Mets 2022-23 Offseason Grades: Analyzing all the big moves

Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander / USA TODAY Sports/SNY Treated Image

Barring something surprising -- and you can never rule anything out with Steve Cohen -- the Mets are done making huge offseason moves.

And despite basically walking away from the Carlos Correa deal after flagging an ankle issue during his physical, the Mets have had one of the best and biggest offseasons in franchise history that has led to their payroll rising to a historic level.

While lots of what the Mets did revolved around bringing their key players back, that's nothing to sneeze at.

New York had a ton of internal free agents and were facing a tough task when it came to rebuilding their roster. And they not only rebuilt it, but have arguably put together a better team than the one that won 101 games in 2022.

Let's hand out grades for every big offseason move...

Justin Verlander

The Verlander signing was perfect for lots of reasons.

A bulldog just like Max Scherzer, Verlander should seamlessly slide in atop the Mets' rotation and replace Jacob deGrom, who -- even when considering his all-World talent -- made just 11 starts in 2022 after being limited to 15 starts in 2021.

Could deGrom make 30+ starts this season for the Texas Rangers? Sure. But Verlander has been an absolute workhorse during his career, and is coming off a Cy Young season where he had the best ERA in baseball in 28 starts over 175 innings in what was his first year back after Tommy John surgery.

Yes, Verlander is entering is age-40 season. But there are no signs that he's about to slow down. And the deal the Mets gave him -- two years guaranteed at a shade over $43 million per season -- seriously mitigates the risk.

GRADE: A+

Kodai Senga

Instead of going for more of a sure thing in the middle of the starting staff (one example would've been re-signing Chris Bassitt), the Mets went for the upside. And with the way the rest of the rotation shook out, making an upside play in the No. 3 spot was smart.

There are questions revolving around how Senga will adapt to MLB, including how his stuff will fare, how a different ball might impact him, and how he'll adjust to the increased workload (starting pitchers in Japan ordinarily pitch once a week).

Kodai Senga
Kodai Senga / Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

But Senga has electric stuff that makes him a potential top of the rotation starter. And even if he doesn't hit that ceiling, and settles in as a mid-rotation starter or even more of a No. 4, the Mets will be just fine.

If Senga hits his ceiling, though, the top three in the Mets' rotation will be downright scary.

GRADE: A

Edwin Diaz

Of all the moves the Mets have made this offseason, bringing Diaz back was the easiest call.

By making Diaz the highest-paid closer ever in terms of average annual value and total dollars (he received a five-year deal for $102 million), the Mets have locked in the age-29 through 33 seasons of the most dominant closer in baseball.

So many people have focused on how insanely good Diaz was in 2022 -- and he was on another planet. But he's been an absolute force for the Mets over the last three seasons.

Diaz's fastball-slider combination is frightening, his mound presence has become elite, he has embraced everything that comes with pitching in New York, and he wanted to be here.

GRADE: A+

Brandon Nimmo

The Mets went higher in terms of years to Nimmo than they should've, giving him an eight-year deal for $162 million entering his age-30 season. But there were three reasons why they were right to lock in Nimmo, who had a robust market as a truly plus two-way center fielder.

First, the average annual value (roughly $20 million) will not hurt them much if Nimmo starts to fade toward the end of the deal.

Brandon Nimmo flanked by Scott Boras, Billy Eppler, Chelsea Nimmo, and Buck Showalter
Brandon Nimmo flanked by Scott Boras, Billy Eppler, Chelsea Nimmo, and Buck Showalter / Conor Byrne, SNY

Second, the Mets did not have a clear avenue to finding a proper replacement for Nimmo at the top of the lineup or in center field.

Third, Nimmo -- like Diaz -- made it known to the Mets that he enjoyed the city and wanted to return. And in the case of Nimmo, who is locked in through his age-37 season, he's on track to be a career Met.

GRADE: B+

Jose Quintana

Before signing Quintana to a two-year deal worth $26 million, the Mets had been linked to pitchers including Jameson Taillon (who signed a four-year deal worth $68 million with the Chicago Cubs) and Andrew Heaney (who inked a two-hear deal worth $25 million with the Rangers).

While Taillon and Heaney have more upside, Quintana -- who has a career ERA of 3.75 -- is coming off a strong season for the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals (he had a 2.93 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 32 starts over 165.2 innings), and should fit in nicely in the back of the Mets' rotation.

GRADE: B

David Robertson

With Seth Lugo and Trevor May leaving via free agency, the Mets needed to add late-inning arms to the bullpen. And they found a strong one in Robertson.

The Mets might have overpaid just a tad in terms of dollars (Robertson got $10 million for 2023). But keeping the deal to one-year for the soon-to-be-38-year-old made this signing an easy call.

GRADE: B+

Adam Ottavino

Aside from Diaz, Ottavino -- the main bridge to Diaz in 2022 -- was the only key internal free agent reliever the Mets brought back. And they were able to keep the deal very reasonable.

Ottavino got a two-year contract worth $14.5 million that includes a player opt-out after the 2023 season.

GRADE: A-

New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the game against the Houston Astros during spring training at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the game against the Houston Astros during spring training at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Omar Narvaez

It was a bit of a surprise when the Mets signed Narvaez to a two-year deal worth $15 million that contains a player option for the 2024 season. But when James McCann was traded (more on that below), it made more sense.

Narvaez has had one good season at the plate out of his last three, sandwiching a strong 2021 campaign with two very down years offensively. But with the Mets seemingly not yet ready to turn the catching reins over to Francisco Alvarez, Narvaez will likely be the starter behind the plate on Opening Day.

GRADE: C

Brooks Raley

The Mets acquired the left-handed Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor leaguer Keyshawn Askew, filling their need for a left-handed reliever.

And Raley -- who was devastating against lefties last season but also very good against righties -- should be one of the key cogs in the bullpen along with Diaz, Robertson, Ottavino, and Drew Smith.

GRADE: A-

Trading James McCann

McCann, who was about to enter the third year of a four-year deal worth $40 million, was close to a non-entity offensively during his two seasons in Queens.

And even though the Mets are getting just a player to be named later from the Baltimore Orioles for McCann -- while absorbing most of his salary -- the move was addition by subtraction.

GRADE: B+