Marte Should Help the Mets Dethrone the Braves
While most everybody was filling up on turkey and pumpkin pie, a team in the Big Apple was filling up on talent. The New York Mets over the extended holiday weekend added four veteran players to its roster, positioning themselves to perhaps be the favorite to win the National League Eastern division in 2022.
The flurry of transactions are eerily similar to the ones made at the trade deadline a few months ago, which led to an eventual World Series Championship. Ironically, the team acquiring three star players within a day or so was the Atlanta Braves, the defending champs who will be the main contenders of the Mets.
In the last weekend of July, Atlanta traded for three veteran outfielders, who all proved essential during the Braves quest for the title. Jac Pederson came over from the Red Sox while Eddie Rosario arrived from the Cleveland Indians, and World Series Most Valuable Player Jorge Soler was sent from the Kansas City Royals.
Now, in a span of just twelve hours, new general manager Billy Eppler signed three All-Stars to free agent contracts. The next day, he would make an even bigger deal, resulting in the acquisition of a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
First came Starling Marte, who has been one of the best all around outfielders in the past decade. The long-time Pirate with Oakland last year hit .310 with twelve home runs and 55 runs batted in, while leading the major leagues with 47 stolen bases.
There is little doubt that Marte will pay immediate dividends for a Mets club starved for offense, even after awarding a record contract to slugging shortstop Francisco Lindor last winter. Owner Steve Cohen is certainly hoping that the addition of Marte will bolster Lindor's output, since the latter suffered one of his worst seasons in 2021.
Next on that same day came the signing of another outfielder, an unknown but nearly as productive player who was a teammate of Marte in Oakland. Mark Canha had been in Oakland all seven years of his career, where his impressive numbers (17 home runs, 61 RBI,12 SBs in 2021) have gone virtually overlooked.
Then the New York front office addressed the infield, signing third baseman Eduardo Escobar. The switch hitter was an All-Star for the first time last year, thanks to thirty two home runs, ninety RBI, and a .786 On Base Plus Slugging Percentage.
What might even be better for the Mets is the infielder whom they did not sign, Javier Baez. Many baseball experts figured Baez would be returning to the Mets, even after his poor treatment of the fans at CitiField Park.
They picked up Baez from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline, when New York was in first place with 56-46 record. After acquiring the troublesome infielder, the Mets went 21-37 and finished one spot from the cellar of the National League East. Obviously, Baez had not brought a winning culture to the Big Apple.
As if adding three All-Star position players were not enough, the Mets a few days later greatly bolstered the pitching rotation. Perennial Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who helped the Dodgers reach the N. L. Championship series just a year after leading the Washington Nationals to the World Series title, signed a multiyear free agent contract with the Mets.
New York may have been losing, but obviously they were looking, as the Braves exceeded in the pennant race and through the World Series. The Mets saw the tremendous payoff from the three-deal-a-day Atlanta transacted in July, so they decided to take a similar route during the off-season in hopes of the same result.