What are the New York Mets doing? After selling off Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, many have felt they're waving the white flag for 2023 and 2024. Throw in the Pete Alonso offseason trade rumors and there's truly a case to be made for this team not to be relevant again until 2025.
If that's the case, then you'd assume they're probably out on Shohei Ohtani come this offseason, right? Scherzer said it himself: Steve Cohen claimed there probably won't be a free agency splurge after the 2023 campaign for the Mets.
That, in theory, should help the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets bowing out removes the biggest financial threat to LA in any chase for Ohtani. It doesn't necessarily clear an obstacle-free path for the Dodgers, but it helps.
The Mets' acquisition of a glut of top prospects they paid for -- headlined by Ronald Acuña's little brother Luisangel -- suggests they're "building" for a more promising future, but it's possible they have a two-pronged approach.
They still have an MLB roster filled with talented players. Are we sure they're not going to continue buying the next two offseasons and then integrate Acuña, Drew Gilbert, Ryan Clifford, Justin Jarvis and others over the coming years?
How did Mets trade deadline affect Dodgers in Shohei Ohtani chase?
They could've very well lied to Scherzer in order to get the veteran to waive his no-trade clause. Because why would they openly divulge their plan to him so he can reveal it to the media, like he did the moment he arrived in Texas? Doesn't seem to make a ton of sense. And the only way he would've comfortably waived his no-trade clause was if he knew there was little chance of the Mets competing in 2024 -- the last year of his contract.
The Mets might be paying for a majority of Scherzer's and Verlander's contracts, but they did free up some money and perhaps mapped out a better plan to solve their issues. Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil and Edwin Diaz are under contract for a while. Staring Marte is signed through 2025. You mean to tell us this team isn't going to "compete"? They're a couple of mid-tier additions away from meeting playoff expectations.
What if they signed a combination of Ohtani, Blake Snell, Julio Urías, Aaron Nola and Eduardo Rodriguez and then added a bunch of relievers to stabilize the bullpen? We know Ohtani wants to win, which needs to be one of the main selling points, but will he really spurn a team if 2024 doesn't have the rosiest projections?
It might seem like a farfetched conspiracy, but Cohen is the richest owner in baseball. He just ate almost $90 million to ensure he received the prospects of his choosing. Those were the easiest moves he could've made in terms of getting those players off the roster and saving a few bucks.
If those two weren't going to help the Mets win in 2023, then there was little reason to move forward with what felt like a stale, short-term plan. Now, there's a bit more flexibility to improve the current roster, and when David Stearns arrives to become the likely president of baseball operations, there's no telling what the plan will be come November.
We'd remain cautiously optimistic on Dodgers-Ohtani, that's all we're saying.