Hot Stove Controversy

By Charles Vasquez

Over the past six months, the Mets have had very few positives to discuss, and unfortunately, there are many negatives to throw. Since November and continuing through the next couple of months, the Mets pursue rebuilding and hope to put a better team on the field than they had last year.

There was some positive momentum for the Mets early in the 2021 season. Pete Alonso was one very bright spot. He finished the year batting .262 with 37 home runs, and his home run total was the third best in the MLB. He also won the 2021 Home Run Derby to add to this season’s resumé. All of these statistics earned him a nomination to be on the MLB’s all-first and second team. Do not let the fact that he did not make one of the All-MLB teams be a distraction towards his stellar season.

Another bright spot for the Mets in 2021 was their four-time All-Star pitcher, Jacob deGrom. He began the year having one of the best seasons by any pitching standards that have been recorded in the stat books. He appeared in 14 games with a remarkable 1.08 ERA and 112 strikeouts. Through the first three months of the season, the baseball world observed abilities that had rarely been demonstrated before. Fans astonished by deGrom’s statistics joked that he did not come from planet Earth. However, untimely injuries led to the early conclusion of his 2021 campaign.

Many fans expressed that their hopes had once again diminished this season for several reasons. The first of which was the Mets failure to maintain first place. Fans had high hopes, yet right away, the Mets started slowly. Fans later predicted success when the Mets turned their playing around and the wins started to come in. However, that did not last long.

“The final nail in the Mets’ coffin was watching their rivals, the Atlanta Braves, take over their division.”

The Mets experienced a myriad of injuries. Michael Conforto, a power hitting right fielder, went down. The fan base conveys that this was detrimental and made it much easier for opposing pitchers to battle through the Mets' lineup. Another essential bat in Jeff McNeil was lost due to his hamstring injury. Without their daily reps upon their return, Conforto and McNeil never produced as expected for the remainder of the season. Similar outcomes were seen for the team collectively, who would score little to no runs when deGrom was on the mound and left runners in scoring position.

Acquiring Francisco Lindor last offseason turned out to be an underachieving letdown for some fans. For many fans, there are no words to express the extent to which deGrom was missed when he landed on the injured reserve roster. After Jacob deGrom was dazzling his 101mph fastball with movement, he suddenly started experiencing injuries. The most debilitating injuries included right side soreness and elbow tendinitis. The final nail in the Mets’ coffin was watching their rivals, the Atlanta Braves, take over their division.

The 2021 MLB season came to a close on November 2, 2021, with the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series. The Mets worked towards positive developments. The first order of business was to replace the Mets general manager, since the previous general manager was arrested for DUI and consequently fired. After an extensive process, new manager Billy Eppler from the Los Angeles Angels was hired. Eppler began working on shoring up the team with some free agent acquisitions, such as players Max Scherzer and Starling Marte. The Mets additionally signed Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha. Escobar appeared in the All-Star game for the first time in his career last year after he slashed a .253 batting average and 77 RBIs. Lifetime Oakland Athletics outfielder Canha is whom fans project will replace free agent Michael Conforto.

Artwork by Shadia Zayer

Former Mets pitcher Noah "Thor" Syndergaard flies into a contract with the Angels.

A few days into Eppler’s tenure, the Mets lost one of their soon-to-return to the rotation players, Noah Syndergaard. After repairing Syndergaard’s elbow via Tommy John Surgery and rehabilitating over the past 16 months, fans saw Syndergaard pitch one last time at the end of the season. Hopeful fans woke up one day disappointed to find Syndergaard had become a Los Angeles Angel. This crushed many Mets fans because they felt he was a key part of the 2015 World Series run and was expected to be a lifetime Met. Rumor has it, he felt unsettled without knowing who the team manager would be, just like Aaron Loup.

Looking into the future of 2022 spring training, fans speculate that things are looking bright for the Mets. With the addition of Max Scherzer, the Mets could possibly witness the best one-two punch in the MLB. Alonso, Marte, Lindor and company will most likely bolster any pitching concerns.

“As a baseball fan, I think that the Mets-off season has been absurd. I mean with the signings of Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, Max Scherzer, and Starling Marte their team is really coming together. Steve Cohen has helped bring assists that can take the Mets to the next level. Although, they did lose key players like Aaron Loup and Syndergard, I believe their new additions will outweigh their losses. The Mets are going to be a scary matchup for the rest of the MLB,” said freshman Arjit Nair.

Despite losses and speculations regarding their lineup, the Mets have acquired what baseball fans would argue as talented players. NHP students express that things are looking up for Mets fans.