Mets Franchise Timeline: 2010s
Heading into the 2010 season believing their hitting would be stellar and their pitching might be suspect, the Mets, for a time, defied all expectations. Thanks to a tremendous start to the season from Mike Pelfrey, a strong rookie campaign from Jon Niese and some surprising contributions from R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi, the Mets stayed in contention throughout the first half of the year on the strength of their pitching -- and despite some consistently inadequate hitting. Other than David Wright, who bounced back to his career offensive norms, Angel Pagan, and rookies Ike Davis and Josh Thole, the Mets could not muster any sort of sustained offense throughout the season. Compounding their issues was the absence of Carlos Beltran, who missed the first half of the season recovering from knee surgery and contributed little after he returned. In late July, the Mets suffered through a 2-9 West Coast trip and never came close to recovering, rapidly tumbling from playoff contention to fourth place in the division. Season-ending injuries to Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez did not help things, nor did a chronic oblique problem for shortstop Jose Reyes. The bubble burst. And the Mets finished the season where most expected them to, in fourth. They simply took a circuitous route to get there.
Another surprising first half melted into another disappointment in 2011 for the Mets, who remained in contention into July. But another spate of serious injuries -- this time to David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy -- undermined the Mets, as did the midseason trades of Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Not helping matters was the fact that Johan Santana's rehab from left shoulder surgery took months longer than originally anticipated, knocking out the Mets' best pitcher for the entirety of the season. Without Santana, the Mets spent most of the early summer holding things together with Scotch tape, a consistent starting rotation and ample heaps of Jose Reyes, who submitted arguably the best individual half-season in franchise history. But Reyes also struggled with injuries down the stretch, despite rebounding to win the batting title with a controversial bunt single on the final day of the season. It was his last act as a Met. Two months later, Reyes signed with the Marlins, further distancing the Mets from their more successful incarnations of the recent past.
Though the Mets slogged through another losing season in 2012, finishing fourth in the NL East for the fourth consecutive year, highlights marked their season. Johan Santana delivered the most memorable of them, firing the first no-hitter in franchise history June 1 against the Cardinals. Though the Mets' season peaked shortly thereafter, when 12 losses in 13 games in mid-July essentially knocked them out of the Wild Card hunt, not everyone struggled. R.A. Dickey slowed his pace only slightly after the All-Star break, becoming the franchise's first 20-game winner since 1990 and the first knuckleball pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award. Rookie Matt Harvey struck out a franchise-record 11 batters in his debut and entrenched himself in the starting rotation down the stretch. And though David Wright's exceptional first half soured a bit after the All-Star break, the Mets rewarded him after the season with a new eight-year, $138-million contract, which should make the third baseman a Met for life.
New York's Trade Deadline acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes changed everything for a club that struggled to hit consistently in the first half of 2015. Cespedes and others led the Mets to a historic second-half resurgence, which David Wright also anchored after missing four months rehabbing a career-threatening spinal stenosis condition. Behind starting pitchers Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets took over first place for good in early August, cruising to their first postseason berth since 2006. They then upended the Dodgers in five games in the National League Division Series, and swept the Cubs in the NL Championship Series to win their first pennant since 2000. The magic carpet ride ended with a five-game World Series loss to the Royals.
Injuries defined the 2016 season for the Mets, who spent significant chunks of the summer without starting pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, as well as position players David Wright, Neil Walker and Lucas Duda. By season's end, the Mets were relying on a patchwork rotation that included two rookies -- Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo -- who performed well enough to lift the Mets into the National League Wild Card game. It marked just the second time in franchise history that the Mets had made the postseason in consecutive years, though they lost ultimately lost to Madison Bumgarner and the Giants at Citi Field.
Among the Mets' regular-season highlights were Noah Syndergaard's breakout year, Yoenis Cespedes' flair for the dramatic after returning to the club on a new contract, and 43-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon's first career home run. All three of those players made the All-Star Game in San Diego alongside manager Terry Collins and his staff, and closer Jeurys Familia.
Once again, injuries defined the Mets, who could not recover from long stretches without Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and others. The Mets lost players early and often, and by midseason were far enough out of contention that they began trading off veteran pieces, dealing Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson for pitching prospects. The moves gave top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith opportunities to debut, but ultimately resulted in a team with World Series aspirations finishing fourth in the NL East -- the Mets' worst position in half a decade.
Shortly thereafter, the Mets engineered a significant personnel shakeup. Manager Terry Collins resigned following the season, accepting an advisor position to stay with the organization. The Mets also parted ways with pitching coach Dan Warthen, who had been in the dugout since 2008, hitting coach Kevin Long and multiple others. They subsequently hired Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as the 21st manager in franchise history, charging him with leading the franchise back to prominence.
Mickey Callaway's managerial debut began auspiciously, as the Mets won 11 of their first 12 games to shoot to the top of the NL East. But that wound up being the high point of their season. As in 2017, injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard undermined the Mets, who were out of postseason contention by midsummer.
Still, 2018 became a memorable season for the Mets for different reasons. The summer's most consistent highlight was Jacob deGrom, who overcame a pedestrian won-lost record to earn the National League Cy Young Award. While David Wright never made it fully back from the back, neck and shoulder injuries that had dogged him for years, he returned to the field as an active player during an emotional final weekend. The Mets also enjoyed the type of success they had long envisioned from their rotation, relying on career-best seasons from deGrom and Zack Wheeler, while a young lineup core of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil thrived in the second half.
After the season, the Mets hired a new general manager, former agent Brodie Van Wagenen, to lead them to what they hoped would be a long run of future contention.
A rocky start to the season led to a coaching shakeup in June for the Mets, who were ready to sell off pieces at the trade deadline before catching fire in late July. Instead, the Mets acquired Marcus Stroman and went on a tear, briefly moving within a half-game of a National League Wild Card spot in mid-August.
Ultimately, the Mets settled back into third place, ending their season in disappointment. But the year was also one of individual achievement for the Mets, who watched Pete Alonso burst onto the scene, hit a franchise-record 53 home runs and win NL Rookie of the Year honors. Jacob deGrom also parlayed a strong September into his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award, and the Mets sent three players -- Alonso, deGrom and Jeff McNeil -- to the All-Star Game. The highlight of those festivities was Alonso's win in the Home Run Derby.
After the season, the Mets moved on from Mickey Callaway, hiring former Mets player Carlos Beltrán to replace him as manager. Beltrán wound up lasting less than three months on the job.
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