The original plan for this article was to argue that Steve Cohen should continue using his significant financial resources to round out the edges of the Mets’ roster with more talent than fans have been used to seeing over the last decade or so. The Wilpon-era, Sandy Alderson-led teams tended to put a bow on their offseason “spending” by signing scrapheap/reclamation projects while praying for both catching lightning in a bottle and fewer injuries than inevitably occurred. The results tended to be unsurprisingly disastrous, with players that would need a miracle to reach even replacement level seeing more innings and starts than any serious team should allow.

That hypothetical piece would have highlighted that Cohen should continue what he started last offseason when the team signed guys like Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar – that is, sign high-quality players for as many spots on that 26-man roster as you can to reinforce (or amazingly perhaps improve) the 101-win team that managed to fall short of expectations last season. In other words, the Mets should continue to move towards truly being the “Dodgers East” we’ve heard so many times since he acquired the team by flexing their financial muscle.

Then Cohen turned the baseball world on its ear.

There’s been an avalanche of digital ink committed to covering just what went down when the Mets swooped in to snatch Carlos Correa from a Giants team that seemingly got cold feet, so there’s no need to rehash the details here. Suffice it to say, however, whatever gentleman’s agreement (read: collusion) between owners that was in place preventing Cohen from unleashing his billions on the market went up in flames when decade-plus deals were being doled out like candy by the competition.

Another point that’s also been highlighted as part of this drama does bear repeating, though: for all of the Mets’ pre-Correa spending this offseason, they committed half a billion dollars to effectively maintain the status quo. They re-signed key contributors in Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, and Adam Ottavino while signing Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, and Jose Quintana to replace the losses of Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker. Despite that (impressive) spending, the only substantial upgrade to last season’s roster didn’t occur until the Correa signing.

It could be argued that simply maintaining the status quo was a questionable strategy considering the quality of the competition in the NL East and the fact that the Mets success last season was in large part due to career years from multiple core contributors that can’t realistically be expected to be repeated. Nimmo had his most productive season to date and his best by far since 2018 with 5.4 fWAR, Jeff McNeil contributed a mind-blowing 5.9 fWAR (his best since 2019), and even players like Daniel Vogelbach and Luis Guillorme quietly contributed their best seasons in terms of fWAR as well.

Beyond pulling out all of the stops to add an elite player to a 101-win team, the Mets largely achieved the aforementioned original intent of this article. Correa will play third base, pushing Escobar out of that starting role among other roster reverberations. The Mets chose to forgo trading impact prospects for true DH help at the deadline last season, instead opting to acquire players like Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf in the hope of stitching together a halfway decent platoon. At times this offseason it seemed as if the team was content on moving into the 2023 season with this half measure still in place despite DH being one of the only true spots on the roster where a significant upgrade was realistic.

Escobar, by all means worthy of being the starting third baseman for the 2023 Mets and several other competitive teams, will likely now see semi-regular playing time between starts at third base, second base, and perhaps the short side of a DH platoon with Vogelbach. This would also push players that provided little or no value to the team in 2022 like Ruf or James McCann (already traded away) into smaller roles or off of the roster completely. Additionally, being able to drop dead weight with little consequence would theoretically allow the team to audition near-ready prospects like Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, and Mark Vientos with few of the downsides of carrying one or more of them on the roster while potentially reaping the rewards of a potential breakout.

The major caveat to essentially the entirety of this piece is that the Correa deal is (not inconsequentially) still pending a physical, but his signing clearly strengthens the overall roster beyond his direct contributions. A rising tide lifts all boats and all that. Gone are the days of doing “just enough” and lottery ticket, fringe players rounding out the roster while the team lacked any kind of fallback options when they ultimately and predictably don’t pan out. The team should be continuously striving to improve all aspects of the roster with the best players they can, and they’re clearly not fooling around when it comes to that goal.

According to some pundits and outraged rival executives, Cohen and the Mets have apparently changed the baseball world with their unprecedented pursuit of winning baseball games at all costs. The long-term effects on the game as a whole and the franchise specifically remain to be seen, though it’s quite ironic that the cross-town rival of the formerly free-spending Yankees has morphed into the new Evil Empire. Personally I’m all for an owner pulling out all the stops to right a franchise that was for so long a bumbling joke of a large market team, particularly as a fan that experienced the dark days of the post-Madoff Wilpon era of austerity firsthand (and admittedly acted as an apologist for them at times).

