A lot of digital ink has been dedicated to assessing the expected performance of the 2024 Mets, and the general consensus is unsurprisingly to anticipate a middling season with perhaps a sniff at a Wild Card spot. That doesn’t sound very exciting, of course, but as Mets fans we’re used to hanging our hat on the old “there’s always next year” adage. Even so, that doesn’t mean it can’t be an enjoyable season of baseball if it’s underpinned by a set of realistic expectations and a team that’s easy to root for and watch.

What makes a team easy to root for and watch (besides lots of winning, obviously)? That’s likely a mostly subjective set of criteria, but I’d argue a team that plays consistently hard with sound fundamentals that doesn’t continuously look lost on the diamond is a good start. A team that doesn’t embarrass itself on a daily basis would be nice. Beyond that, watching a team with a clear game plan that prioritizes maximizing their strengths while doing it’s best to minimize exposure of its weaknesses can make for great baseball games even if the end result isn’t a notch in the win column.

We often hear about a team’s “identity,” particularly when the team is performing well or there’s a good storyline attached to some aspect of their season as it unfolds. This can be a simple summary descriptor of expectations versus reality, like the “underdog” status the Mets are used to operating as or the “underachievers” tag they were rightfully saddled with last season. It can also be tied to a certain aspect of the team’s playing style or the result of said playing style. For instance, the 2015 Royals (trigger alert) earned their “clutch” identity by seemingly coming through when it mattered most.

We can argue about the merits of what clutch means, if it’s actually a thing, and if those Royals teams were simply their era’s Cinderella story where everything broke right. But that’s beside the point. They were clutch until they weren’t, but under the hood of that “clutch” moniker was a team that was built to maximize contact and defense, with a monster bullpen sprinkled on top, and that formula met headfirst with the randomness of professional sports to produce an unlikely champion.

So what will the identity be of the 2024 Mets as Spring Training kicks off? Has David Stearns approached the offseason and roster construction with more consideration than simply leveraging potentially undervalued assets with short-term exposure? You’d have to know where the team was last year to gauge any kind of purposeful shaping, and the 2023 team was nothing if consistent in how middle-of-the-pack and/or mediocre they performed. Some very high-level and general stats to paint a broad picture for you are below.


  • BB – 8.7% (17th)
  • K% – 22% (20th)
  • OBP – .316 (20th)
  • SLG – .407 (18th)
  • GB/FB – 1.09 (23th)
  • Stolen Bases – 118 (14th)


  • K/9 – 8.88 (15th)
  • B/9 – 3.78 (26th)
  • GB% – 42% (17th)
  • FB% – 38.2% (11th)
  • HR/9 – 1.21 (15th)

The story is the same for the defense, though these metrics are harder to gauge in a one-year sample.

We could dive a little deeper, sure, but these broad numbers tell us a couple of things. The 2023 team was mostly middling across the board. We knew this because their record reflected that, so this isn’t surprising. What it also reveals, however, is that the team that was constructed didn’t really seem to excel in any given area. How can you shape your gameplan to maximize strengths if you don’t have any?

To be fair, these are team stats that don’t necessarily reflect every individual player on the roster. Pete Alonso was a top twenty player in SLG. Jeff McNeil refused to strike out. Francisco Lindor was top ten in bags swiped. These are wildly different skill sets, though, and you have to wonder if there was consideration for surrounding these cornerstone players with teammates that compliment their strengths or if the top concern was the most potential bang for the buck.

We can’t ignore the obvious “just add the best players and win” argument, though I’m not sure how often we can watch the teams that add the shiniest free agents continue to fall short before we acknowledge a need for a little more care in overall roster construction.

What do you think? Does this 2024 Mets team have the potential to have an identity beyond “it’s not a rebuild it’s retooling?” What do you envision this team’s strengths to be considering both the returning and newly-added players?

11 comments on “Do the 2024 Mets have an identity?

  • TexasGusCC

    2024 identity: Grinders

    Move base runners along; bring in the runner from third with less than two outs; catch the ball and throw it correctly; don’t get thrown out on the bases as the first out of an inning; hit behind runners…. There is only one guy looking for his stats, the rest are in a position to sacrifice for the greater good. Let’s see it!

