The Mets, due in part to losing their No. 2 and No. 3 starters (one due to injury, one due to a COVID opt-out) and also due to their own preventable on-field failures, missed the playoffs.
The Yankees also eventually failed due to the state of their starting rotation, but they made the playoffs and were a game away from advancing to the ALCS.
Heading into the 2020 offseason, the Mets (with prospective new owner Steve Cohen expected to be running things) and Yankees (still trying to end their relatively long World Series drought) could wind up fighting over some of the marquee free agents in what is a top-heavy class.
Here are five free agents the New York teams could joust over...
Fixing the starting rotation is arguably at the very top of the list for both the Mets and Yanks, and Bauer -- expected to win the Cy Young award after a dominant season with the Cincinnati Reds -- will be the cream of the free agent crop.
After Bauer, Marcus Stroman (not a pitcher Brian Cashman is a huge fan of) is the second-best starting pitcher available.
Outspoken and incredibly active on Twitter, it's unclear whether Bauer would be viewed as a fit for the usually straitlaced Yankees. Whether he should be viewed as a fit (yes) is a different story.
Also unclear is what Bauer wants. He's said in the past that he's fine going year-to-year, but recently said he'd be open to a longer-term deal.
One of the two best position players expected to be available in free agency, Realmuto is a a game-changer at the plate and behind it.
For the Mets, who will almost certainly use the $1.5 million buyout on Wilson Ramos, adding Realmuto would give them a stabilizing force behind the plate who would fit perfectly in their lineup, fix one of their biggest defensive issues, and work well with their pitchers.
For the Yankees, there could be a spot open for Realmuto if they decide to move on from Gary Sanchez, whose disappointing regular season in 2020 led to him being benched for Kyle Higashioka in the playoffs.
Realmuto is reportedly seeking a payday of roughly $200 million, though it's hard to see him getting that much in the current climate.
Even if the Mets and/or Yanks add a top of the rotation starter (like Bauer), they will still arguably be in need of a reliable starter who can pitch in the middle of a contending team's rotation.
The Yanks have tons of history with him, and despite his rocky outings this postseason, he has been a consistent performer who has the ability to dominate on occasion.
The Mets, of course, have no history with Tanaka. But they know he's excelled pitching in New York. And if they're comfortable with the medicals as it pertains to Tanaka's partially torn UCL, he could be a solid mid-rotation option for them along with Stroman.
This one could be a reach for the Yankees for a couple of reasons.
Their payroll is already stuffed with deals that are large in terms of both average annual value and total dollars. And their outfield situation is pretty good, with Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Clint Frazier. Oh, and Springer would just happen to be coming from the Houston Astros.
But if the Yanks view Frazier as a trade chip and/or they're wary of handing out a megadeal to Judge when he hits free agency after the 2022 season, Springer could be a fit.
For the Mets, Springer is a much more obvious target.
The team from Queens is in dire need of a center fielder who can be a plus on both sides of the ball, and Springer is all that and more.
There's a steep drop off in the starting pitching market from Bauer to guys like Stroman and Tanaka and then to more affordable options such as Walker.
Once a top prospect, Walker -- still only 28 years old -- has started to put it together recently.
He had a 2.70 ERA in 2020 (though his advanced numbers were a bit concerning) and could be a solid option for a team that believes in his upside.
For the Mets and Yanks, Walker could potentially fit near the back end of the rotation.