Greater than an hour after the Mets’ once-promising 2022 season got here to a screeching halt, the team’s longtime outfielder Brandon Nimmo was still in full uniform within the clubhouse. He had been on the sector taking photos together with his family after the Mets lost to the San Diego Padres, 6-0, on Sunday night at Citi Field in a decisive Game 3 of the National League wild-card round.
For the primary time in his profession, Nimmo, 29, is a free agent, and he had no idea if this is able to be his last time representing the Mets, the one organization he has ever known and the one which drafted him when he was 18.
“I want to enjoy it now and form of soak it in since you never know, especially in baseball, where the long run might take you,” he said. He added later, “No one cares that we won 101 games, just that we lost these two. So, it’s a somber mood within the clubhouse now.”
Late into the night contained in the Mets’ locker room, players hugged, signed mementos for one another, stuffed their belongings into bags or boxes, shared a drink and said their goodbyes. This Mets team, as constructed, won’t ever again be the identical. With so many free agents, the Mets and their major-league-leading $288 million payroll will probably look very different next season.
“It really hurts,” first baseman Pete Alonso said. “It’s not only the losing; it’s the disbanding of the group because each guy on this clubhouse is admittedly awesome. It just sucks that you realize it’s not going to be the identical group next 12 months.”
Change is inevitable in skilled sports. Executives, managers and coaches have shelf lives. Players age or reach the tip of their contracts. Performances fluctuate. The 2022 Mets, after a 101-win regular season that appeared to renew hope a couple of franchise that was often the butt of jokes, will take care of turnover acutely this winter.
The list of key players who’re eligible to turn out to be free agents — or might join them if the choices of their contracts will not be picked up — is long. Your entire starting rotation aside from Max Scherzer may very well be gone: Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. A big chunk of the bullpen, too: Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Adam Ottavino and Trevor May. Nimmo may depart, too.
And on the very top of the organization, the Mets are looking for a latest team president to exchange Sandy Alderson, who’s shifting right into a special adviser role after leading the franchise because the billionaire Steven A. Cohen’s purchase the club two years ago.
“I’ve been an element of organizations where you’re in a position to have a down 12 months after which reset the following 12 months and be really good,” Scherzer said. “So, it’s too early to comment on what’s going to occur next 12 months because you have got all off-season to go. But I’ve been in this example before and I’ve seen organizations rebound, and there’s no reason this organization can’t rebound.”
“I like the inspiration that we’ve here,” said outfielder Mark Canha, adding that he believed in General Manager Billy Eppler and Cohen. (Cohen, players said, addressed the team after the loss, telling them how proud he was of them.)
As Cohen, Eppler, the Mets’ front office, Manager Buck Showalter, the coaching staff and maybe the brand new team president sit right down to dissect this season and why it ended sooner than expected, there may be plenty that may improve despite amassing probably the most regular-season wins their last World Series-winning season in 1986.
“There’s so much that we achieved, however it really stinks the way it ended,” Alonso said. Added shortstop Francisco Lindor, “We didn’t come through. We didn’t finish what we wanted.”
Was the Mets’ offense, more depending on average and on-base percentage and fewer on power, the very best approach to construct a lineup on this era of high velocity and movement? With a small lead over the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves on the time, should the Mets have done more on the Aug. 2 trade deadline to bolster the lineup and bullpen? Can the team re-sign deGrom, 34, who has said he expects to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract extension? And provided that they missed large chunks of 2022 with injuries, how much can deGrom and Scherzer, 38 — with their five Cy Young Awards combined — provide as they proceed to age? What concerning the remainder of the rotation, bullpen and lineup? Will Cohen proceed to spend at a record rate?
Though the Mets’ season ended Sunday, it had been unraveling down the stretch. The Mets led their division, the N.L. East, for your entire season except six days, most of them at the tip.
Had the Mets simply won yet another game throughout the regular season — they were swept by the lowly Chicago Cubs in mid-September, for instance, and by Atlanta over the ultimate weekend — they’d have been in a greater position entering the postseason. Though Atlanta and the Mets each finished with 101 wins, Atlanta owned the season tiebreaker and thus earned a first-round bye to the best-of-five division series starting Tuesday while the Mets needed to play within the wild-card round.
“At times, we wanted to win, and we didn’t win some big baseball games just like the Braves and tonight,” said deGrom, who secured the Mets’ only win within the wild-card round against the Padres but was beaten, like Bassitt and Scherzer, by Atlanta of their pivotal series every week ago. “Everybody on this room is disenchanted, and we’d have liked to have been playing for one more month.”
Added Nimmo: “We relied on our starting pitching the entire 12 months. This offense was built to attain runs consistently but perhaps not put up 10 spots and all that stuff. We were built around that starting pitching. So, yeah, when the Braves did what they did to Jake and Bass and Scherz, after which also them scoring runs like they did this weekend, it’s surprising.”
DeGrom, for that matter, has said he has enjoyed his nine years in Latest York but declined to debate his contract future on Sunday night. Nimmo, Díaz and Lugo, with tears welling in his eyes since he has been within the Mets organization for 12 years, all said they would really like to return but that’s yet to be determined. After the sport, Díaz said Lindor spoke and the players expected to stay next season wished the possibly departing players good luck.
“They obviously hoped that every one of us could return, but unfortunately it’s not like that,” Díaz, 28, said in Spanish. “We’re all not going to be back. And truthfully, I’m going to make the very best decision for me and my family, and I hope to God that I can come back since it appears like family here.”
But keeping Díaz, deGrom and others, plus pursuing top free agents this winter or swinging big trades, would include a unprecedented price tag. Some holes could also be filled from inside, reminiscent of third-year pitcher David Peterson sliding into the rotation. As of Sunday, the Mets have $195 million committed in payroll in 2023, in accordance with Baseball Reference.
A lot could change, though, between now and spring training. A lot already has concerning the Mets in between their most up-to-date playoff appearances in 2016 and this season: a latest owner, more spending, a beefed-up infrastructure, a latest manager, improving stability as a franchise.
Lindor said the team’s culture “goes to be probably the greatest in the sport.” Asked what had modified since last 12 months, he said there was “less noise from the skin” within the clubhouse and “it was expected to win day in and day trip, and this wasn’t like a tryout, and also you’re expected to be accountable.”
In arguing that the Mets were in good condition going forward, Nimmo cited a company Cohen has said he desires to model the Mets after, the Los Angeles Dodgers. To construct a perennial contender, the Dodgers spent numerous money on major-league payroll and developing minor-league prospects, and so they won the 2020 World Series of their eighth straight postseason appearance.
“Sometimes, that have and getting your young guys that have may help out in the long term,” Nimmo said of the Mets. “But I feel it’s going to be looked back on as a steppingstone in the correct direction for this organization. I feel they’re in an amazing spot heading forward. They’ve got an owner that actually desires to win and can do whatever it takes to win. And that’s greater than half the battle right there. This organization is heading in the correct direction.”