Opening Day is this Thursday, so I have asked Mel and Ed to share their thoughts on the upcoming season. In case you’ve forgotten or you’re unfamiliar with them, these two Mets fans can best be summarized as the consistently cynical, “sky is always falling” fan (Mel) and the always optimistic, “they’re just one good player away” fan (Ed). Here’s what they had to say…
Ed: Steve Cohen.
Mel: No Ed, it’s me, Mel. I realize we haven’t seen each other in a year, but how could you have forgotten me already?
Ed: I’m talking about the new Mets owner, Steve Cohen.
Mel: A new owner? What was wrong with the last guy?
Ed: Are you kidding?
Mel: Of course I am. Yes, yes, I am very excited about this new dawn for the Mets.
Ed: You are? But that’s so not like you.
Mel: What’s not to be excited about? The guy takes over, brings back a GM who helped us lose a World Series, and then signs some good but not top shelf players to fix this team. How great is that?
Ed: You know they also pulled off a brilliant trade to get Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, right?
Mel: I know, I know. Lindor is quite a talent, and Carrasco, what do they call him?
Mel: Right, well I can’t wait to see Cookie pitch.
Ed: He’s out for the first couple months.
Mel: I just tossed my cookies.
Ed: But think about it, they’ll get him back around the same time that Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo return. It’s like they’ll acquire three huge helps all at the same time.
Mel: So, new owner, same Mets. Got it.
Ed: That’s not true, Mel. This is the best Mets lineup I’ve seen in years. Alonso, McNeil, Conforto, Lindor, Dom Smith, Davis, McCann, Nimmo? That’s solid, top to bottom.
Mel: And it’s those same guys playing in the field?
Ed: Of course it is, what do you mean?
Mel: I know last year everyone had the designated hitter, I thought maybe this year they’d allow designated fielders.
Ed: No Mel, there are no designated fielders.
Mel: I’m gonna need a designated driver. You just named me two first basemen, two left fielders, a couple middle infielders, a catcher, and a J.D. Davis. I hope our pitchers can strike guys out, before they get hurt of course.
Ed: Don’t you think you’re overdoing it? Sure, some of those guys might be playing out of position a little, and some other guys might just be adequate at their position, but I think they’re better than people realize. Not to mention that Lindor is a two-time Gold Glove award winner.
Mel: That’s true. I really am excited to have him on the Mets. He’ll be a sight to see in the blue and orange for…how long is his contract?
Ed: Just through this season.
Mel: You sure there’s a new owner?
Ed: Really, he’s great. He jokes around with people on Twitter.
Mel: So does my niece. I wouldn’t let her run the Mets.
Ed: Hold on here, Mel. Steve Cohen has been rooting for the Mets since he was a little kid. He is really open about having the fans involved, has already done some things within the organization to improve the vibe, and he happens to be the wealthiest owner in baseball.
Mel: So naturally they have the highest payroll this year, right?
Ed: Well, third highest payroll.
Ed: But Uncle Steve said he was going to do this right and build the team for sustainability instead of spending like a drunken sailor.
Mel: I had an Uncle Steve.
Ed: Let me guess, he was a drunken sailor.
Mel: He wasn’t a sailor.
Ed: It’s not just the lineup, you know. The Mets improved their rotation by trading for Joey Lucchesi and signing Taijuan Walker. They also really improved their bullpen with a few moves, including picking up Trevor May.
Mel: Wait, they got that Cy Young Award winner named Trevor? Why didn’t you start with that?
Ed: No, that’s Trevor Bauer, they almost signed him, maybe. He ended up with the Dodgers. I’m talking about a really talented relief pitcher named Trevor May.
Mel: So let me get this straight…Uncle Moneybags buys the team, doesn’t sign any of the top free agents – no Trevor Bauer, no George Springer, no J.T. Realmuto, and no D.J. LeMahieu, but he does improve the bullpen, get a couple pitchers I don’t remember hearing about, a hurt pitcher, and a star player who will leave this mediocrity in a few months, and you want me to be excited?
Ed: The Mets got a new owner who has injected this team and their fans with optimism, present company excluded. He then went out and put together a roster that addresses most of the issues they’ve had in the past. They went after Springer and decided that it didn’t make sense to overpay for him. They went after Bauer, but he went to the west coast which was basically what everyone was expecting him to do anyway. They chose McCann because they were able to sign him sooner and figure out their next steps instead of chasing Realmuto all winter and having that dictate their actions, and everyone knew that LeMahieu was going to go back to the Yankees so that was never a real option. Instead, the Mets made a smart trade to get Lindor and Carrasco, and a bunch of other moves that make this the strongest Mets team out of the gate in a few years. Carrasco’s injury is a tough blow, and it’s also not devastating. He’s going to miss a few weeks and then he’ll be back, and so will two other really good pitchers in Syndergaard and Lugo. Besides there seems to be an expectation that many pitchers are going to get hurt because they didn’t pitch enough innings in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. And lastly, there’s still a real chance the Mets sign Lindor to an extension, possibly even this week. So yeah, I think there’s a lot to be excited about this year and I can’t wait for this season to get going.
Mel: Wait, we didn’t get Springer either?!? I’m going to bed. Wake me up in June.
Ed: See you then, Mel.