    • ChrisF

      I’d be thrilled if the identity turns out to be “fundies”

  • John Fox

    I think the bullpen could be a team strength with Edwin Diaz returning and with the hope that a lot of the David Stearns-signed relievers will make impact.

  • NYM6986

    Agree with Gus on more small ball from this team. They need to steal more (that means you Nimmo) and Marte back in will be a huge help in that area. It is still sound fundamental baseball that works while you wait for the long ball. Where the Mets placed in all those categories is unacceptable. They need much less strikeouts and putting more balls in play can move runners over or score runs by making an out. As far as an identity, if our fingers crossed starting rotation falls apart, it will be Lost in Queens.

  • Metsense

    Their strength is their up the middle defense and their outfield but I wouldn’t called it an Identity. What are they emphasizing in the minors? What is the “Met Way”? After three years of Cohen’s ownership they still haven’t developing an identity. Switching managers and GMs didn’t help the matter (even if it was justified and proper.) Maybe Stearns will right this ship.

  • Brian Joura

    My opinion is that an identity for a baseball team isn’t nearly as important as it is for teams in the other major sports. The Chiefs won this year because they rarely made mistakes on offense. The Celtics are winning this year because they have 5 starters who can score from all over the floor while also being good defensive players. What’s the identity of the World Series winning Rangers? Hey, maybe they have one. It’s just I couldn’t tell you what it was.

    The 2022 Mets had an identity. They put pressure on other teams by scoring first, while also countering other teams scoring by putting runs on the board in their next chance at bat. But that wasn’t something we could have identified in Spring Training that year. And it didn’t follow up in the 2023 season, either.

    I’m less concerned with a lack of identity than I am with the overall quality of players they imported to support the existing core.

  • Edwin e Pena

    Big Met fan always with big optimism at this time of year. However, this year I am simply deflated. Stearns has come in here with his ‘oh so smart’ way of doing things and it has blown my mind. Dumpster diving for bullpen and starters, no improvement to the offense, not even a bonafide DH did he get. I get trying to let the ‘baby Mets’ play, but wouldn’t a creative management means find a way to sprinkle them in while still competing ? Why do the Braves, Dodgers and Rays always find a way to do just that ?
    Mets, nope .

    • Metstabolism

      Because the Braves, Dodgers, and Rays have legitimately productive farm systems. The Mets do not. That is the reason for the litany of short-term contracts this off season: to get back under the CBT next year so we stop getting draft pick and International free agent pool money penalties that prevent us from building the farm.

      • Metsense

        In 2025 the Mets will be under Luxury Tax Threshold by $85m. One or two oppopportunistic muti-year contracts could have made the team more competitive this year and also in future years. These kind of contracts would not exceed the luxury tax threshold and impact the draft penalties. Stearns didn’t want to do that. I don’t agree with him.

        • Brian Joura

          According to Cot’s the Mets’ CBT payroll for 2025 is at $155.1 million and the first tax threshold will be at $241 million. But that’s a little deceptive, as there are only 7 players included in that $155.1 million. Also, it doesn’t include the potential money if Verlander pitches 140 innings and his contract vests. If memory serves, that was $17 million.

          If Verlander’s option triggers – looks like he’ll be pitching in the majors before the end of April – and they sign Alonso for an AAV of $25 million, then essentially half of that $85 million is gone. Which leaves roughly $45 million for 18 spots. And, sure, a lot of those will be filled with low-dollar players, especially if the youngsters come thru this year in both the majors and minors. But there will be at least 3 SP – 4 if Manaea declines his option – to add, which would likely use up the rest of the available dollars.

          My opinion is that the target for 2025 should be to be under the draft pick penalty threshold and to get under all luxury tax thresholds in 2026.

          Of course, if Verlander’s option doesn’t trigger and Alonso walks, things are a lot different…

          • Metsense

            According to Spotrac.com the $17.5m is included with the $155.5m allocated payroll. I manually added up the salaries and Verlander and it was $161m at that site. ????. Go figure. LOL

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