The defending National League Champion New York Mets will not defend their title in 2016.
The Mets’ season came to an end on Wednesday, Oct. 5 as they lost to the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Wild Card Game.
Madison Bumgarner threw a shutout against the Mets, while Noah Syndergaard matched him as best as he could with seven scoreless innings. In the ninth inning, Connor Gillaspie hit a three-run home run to lead the Giants to victory.
Although the season ended in very disappointing fashion, there are some things to be thankful for.
This looked like it was going to be a very disappointing season very early on. The Mets lost player after player to injury, as they do every year, but it really stung them this season. Going into 2016, everyone was talking about the Mets’ starting pitching. The starting rotation was going to boast Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and later in the season, Zack Wheeler. This was going to be something historic, with five young aces making up the rotation. Well, Harvey had an awful season and then got hurt. Wheeler never returned from injury, while deGrom and Matz ended their seasons on the disabled list. Syndergaard was the only one that survived, and yet the Mets made it to the playoffs.
In fact, it was just a month and a half ago on Aug. 19 that the Mets were two games under .500 and 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. They went 27-13 after that day, the best record in baseball, and passed four teams to claim the first wild card spot. The team went on an amazing run with a depleted lineup and battered starting rotation to make the playoffs, and that is something to be proud of and can act as a confidence boost to bring the team back to the postseason in 2017.
But there are quite a few questions surrounding the 2017 Mets, the biggest of which is whether or not Yoenis Cespedes will stay with the team. He can opt out of his contract which still has two years remaining on it. The Mets would not have made it as far as they did without Cespedes, both this season and last. All the Mets and their fans can do is hope he decides to stay.
Even if he does decide to stay, there are still numerous questions with the Mets’ outfield. The team has Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson to fill three outfield spots. Cespedes can return, and the team may also want to give Brandon Nimmo some playing time. That is a very crowded outfield, and one or two of them may get traded this offseason to make some space.
There are also, of course, questions with the health of the starting rotation. After nearly everyone went down this year, the Mets may have to prepare for similar health issues in 2017. Plus, even if everyone comes back healthy, what do you then do with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman? Both pitched very well down the stretch.
It’s unfortunate that the Mets have to starting thinking about next season this early, but it could have been earlier if not for a very exciting run. This was a successful season when you consider all the injuries the team had. We’ll just have to see how General Manager Sandy Alderson answers all these questions to get the team even further next season.