Don’t let up, Mr. Cohen. It’s absolutely now championship or bust in Queens, and it will be fascinating to watch the next chapters unfold.

13 comments on “Carlos Correa and the rising tide

  • Steve_S.


    Cohen knew (and said) that they had to upgrade the offense significantly; otherwise, they were coming back with pretty much the same team with some new faces.

    And Escobar/Voggie/Alvarez soon enough strengthens the DH and C positions.

    And, importantly, the infield defense is much improved! Last year, the Mets at 3B had the second worst team defense there with -14 defensive runs saved (Philadelphia had -15). Minnesota at SS had a 1.

  • Mike W

    This teamooks great. I think that they still have some moves to make. I would like to see Ruf replaced as the 4th outfielder and add one more reliever. All of this will probably be made via trade.

    It should be interesting to see Mauricio and maybe even Baty play outfield at AAA.

    • Steve_S.

      Trades are possible, but two free agents would work out well for our Mets:

      Adam Duvall (age 34) for $7m?
      Andrew Chafin (32) for for $7.5m?

  • Rob.Rogan

    Welp, this was relevant for all of a couple of hours before more concerns have been raised with Correa’s medicals. *sigh*

  • JamesTOB

    Rob, you nailed it.

    • Rob.Rogan


  • Steve_S.

    The deal will go through with some protections for the Mets on Correa’s ankle, at the minimum.

    • Mike W

      He has platyed for eight years without an injury from it. Maybe he has some signs of arthritis in it. We will see. I do feel they will work through it.

  • Footballhead

    12 years for 315 million…, a 26.25m avg. I’ve read that the Mets would most likely insist on opt-out measures re: Correa’s ability to stay on the field; which would make sense. Don’t know how any of this plays out with the players union though. Personally? I would be happy for a 6 year 180 million deal.

  • TexasGusCC

    Last year, Cohen signed good players to fill slots. This year, he is signing elite players where possible. In football, they call them playmakers. In baseball, they are elite: Verlander, Diaz, Correa, and Senga. Nimmo was at the right place at the right time, so he cashes in. DeGrom wanted to leave, obviously. No way JDG wants to stay and there wasn’t any room at the inn for him. Have to believe three years ago Realmuto would have been a Met.

    Anyways, now they need to sort through the pieces. Is McNeil in LF and Escobar at 2B the better lineup? Is Vogey better than Escobar? Is Marte still the better option at #2, and can we finally move Alonso to #5?

    • ChrisF

      Enjoyed the read Rob.

      Good stuff Gus. One thin about the constant desire to move McNeil off 2B. That is his position. He defends it well, he hits well playing 2B. It is his position. I would never move him off and put him at a much lesser position for him. I think you can make Escobar and Baty (who should see many many more ABs in Syracuse before he’s a legit big leaguer) super U guys. I’d give Escobar an OF mitt before sending McNeil to LF.

      No doubt about Cohen moving from nice pieces to elite pieces. That’s what winners do.

      • TexasGusCC

        Merry Christmas Chris! Hope you’re feeling better. I can follow your logic and keep the squirrel next to the raccoon, if that is how McNeil feels.

        I cannot believe DeGrom wanted out. How disappointing. How selfish.

  • NYM6986

    Correa is the big bat we needed at the trade deadline that we did not get. I think we all looked back and we’re glad that we did not deplete our top prospects for some late season rentals as we obviously still lacked what he took to dominate the competition and do what the Astros could do. The off season moves have been amazing and our new designation as the Evil Empire is great but we are not alone given the 10-12 year contracts given out by a number of teams. If our “kids” can be patient, there will be plenty of money coming off the books in 2-3 years and a chance to replace those aging stars. So developing the farm system is still key as the pitching needs to fill out with prospects that can jump into the lineup when needed. That is the sign of a championship club when you can pluck someone off the AAA roster and they can hit the ground running. The Braves did it twice off the AA roster last season.
    Kudos to Eppler for finding the pieces and for Cohen to say here’s my check book – have fun. For players like 33 year old Escobar you would think getting a WS ring would compensate for playing every day and over a long season he will get his ABs. A better 4th outfielder would be key given Marte’s historical downtime and also the need to rest players over a long season. It’s not Ruff.
    Great being part of this site. LGM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here