The Mets are going to win 100 or more games in 2023 unless age suddenly catches up with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, but that was always the risk with or without a new $300 million third baseman.
In that sense Carlos Correa’s decision to pass on a reduced contract and sign with the Minnesota Twins is far from devastating news in Queens.
However, winning 100 games isn’t the goal for these Mets. They’ve reached a level now where their season will be judged by what they do in October, somewhat like the Yankees.
And that, in my view, was the significance of adding Correa. He is a proven clutch hitter in the postseason, with 18 home runs in 79 games, and that loomed large considering the Mets failed to hit when it counted most last October.
That doesn’t mean Buck Showalter’s team can’t win a championship next season. After all, the Philadelphia Phillies’ run to the World Series was a reminder that the MLB postseason is all about getting hot at the right time, especially with the bats.
They have plenty of candidates, but without Correa it does feel as if the Mets are a bat short compared to the Phillies and the Atlanta Braves, certainly in the power department anyway.
Maybe Francisco Alvarez changes that equation if his home-run hitting prowess translates to the big leagues as a rookie. Certainly Brett Baty has the chance to be an impact bat with significant pop as well.
For the moment I think that’s where the hope lies, big picture-wise for 2023. Give the kids a chance to prove what they can do but be ready, unlike last year, to go all-in at the trade deadline, even if it means giving up top prospects, for a difference-making hitter.
Who knows, maybe that guy is Shohei Ohtani. He’s almost certainly going to be on the market if the Los Angeles Angels again prove to be a non-contender, and if so the farm system should be in better shape for the Mets to put together a package of prospects than it was last summer.
Even if Ohtani isn’t available for trade he’s almost certainly headed for free agency next fall, and though owner Steve Cohen has made it clear he’s willing to spend whatever it takes, the money saved on Correa likely…