The Mets didn’t wind up with Carlos Correabut that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a successful offseason, which saw their luxury tax payroll rise to a historic: $368 million.
Coming off a 101-win season in 2022, Steve Cohen and co. retained stars such as Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmowhile signing the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlanderadding Japanese phenomenon Kodai Senga and veteran lefty starter Jose Quintanaamong other key moves.
The Mets may have come up short in the Wild Card round last season, but their roster is still well-equipped to make a deep run in October this year. The betting experts think so, too.
Per BetMGMthe Mets are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second best odds to win the World Series at +750.
So without further ado, here are the three keys to the Mets winning the World Series in 2023.
Health of Verlander and Scherzer
After losing Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers, the Mets replaced him with a future Hall of Famer in Verlander, pairing him with another future Hall of Fame ace in Max Scherzer.
Now Verlander and Scherzer are still performing at the top of their game, but the former is 40 and the latter 39. This calls into question whether they will be able to remain healthy throughout a full season.
Last year, Scherzer missed significant time with an oblique strain, and struggled down the stretch of the season, where it appeared he was dealing with some discomfort.
As for Verlander, he stayed healthy throughout the regular season and postseason, helping the Houston Astros capture a World Series title. But before last season, Verlander missed nearly two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020.
If the Mets are going to be serious World Series contenders in 2023, a lot will be reliant on the arms and health of Verlander and Scherzer.
After missing out on Correa, the Mets look to be a bat short. Although they were fifth in runs scored a season ago and are bringing back the same lineup, the offense lacked power and struggled to find consistency down the stretch.
So if this Mets team is going to have enough offense, one of two factors are going to have to come into play: Either Francisco Alvarez and/or Brett Baty emerge as the young stars they’re expected to be, or general manager Billy Eppler adds a big bat at the trade deadline.
The Mets’ offense is solid, but probably not good enough to hoist a World Series trophy as it stands. If this club wants to win a championship in 2023, Alvarez and/or Baty will be stars, or the front office brings in a star bat with big power.
In addition to added juice, whether it be from the prospects or externally, the Mets need repeated big campaigns from Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte.
Like the offense, the question that remains to be seen is whether or not the Mets added enough in their bullpen this offseason.
The Mets lost Seth Lugo, Trevor Williams and Joely Rodriguezand let go of Michael Givensbut brought back the best reliever in baseball in their closer Diaz, re-signed Adam Ottavinowho’s coming off a superb season, signed David Robertson and added lefty Brooks Raley. Drew Smith will also be returning to this unit.
But beyond this group lies a plethora of depth pieces: Tommy Hunter, Jimmy Yacabonis, John Curtiss, Stephen Ridings, Jeff Brigham and Elieser Hernandez, among others.
The Mets have shown interest in Andrew Chaffin and Zack Brittonbut SNY reported that they’re “long shots,” considering the team is looking for optional arms.
So, if the Mets are going to contend for a World Series title, for starters, Diaz will need to come close to the amazing campaign he put together in 2022. They will also need their setup men, Ottavino and Robertson, to serve as a reliable bridge to Diaz in the ninth. Smith and Raley will need to pitch in high-leverage situations, too.
In addition to getting production out of the big guns, several depth pitchers are going to need to perform when called upon throughout the season as well.
Finally, the Mets will likely need to acquire another reliever at the trade deadline to help them with their stretch run and in the postseason.
If the bullpen pitches up to expectations, the Mets will have a pretty good shot at contending for a World Series title.