For the first time in a long time, the Mets went into the off-season with real hype and expectations. We had just gotten rid of the scum of the earth Wilpons and replaced them with our beacon of hope worth $14 Billon Steve Cohen. It was all smiles in Mets Land, the Mets were going sign all the top free agents and run through the rest of the league and never look back. Well, that first part wasn’t the case. While the Mets had one of the best off-seasons in franchise history acquiring a franchise superstar in Francisco Lindor, quality top-middle of the rotation arms in Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, a top 10 catcher in James McCann, some relief help in Trevor May and Aaron Loup, and loads of depth to boot, there was a section of fans, especially before the Lindor extension, who cried out that Cohen was just another Wilpon, Cohen isn’t actually willing to spend money, it’s the same old Mets, they missed out on every big free agent, ETC.
Now, admittedly, a lot of these guys, aside from Taijuan Walker, haven’t been as good as advertised to start the season but that doesn’t mean these were bad or the wrong signings. So, with that said, I want to take a look at how the free agents the Mets “missed out on” are doing.
Let’s get this one out of the way first. The biggest fish in free agency according to many, the Mets were in on Bauer till the very end until he trolled the Mets fans and Bob Nightingale into thinking he was signing with them before inevitably signing with his hometown Dodgers at a record setting deal of $40 million per year. As of the writing of this blog, Bauer is sitting at 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA, which is over a full run better than his career ERA of 4, but is currently being investigated by the MLB for using foreign substances to increase the spin rate on his pitches. To top it off with him still being the absolute worst online and you have someone that would’ve been a nightmare to deal with all year.
Another one of the “Big 3” free agents who the Mets were in on till the very was George Springer. Springer wound up signing with the Blue Jays on a 6 year $150 million deal. He would’ve been a great addition to the lineup had the NL moved to a universal DH because the Mets could’ve moved Nimmo to left and Dom to the DH, but alas that didn’t happen. George Springer has yet to play a game for the Blue Jays and is currently on the IL nursing an oblique injury.
The last of the “Big 3” free agents was JT Realmuto. Realmuto was my personal most sought-after free agent in this class, he the best catcher on both sides of the ball and it would’ve filled a major hole for the Mets that they desperately needed. Plus, it would’ve felt great to take him away from the Phillies. However, the Mets signed James McCann to a 4 year $40 million even before Realmuto resigned with the Phillies a few months later for 5 years $115.5 million. Realmuto wound up breaking his thumb before spring training and was a question mark to be ready for Opening Day, but that wasn’t the case as he has played in every game so far this season slashing .324/.361/.500 with 1 HR and 6 RBIs.
Moving into the next tier of free agents, Trevor Rosenthal would’ve been brought in to help solidify the back end of the bullpen. He had a big bounce back year last year with a 1.90 ERA and 11 saves split between the Royals and Padres. He wound up signing a one year $11 million contract with A’s but has yet to make an appearance due to having Thoracic Outlet surgery and being on the IL.
Another guy who the Mets wanted to bring in to help the bullpen, Brad Hand signed a one year $10.5 million deal with the Nationals. The Mets were initially interested in claiming Hand when he was placed on release waivers by the Indians and offered him a contract two year contract before he signed with Washington. Much like with Bauer, a report came out that Hand had signed with the Mets but was debunked a few minutes later. Hand has 1 save and has yet to give up a run so far this season.
A former two time AL Cy Young award winner, Kluber was targeted to round out the rotation at the back end in hopes of a bounce back after two straight injury riddled seasons. Kluber would wind up signing with the crosstown rival Yankees on a one year $11 million contract. So far, Kluber has been nowhere near his old self in his first two starts owning an 0-1 record with a 6.10 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP in 10.1 innings.
Much like Kluber, Paxton was looked at to be a reclamation project on a prove it deal. Paxton would wind up going back to Seattle on a one year $8.5 million contract. Paxton was pulled in his first start after suffering what would turn out to be a season ending forearm injury.
Jackie Bradley Jr:
The Mets wanted to bring in Bradley to take Brandon Nimmos spot in center field. The hope was that the NL was going to move to the universal DH and Bradley would provide the “Juan Lagares type glove” in center, Nimmo would move to left where his defensive metrics faired better in the past and Dom Smith would play DH. But with the MLB stupidly not implementing the DH this year, the Mets instead went and signed Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar as bench depth instead while Bradley would later sign a two year $24 million with the Brewers. He is currently slashing .154/.195/.308 in 11 games.
There were a bunch of other guys the Mets were connected too this offseason, but these were the biggest and most talked about names connected to them. As we can see, aside from Hand and Realmuto, everyone the Mets “missed out on” have either been hurt, bad, or a massive distraction that half the fan base didn’t even want. So, I write all this to say, be patient and don’t take the first two weeks of April as the final product, the Mets made a lot of great moves this offseason and as subpar as they may be doing right now, the other guys they would’ve signed aren’t doing much better. These guys will get hot, especially if we can ever play more than one 9 inning game in a week.