Are Mets NY's team to watch this offseason?

November 4th, 2020

If there's one team to watch more than any other in baseball this offseason, it's the Mets.

That's right, the Mets are trying to make themselves the team to watch in New York once again. It has happened before, the two times the Mets won the World Series -- first in 1969, when they were the Miracle Mets, and then in '86, when the Mets of Doc and Darryl and Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter felt like the greatest show on earth.

It hasn’t happened very often, and when it has, it hasn’t lasted very long. The Mets are actually the most recent New York team to reach the World Series with their 2015 appearance. They have been back to the postseason once since, a National League Wild Card Game they lost to Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in '16.

Once the sale of the team from the Wilpon family to Steve Cohen is official, the Mets won't only have a new owner, they'll have an owner who grew up a fan of the team and who says he is “all in.” At a time when the sport was hit so hard financially by the coronavirus pandemic, causing a shortened season and empty stadiums, Steve Cohen was not. He was just waiting to get into the game.

At this time of year -- and at any time of the year -- the Yankees have long been the team to watch. They don’t always make the biggest moves or sign the biggest free agents the way they did last winter with Gerrit Cole, or two years ago when they traded for Giancarlo Stanton, fresh off his NL MVP Award-winning season.

But the Yankees have not won the World Series since 2009. We heard a lot about the Dodgers winning for the first time in 32 years last week. These 11 years that the Yankees have gone without winning it all have felt like 100 to their fans. And now Mets fans look at Cohen and wonder if their team might win their first World Series since 1986 before the Yanks win another one.

“Owning a team is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility,” Cohen said in a statement last Friday afternoon. “I consider it an honor to be the new owner of this iconic franchise.”

Again: It has been that kind of franchise since the team’s inaugural season in 1962. Just not for very long. Mets fans want Cohen and Sandy Alderson -- the Mets' president of baseball operations and the last executive to build a World Series team in Queens, N.Y., who is set to work under Cohen -- to make them an iconic franchise again. They want the Mets, once and for all, to stop being the "Other Team" in the Big Apple, which is what they have been most of the time.

Suddenly Mets fans feel everybody is in play, whether as free agents or by trade. There is a lot of uncertainty about the offseason for many clubs, but not so much with Cohen, who clearly comes in looking to make noise and make changes, on the field and in his front office. He has already reached out to Mets fans on Twitter about changing everything at Citi Field.

There is one shared idea among fans for making their Mets experience better: They win. Cohen spends money, gets better baseball players and the Mets win. Maybe the Mets can get free-agent outfielder George Springer. Maybe they can get J.T. Realmuto or Trevor Bauer. Or they can trade for Francisco Lindor or Nolan Arenado. Maybe Cohen’s Mets can even make a huge splash by signing free agent DJ LeMahieu, who just won a batting title with the Yankees.

It was the Mets of the middle 1980s who reminded everybody that Mets fans were still out there, waiting for a team to care about again, and so were old NL fans. Trust me: They’re still out there, just waiting for a reason to come back.

There hasn’t been this kind of excitement with Mets fans in years, maybe since they were trying to get out of Citi Field with a win to force a Game 6 in the 2015 World Series. The Yankees aren’t going anywhere. They’re still the big dogs in the big city.

But here was just one response to Cohen on Twitter:

Sometimes you don’t have to wait until Spring Training for hope to spring eternal in baseball. Just ask @MetsAdam. His team gets a makeover now. And he and all Mets fans feel as if they’re getting a do-over.