At 70-69 and four games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets are very much alive and in contention for the National League East crown.
To think they held the first spot for several months, and only recently surrendered it, is a little discouraging.
But their current reality is that of a team out of a playoff position, but with enough time to make a late push.
They will likely have to make it without their best pitcher, Jacob deGrom, currently rehabbing from a partially torn UCL in his right elbow.
Sandy Alderson said Jacob deGrom’s elbow injury was a sprain/partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow.
But, Alderson emphasized, deGrom is fine now.
“The ligament is perfectly intact at this point,” he said. “Whatever condition existed before, it’s resolved itself.”
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 7, 2021
He has a chance to return, but it’s slim, and it would be a better idea to just shut him down.
The Mets Will Have A Foundation In 2022, But Need To Re-Sign Key Players
The Mets may still make it into October anyway, but it appears their chances to make it far into that month are not particularly good, with the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants potentially lurking in the Division or Championship Series.
Right now, it’s looking like 2022 may actually be the Mets’ year, not 2021.
Again, they might advance to the playoffs this season, but their outlook for the future, most notably 2022, is considerably better.
Consider the fact deGrom (1.08 ERA and 0.55 WHIP in 92 innings this season) will potentially be fully healthy, headlining a rotation consisting of Taijuan Walker (4.15 ERA in 138.1 frames), Carlos Carrasco with a normal spring training, young righty Tylor Megill, and the currently injured David Peterson.
The Mets will also presumably make their best effort to re-sign Marcus Stroman, and they should.
Morton getting $20M for 2022 bodes well for Marcus Stroman’s new deal
Mets really have to make a strong push to keep Stro (2.93 ERA) in the mix. like, do it tm
not even concerned about him declining with age. he’s been a smart, vet-style pitcher the whole time. no-brainer imo https://t.co/HDaSYpTkdE
— Tim Ryder (@TimothyRRyder) September 6, 2021
Stroman is one of the best on-the-mound athletes in MLB, and has a 2.93 ERA in 156.2 frames this season, one of the finest of his career.
He makes sense for the Mets, and New York seems to be his place in the world, so a reunion is likely to happen.
Re-signing Noah Syndergaard is also a possibility, but he could potentially ask for several more years that the Mets could be willing to give him.
In any case, extending his stay in Queens remains a possibility.
Areas To Improve
Additionally, the Mets will have ample time, an entire offseason, to improve the third base situation and relief corps.
Jonathan Villar has done a fantastic job as a stopgap infielder (.263/.339/.460, 18 homers, 11 stolen bases), and he could return for 2022 to play third, unless the Mets go big and give Kris Bryant a huge contract.
The offense as a whole has been very disappointing this year, but in 2022, Lindor will already have a whole year of experience in New York and should be better.
Pete Alonso, who has hit 32 homers in 2021, will be back to keep terrorizing pitchers.
As far as relievers go, Aaron Loup’s contract is up, but one has to think the Mets will want to retain his services after he has posted a 1.11 ERA in 48.2 frames.
A healthy Seth Lugo also helps, but the relief corps need to be addressed for the Mets to have a true chance next year.
The Mets have some building blocks, time to plan, and resources to pounce this offseason.
If you really think about it, 2022 may be their year after all.