I will do my best to be optimistic here. The Yankees and Mets are in good hands with Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson. Their front office missions are almost complete, as the 2021 MLB season commenced at their respective spring training facilities in Tampa and Port St. Lucie.
The optimism for baseball in this town is good for both sides. Cashman and Alderson used their positions of strength, (neither went beyond those words of salary threshold) to improve their teams with player acquisitions via the trade route or a free agent signing.
The mission to fill needs is never over because, between now and Opening Day of April 1st, there are any number of possibilities, but, as I said, there is optimism as the first of official full squad workouts are scheduled for Monday. Baseball come April, and barring another COVID interruption, could have the smell of a possible, and first, Subway Series since October of 2000 when Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine were the managers.
So Friday, the Mets were not done. Alderson reportedly signed free agent right-hander Taijuan Walker. The 28-year old posted a 2.70 ERA, striking out 50 in 53⅓ innings in 11 starts last season and with the Mariners and Blue Jays.
Walker, whose deal is for two years at $10 million, returned from Tommy John surgery last season. If healthy, he is a solid addition to the rotation that features Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Marcus Stroman.
Yes, Alderson, who I refer to as “The Master” has added the pitching depth. Noah Syndergaard is waiting on the sidelines from his Tommy John recovery. David Peterson is coming off a solid rookie year and the trade for left hander Joey Luchessi adds to the depth.
You never have enough pitching. The Mets did not get Trevor Bauer, regardless, the deep pockets of owner Steve Cohen, the trust in Sandy, and the team from Queens has a formidable starting core. A top three starting rotation in the NL is very possible, next to the Dodgers with Bauer, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.
The Nationals are always in the discussion with Steven Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin.
The Mets, Braves, Nationals. Phillies, and the young Marlins (that got a taste of the postseason last year) comprise what could be the best division in baseball, the NL East.
Met fans are not satisfied with what they’ve done this off season and that’s the feel I get from social media. Perhaps, the dissatisfaction of not acquiring Bauer, George Springer, or J.T. Realmuto, and expectations of a team finally with the resources to spend, in their opinion was another disappointment.
Look at it this way, Alderson has the resources and it’s not like it was the first time around under the Wilpon ownership.
No reason to say that Alderson and the Mets failed. It’s been a successful offseason with the move to acquire Francisco Lindor, in my opinion the top shortstop in baseball, and Carrasco also came over in the deal.
James McCann. Yeah he’s not Realmuto, but an upgrade and considered a top defensive catcher that was on the market. Consider the upgrades to the bullpen depth with the additions of Trevor May and Aaron Loup.
As my sources report. Sandy is never done. There could be another move to upgrade at third base and shed some salary out of the pen with a trade of either Dellin Betances or Jeurys Familia.
Again, it’s in the hands of Sandy. The veteran knows something about the economics of baseball using an analytical approach and combining the scouting reports that are still an intricate part of baseball strategy.
Some more roster moves could be contingent if the NL will have the designated hitter in 2021. The Mets would benefit by having an ability to get Dom Smith in the lineup without having to play him in the outfield.
Am I saying the Mets will be one of two of the final teams standing in late October? Check back with me in late July, but the Mets are improved from the last time we saw the last pitch thrown at Citi Field in late September.
So Brian Cashman waited and so did Brett Gardner. Friday, Gardner remained the longest tenured Yankee and signed a reported $4 million contract worth up to $11 million over two years.
The Yankees got their veteran back, added to their depth in the outfield, and off the bench. Like Sandy in Flushing, leave it in the hands of Cashman in the Bronx.
The Yankees are still a perennial favorite to be one of those final teams standing in late October, though, from his track record, Cashman won’t sit still with questions still pending about the starting rotation.
Reliability is in the hands of Gerrit Cole. After that, Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon are a hit or a miss, the two acquisitions that Cashman made, that could offer a boost to the rotation.
The Yankees do have options with a core of young pitchers that enable Cashman to not go over that salary threshold.
Nothing more or less to say about the Yankees as they were confident this week. Pieces have been placed in stone for manager Aaron Boone. What remains are some roster spots and hopes Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge remain healthy and consistently in the lineup at the same time.
Cashman is counting on a rebound from Gary Sanchez. Then again, what game will Sanchez bring to the table in 2021?
As I said, in Sandy and Brian we trust. The Mets and Yankees are in good hands.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso YouTube “Sports With Rich” Subscribe, Like, Comment