New York Mets 2023 Season Preview
The New York Mets head into the 2023 season with massive expectations. Although several notable players from last year’s squad will be playing elsewhere this season, the Mets added some real difference-makers in free agency. The club also re-signed several key contributors who were free agents this offseason, including Edwin Díaz and Brandon Nimmo.
However, less than a week ago, Díaz suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury while celebrating his team’s win during the World Baseball Classic. Losing Díaz is a huge blow for the Mets, as he is simply irreplaceable as the best closer in baseball. José Quintana, whom the Mets acquired in free agency, is also expected to miss several months due to injury. Despite these injuries, this team still has the potential to make a deep playoff run given the talent on the roster. Let’s take a look at the New York Mets’ outlook for 2023.
Revamped pitching staff
Only two of the Mets’ top five starting pitchers from last season will be returning this year. Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt all signed with new clubs in free agency. deGrom, the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy, is now a Texas Ranger. Walker will suit up for the Philadelphia Phillies this season, while Bassitt signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Fortunately, the front office did an excellent job replacing the departing trio with Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, and José Quintana. Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, is a nine-time All-Star and one of the most accomplished pitchers of his generation. Senga will make his MLB debut with the Mets after dominating in Japan. Although he is unproven at the MLB level, the flame-throwing righty has immense potential.
The former All-Star Quintana had an excellent season in 2022 but he will not see the field until at least July due to a rib injury. David Peterson will likely replace Quintana as the squad’s fifth starter, and Tylor Megill is another potential replacement. Returning from last year’s rotation are veterans Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco. Scherzer has three Cy Young awards to his name and pitched to a sterling 2.29 ERA last year. Carrasco had a nice bounce-back season in 2022 and has a 3.87 ERA for his career.
In addition to sporting a great starting rotation, the Mets also bolstered their bullpen, which is now even more important in hindsight given the injury to Díaz. Adam Ottavino, the team’s most reliable setup man from 2022, is back with the club this year. Veteran David Robertson, who was excellent last season, signed with the Mets as well. Brooks Raley was also acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. The southpaw gives the squad a dependable lefty reliever, which they sorely lacked in 2022. Robertson will likely occupy the closing role to begin the season, but Ottavino and Raley may also factor into the mix at some point.
Nimmo, Vogelbach re-signed
Brandon Nimmo was another key free agent who the club locked up to an extension this offseason. The on-base machine is back in the Big Apple for 2023 and beyond, as he signed an eight-year, $162 million contract with the Mets. The 2011 first-round pick is one of the best center-fielders in baseball, and he was outstanding for the club in 2022. While Nimmo recently injured his knee and ankle, the hope is that he is ready for opening day.
Daniel Vogelbach is also back with the Amazins after posting an outstanding .393 on-base percentage after being traded to the Mets last July. Outfielder Tommy Pham signed with the Mets as well and will serve as an important depth piece. To replace James McCann, the club signed Omar Narváez, who was an All-Star in 2021. Until top prospect Francisco Alvarez eventually becomes the starter, Narváez should split time with Tomás Nido at the catcher position. Aside from Pham and Narváez, neither of whom will likely play every day, the Mets’ lineup will look very similar to last season. Slugger Pete Alonso, hitting machine Jeff McNeil and star shortstop Francisco Lindor will all be back this year. 2022 All-Star Starling Marte, left fielder Mark Cahha, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar will return as well.
This lineup has a great shot at forming one of the league’s best offenses again, but one thing the team certainly could use is more power hitting outside of Pete Alonso. A full year of designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach should help that cause. Francisco Alvarez will also make an instant impact in the power department if he indeed makes his way onto the big-league roster. Keep an eye out for Brett Baty, the Mets’ #2 prospect, who may challenge Escobar for the starting third-baseman job at some point this year.
The 2022 New York Mets had the look of a championship contender for all of last season before their early playoff exit. This year, the Amazins shouldn’t have a problem replicating that success. Yes, losing Díaz stings, but the Mets are still an extremely well-rounded ball club. With an excellent rotation, talented bullpen, and balanced lineup, this team has no glaring weaknesses. Injuries are undoubtedly a major concern, especially considering the advanced age of pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. However, the Mets have a great shot at winning their first World Series in over 35 years, especially if Díaz returns sometime in the playoffs.