Mets Shake Things Up in the Offseason

An offseason of disappointing developments has suddenly flipped into one of ecstasy after the Mets added Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar and, of course, Max Scherzer and now more than ever it feels like Steve Cohen’s promise of bringing success to New York is finally coming true.

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The Mets welcomed their new star pitcher who will pair alongside Jacob deGrom. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Nicholas Raptis, Contributing Writer

Steve Cohen and his New York Mets garnered considerable attention over the past weekend, and it was finally for something good. Recently, most headlines involving the Mets mentioned their season of underachievement, several controversies or questionable management. It seems the team is making considerable efforts to start a new chapter with their latest signings.

The biggest of which was finalized Monday, when Max Scherzer of the Los Angeles Dodgers officially became a Met. Scherzer signed a three-year contract worth $130 million. The deal includes an option for the 37 year old star right handed pitcher to opt out after his second season. The Mets also significantly increased their hitting and fielding capabilities with the addition of infielder Eduardo Escobar, center fielder Starling Marte and outfielder Mark Canha.

The Mets, along with other franchises, were in a hurry to make deals before the MLB lockout went into effect early Thursday morning. The league implemented the lockout after talks with labor officials stalled out. Teams cannot sign free agents or trade players while the lockout is in effect. While the lockout is expected to end before March, it is clear the Mets felt that it was better to be safe than sorry.

The Mets were having a rocky offseason before these acquisitions. They struggled to hire replacements following the firings of manager Luis Rojas and general manager Zack Scott. Some potential candidates indicated they would rather not work in New York, a city which historically has high expectations and little patience for losing. After talks with several hopefuls stalled out, the team signed ex-Angels manager Billy Eppler as general manager. Although his time in Los Angeles did not result in much winning, he oversaw the acquisition of one of the MLB’s most recent MVPs, Shohei Ohtani. This eye for talent is evident after the additions he made over the weekend and is an encouraging sign for the future. The Mets are still on the hunt for a new manager, though a position many considered undesirable has suddenly become much more appealing after the recent wave of signings.

Besides front office workers, the Mets were also struggling to hire talent. The earliest gut punch was when pitcher Noah Syndergaard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a marginal increase in pay. While Syndergaard went on record to say it was one of the most difficult decisions to make, the Mets still felt betrayed after supporting him during a season of injury.

Further complications arose when the team reached out to pitcher Steven Matz, an ex-Met who had played last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mets were among several teams who reached out to Matz this offseason. However, Matz’s agent failed to mention the Mets offer to the pitcher. Mets owner Steve Cohen took his frustration to Twitter, claiming that he has “Never seen such unprofessional behavior.” Whether Cohen should be airing out grievances so publicly is a matter of opinion, but it does appear as though his criticism of Matz’s agent are justified. Matz will play next season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Big changes were promised when Steve Cohen took the reins for the Mets, and this offseason is the first time it felt as if that might be true. Adding Max Scherzer to a pitching staff that already includes ace Jacob deGrom provides the Mets with one of the best duos in the league. Escobar, Marte and Canha will almost certainly become invaluable pieces on defense, and hopefully they can revive a team that is struggling to hit. All of them batted above .230 last season, with Marte batting the best above .300. It certainly is sad to see old favorites leave the team, but this is lessened when it appears that new solid players are joining to pick up the pieces. For the first time in a long time, the future is bright in New York.