Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Mets News

5 key questions for Mets this offseason

@AnthonyDiComo
October 2, 2020

NEW YORK -- There haven’t been many quiet offseasons for the Mets lately, and this one promises to be no different. Coming off a disappointing 60-game season in which they expected to contend but fell short, the team is about to experience its most significant set of changes in years.

NEW YORK -- There haven’t been many quiet offseasons for the Mets lately, and this one promises to be no different. Coming off a disappointing 60-game season in which they expected to contend but fell short, the team is about to experience its most significant set of changes in years.

With that comes uncertainty. Here are five questions the Mets must answer as they dive into the offseason:

1. How quickly will Steve Cohen take control?
The working assumption around Flushing is that Cohen won’t have an issue garnering the 23 votes he needs from Major League Baseball owners to finalize his purchase of the Mets. Of perhaps greater concern is the timeline. When Cohen signed an agreement to buy the team last month, sources said a formal vote might have to wait until the Owners Meetings in November.

It now appears that the sale could happen sooner.

“We’re going to try to process this as quickly as possible,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said this week on the Big Time Baseball podcast with Jon Heyman and Tony Gwynn Jr. “It’s up to the owners, ultimately, as to whether Mr. Cohen will be approved. But I think, given the time of year, we would like to move this along as quickly as possible so that the Mets have certainty as they go into the offseason, and it’s absolutely clear who’s making the decisions about how the roster is going to be put together, what the budget is, and what the 2021 version of what the New York Mets is going to look like.”

Those last points are critical. If Cohen is going to own the team eventually, it would help everyone involved for him to take control sooner rather than later to avoid compressing baseball operations work into a shorter offseason period. Ideally, that would mean finishing the sale process before the end of the World Series, so that the Mets are on equal footing with every other club.

Mets face crucial, change-filled offseason

2. What will the baseball operations leadership structure look like?
Cohen has already said that he intends to hire Sandy Alderson as his team president, effectively moving him into the role that chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon currently occupies. The Mets’ general manager will likely report directly to Alderson, though who that will be remains unclear.

For now, Brodie Van Wagenen remains the GM, but he was handpicked by Wilpon, is representative of the old ownership group and hasn’t overseen much on-field success since taking over two years ago. If the Mets decide to go in a different direction, any number of candidates could emerge to become the team’s third GM in four seasons. It’s another process the Mets would prefer to complete quickly, given how much of an impact it will have on everything else they do this winter.

3. Will Luis Rojas stay as manager?
It’s difficult to blame anything that went wrong this season on Rojas -- a rookie manager thrust into the job mere weeks before the start of Spring Training, then asked to guide the team through the uncertainties of a pandemic. That the Mets missed the playoffs was hardly an indictment of Rojas, who remains popular in the clubhouse, and whose in-game decisions generally were sound. Keeping Rojas would also give the Mets continuity within the clubhouse at a time when the ownership and front-office groups are experiencing significant change.

Still, any time change is afoot, jobs are not secure. If the Mets identify a GM candidate who wants to bring in his own manager, Rojas could be at risk.

Rojas 'confident' in return

4. How aggressively will the Mets spend, and on what?
If he is approved, Cohen will become the richest owner in Major League Baseball. Ergo, Cohen will spend extravagantly on free agents.

… Maybe. That’s how many folks feel about Cohen’s prospective stewardship, but until he actually takes control, discusses his intentions publicly, or begins making moves, it will be impossible to tell.

Certainly, the Mets could stand to spend a few bucks. They are without a starting catcher, as both Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos can become free agents. J.T. Realmuto is the top backstop available on the market, but he will come at a high price and amidst much competition for his services. The Mets also realistically need multiple starting pitchers, with Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Marcus Stroman and others headlining that class.

5. Might the Mets consider trades as well?
Always, though they’ve dealt so much from their farm system under Van Wagenen that trading away more would leave them thin. If the Mets do swing a trade, they would probably look to do so from their surplus depth at the big league level. For example, the team could deal away J.D. Davis, a talented offensive player who lacks an obvious long-term defensive home, or Brandon Nimmo, another excellent hitter who has been inconsistent in center field. The Mets also have a pair of starting shortstops in Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez and only enough room to play one of them. If an opportunity arises to acquire a starting pitcher or catcher for any of those players, the Mets would have to explore it.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.