The Mets finished in a second-place tie last season in the NL East 17 games behind the pennant winning Washington Nationals.
The two current storylines of these teams suggest a wider gap – much wider.
The Nationals, who won 96 games last season with the NL’s deepest rotation, will add free-agent prize Max Scherzer. Meanwhile, the Mets are taking flak for charging their players to participate in an off-season conditioning program. The Mets are also still attempting to trade Dillon Gee, and word is they don’t have to get a major leaguer in return. Shows what they think of their most reliable starter the past few seasons.
The Nationals are trying to sell the prospect of the World Series to their fan base. The Mets are still trying to sell a .500 season.
To make room for Scherzer’s contract, the Nationals are willing to trade shortstop Ian Desmond, who will become a free-agent after this year. Yes, the Mets could use Desmond to address their shortstop question, but the Nationals’ asking price would be exorbitant for a one-year rental.
Trading for Desmond could be a giant step back if he leaves, and put on the financial shackles if they signed him to an extension.
While adding Scherzer doesn’t guarantee anything, it definitely puts them in good position to be thinking deep into October.
Reportedly, San Francisco, San Diego and Colorado are interested in Gee.
The Mets would like to unload Gee before spring training, but I believe they would get a greater return if they waited until the trade deadline.