“I talked to Billy (Eppler),” Scherzer told The Athletic. “I was like, ‘OK, are we reloading for 2024?’ He goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically our vision now is for 2025-2026, ‘25 at the earliest, more like ‘26. We’re going to be making trades around that.’
“I was like, ‘So the team is not going to be pursuing free agents this offseason or assemble a team that can compete for a World Series next year?’ He said, ‘No, we’re not going to be signing the upper-echelon guys. We’re going to be on the smaller deals within free agency. ‘24 is now looking to be more of a kind of transitory year.
Many people took this comment with a giant boulder of salt, as if Scherzer was making the front office and ownership to be the bad guys. But here we are, more than halfway thru the offseason prior to the 2024 campaign, and few can doubt the validity of what Scherzer said. The Mets are not reloading for 2024.
Now that most fans have accepted that 2024 is a “transitory year,” perhaps it’s time to work on the other end of the statement. By what Eppler told Scherzer, combined with the type of deals the current front office has signed for 2024, it’s looking more and more like 2025 is going to be a “transitory year,” too.
Every move made by David Stearns, has been a one-year contract, except for Sean Manaea, who has a player option for a second season. If you were running the Mets and your goal was to compete in 2026, how would you approach this offseason? You’d likely keep open spots for young guys from the farm system while not adding significantly to payroll in 2025. And that’s what Stearns has done.
If 2023 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is written in permanent ink. Maybe the reclamation projects signed this offseason all work out, while some depth relievers come thru to give the team a respectable bullpen. And the 2024 team exceeds expectations and is set up well for 2025. If that turns out to be the case, the Mets pivot to ’25 being a “playoff season,” and the Mets become active.
But if things don’t work out so great in ’24, the Mets are in a position not to spend a lot in the offseason before 2025, with the aim of resetting their luxury tax penalties by getting under $241 million. Then, with the farm system products likely matriculating to the majors in the 2024-25 seasons, the Mets are positioned to target whatever they need in the offseason before 2026 and not having to pay a 110% tax to do so.
None of us have any idea how the 2024 season is going to work out for the Mets. But start getting used to the idea that a non-playoff year in 2024 likely means a similar offseason before 2025 to what we’re experiencing now. Regardless of the owner’s net worth.