No Bauer or Springer? How the Mets addressed their biggest roster need without a free-agent splash
MLB 

  • Covers MLB for ESPN.com
  • Former deputy editor of Page 2
  • Been with ESPN.com since 1995

New York Mets fans, riding the wave of new owner Steve Cohen’s money and enthusiasm, began the offseason hoping to end up with at least two players — and dreaming on three — from the group of Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer and DJ LeMahieu. The Mets landed only Lindor, via a blockbuster trade with Cleveland, while the four free agents signed elsewhere, leaving some Mets fans disappointed that the winter overhaul wasn’t a little more dramatic.

Still, the Mets acquired one of the best all-around players in the game in Lindor and a very good starting pitcher in Carlos Carrasco, and thanks to the signings of 10 major league free agents, they enter the 2021 season with a much better, deeper roster than they’ve had in recent years. At the outset of the offseason, new team president Sandy Alderson said a key goal was to improve the team’s depth — not just the major league roster but Triple-A as well.

That’s what the Mets have accomplished. After they finished under .500 and missed the expanded playoffs in 2020, my colleague Bradford Doolittle sees them as a 90-win team in his projection system. FanGraphs predicts a 93-69 record — fourth best in the majors behind the Dodgers, Padres and Yankees. The PECOTA system at Baseball Prospectus also forecasts 93 wins. On paper, the Mets look vastly improved.

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