of speculation about New York potentially punting 2024. Based on what Max Scherzer shared from his conversations with Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler, that wasn’t surprising.
But then again, this is Cohen. He’s a lifelong Mets fan and is also a hyper-competitive guy. In his first comments after the trade deadline, he downplayed punting 2024. During his introductory press conference, Stearns also reiterated that the team’s focus will be on winning now and consistently into the future.
It may not look like what last offseason was, but the Mets aren’t going to sit out of free agency. SNY’s John Harper recently shared 10 bold MLB offseason predictions. Four of them focused on the Mets, and I’m not going to lie, they’re actually all very realistic.
Below are Harper’s predictions, along with quick thoughts from me about why I think that.
Shohei Ohtani signs with Mets
The long-running thought around baseball is Shohei Ohtani prefers to stay on the West Coast. And with that, it appeared as though the Dodgers had prepared themselves to make a serious run at the two-way superstar.
But as Harper mentioned himself, most of these geographical assumptions are based on Ohtani’s preferences from the 2017 offseason. That’s a long time ago, and he’s much more comfortable in his surroundings. So, if he indicates he’d be willing to play somewhere not on the West Coast, Cohen and Co. are going to do what they can to reel him in.
Even if signing Ohtani is a longshot, it’s more realistic now than it ever would’ve been with the Wilpons in charge.
Mets make big starting pitching splashes
Harper specifically says that he thinks the Mets will sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto before trying to find another starting pitcher in the trade market. Current Brewers hurlers Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are two he called out.
The Mets have been connected to Yamamoto for a while. Some are viewing them as favorites to sign him already. And when it comes to the rotation trade market, Harper himself already named these dudes as possibilities. Thanks to the prospect haul Eppler acquired at the trade deadline, it’s a much more realistic scenario to get a deal done.
Stearns hires Craig Counsell to be manager
The biggest question marks with the Mets potentially hiring Craig Counsell included Buck Showalter’s future (he was under contract through 2024) and whether Counsell was going to take a year off to be with his family.
Well, we’ve already learned that Showalter won’t be returning as the Mets’ skipper next year. It also sounds like Counsell will remain in the dugout for 2024 and beyond. He’ll be the hottest managerial free agent this winter. And, if he doesn’t prioritize staying near his Milwaukee-area home, it would be easy to see why he’d be interested in managing the Mets.
Mets sign David Robertson
David Robertson will be entering his age-39 season in 2024 (if he decides to pitch) and is fresh off posting a 5.06 ERA in 22 appearances with the Marlins. Why would the Mets want to bring him back? Well, because he was terrific during his short tenure with New York (2.05 ERA in 44 innings), and he’d actually get to set up for Edwin Diaz this time around.
Robertson liked playing for the Mets and has said multiple times he’d be open to re-signing with the club. It’d likely be on a one-year deal for less than what he was paid this past year ($10 million), so this would also make a lot of sense.
Now, I’m not saying all four of these scenarios will come true. And, they are indeed bold predictions from Harper. Merely signing Ohtani and Yamamoto would be a huge expenditure for New York. But still, if the Steve Cohen era has taught us one thing, it’s that anything is possible when it comes to the Mets building their roster and trying to win.