Mets need a roster shakeup for the 2022 MLB season, but what should it look like?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Robbie Ray Kris Bryant Michael Conforto METS TREATED ART
Robbie Ray Kris Bryant Michael Conforto METS TREATED ART

Barring a miracle during the last two weeks of the season, the Mets are going to miss the playoffs for the fifth season in a row and the 17th time in the last 20 seasons.

Once the regular season ends, a decision will be made on the future of manager Luis Rojas (whose contract is set to expire), and owner Steve Cohen and team president Sandy Alderson are expected to ramp up their search for a new president of baseball operations.

The Mets might also hire a new GM, with the future of once-acting GM Zack Scott up in the air following his arrest on DUI charges that led to him being placed on administrative leave.

And while all of the above is going on, the Mets will be reshaping a roster that went from atop the NL East for the majority of the 2021 season to out of playoff contention by mid-September.

It was a steep and painful fall for the Mets this season, and it is clear that a minor shakeup of the roster is needed. But what should that shakeup look like?

The thing that has jumped out all season is the failure of the offense to put any consistency together. It was understandable when the team was hit hard with injuries in May and June, but the poor team-wide approach, struggles with runners in scoring position, and an inability to get runs across continued for much of the second half when the team was mostly whole.

It should be noted that despite the Mets' offensive deficiencies, specifically what doomed was an almost impossible to believe inability to win one-run games.

Aug 24, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (left to right), center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9), infielder Brandon Drury (35), catcher James McCann (33) and injured starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) watch during the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field.
Aug 24, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (left to right), center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9), infielder Brandon Drury (35), catcher James McCann (33) and injured starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) watch during the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field.

During their 13-game stretch against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in August (when the Mets went 2-11), seven of their losses were decided by one run.

And as the Mets enter play on Sept. 21, seven of their 10 losses this month have been by one run.

When it comes to one-run losses, especially a ridiculous string of them, a lot of it is simply a result of luck and randomness. The Mets have gone 3-16 in one-run games since Aug. 13. Had they simply gone 8-11 in one-run games during that span -- which would have still been a below average outcome but not a historically bad one -- they would be 78-72, 1.0 game back in the NL East.

How close the Mets were to making something of this season is a reason to hope they can succeed with many of the players who are here now. But that they failed over and over down the stretch (and the ways in which they failed) makes it clear that some major change is needed.

As noted above, there are lots of players the Mets should be comfortable building around. There are other key players about to hit free agency.

Jun 19, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) is congratulated by first baseman Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park.
Jun 19, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) is congratulated by first baseman Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park.

Who are the keepers?

If you look at the discourse on Twitter, the Mets have about two or three players they should bring back in 2022.

In actuality, that list is much larger.

Here it is (not including pending free agents), in no particular order:

Francisco Lindor
Pete Alonso

Jacob deGrom

Edwin Diaz

Brandon Nimmo

Jeff McNeil

Trevor May

Miguel Castro

Taijuan Walker

Carlos Carrasco

Tylor Megill

Seth Lugo

Luis Guillorme

Drew Smith


It needs to be pointed out that these players being listed doesn't mean they're all untouchable. But they should be looked at as part of the possible solution in 2022 and beyond.

If you want to claim Lindor has been bad all season, I'll point out that he's hit .260/.346/.492 with 14 homers and 11 doubles in 69 games dating back to May 29. His career triple slash entering this season was .285/.346/.488.

If you want to get on Nimmo, who has only played 80 games this season due to injuries, I'll note that he played 55 of 60 games in 2020.

If you want to bash McNeil for a down 2021, I'll direct you to his stats from 2018 to 2020.

Aug 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Aug 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Granted, there are concerns about some of the above players.

How will deGrom's health be in 2022? Can Carrasco be a No. 2 again? How durable is Lugo?

But some of those concerns should be dealt with by bolstering the roster around those players.

What about the pending free agents?

The Mets have lots of free agents they should be interested in bringing back, but the five most high profile ones are Javier Baez, Marcus Stroman, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, and Aaron Loup.

A case could be made that all five should be brought back, but do all five fit?

Loup certainly does, and he has already made it clear that he would like to return.

And with the uncertainty surrounding deGrom, the Mets making an effort to extend Stroman should be a no-brainer. As should extending the Qualifying offer to Syndergaard.

The toughest decisions will revolve around Baez -- whose plate discipline since being acquired has been a pleasant surprise -- and Conforto, who will likely also be extended a Qualifying offer.

Sep 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets second baseman Javier Baez (23) follows through on a game tying solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at Citi Field.
Sep 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets second baseman Javier Baez (23) follows through on a game tying solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at Citi Field.

How should the Mets reshape the roster

You might be asking yourself how the Mets can shake up the roster if they bring back roughly 18 or 19 players who were on the 2021 team.

The answer is that they can do it by adding impact players from outside the organization to bolster the offense, starting rotation, and bullpen, and by trading players like J.D. Davis and/or Dominic Smith.

If Baez is brought back, perhaps the Mets will only add one "big" offensive player from outside the organization. If he walks, maybe they'll bring in two.

One option is Kris Bryant, who could fit in at third base or in the outfield. Maybe they consider Starling Marte and/or Nick Castellanos.

Steve Cohen talks to media at Nationals Park
Steve Cohen talks to media at Nationals Park

Either way, the likely presence of the universal DH in 2022 should allow for greater roster flexibility as the Mets build around their core.

In the starting rotation, the Mets cannot simply pencil Megill in as the No. 5 (though he has impressed in his rookie season), nor can they rely on David Peterson.

They should be going after an ace-level starting pitcher (especially if Stroman walks), and it would behoove them to try to find out if Max Scherzer would be willing to pitch in New York after not being open to it before the trade deadline. Beyond Scherzer, do the Mets believe Robbie Ray has turned into a legitimate ace?

The Mets also need another late-inning reliever, especially when you consider that Lugo is not able to pitch as regularly as most late-inning guys do.

***

The Mets will have a lot on their plate this offseason when it comes to both off-field and on-field moves.

And they will be operating while trying to fulfill Cohen's goal of trying to win a title within the first three-to-five years of his ownership as they continue to remake the organization into what they hope will become an East Coast version of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It won't be easy and some boldness will be needed, but the Mets are in an advantageous spot heading into 2022 and beyond despite the way 2021 is ending.