2021 New York Mets
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2021 New York Mets / Franchise: New York Mets / BR Team Page
Managed by Luis Rojas
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2021 New York Mets experienced a wild off-season, even by their lofty standards of maintaining an evergreen soap opera. During the months since the end of the 2020 season, the team was sold for a record price to multi-billionaire Steven Cohen, General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen was fired, his replacement Jared Porter stayed in place only a few weeks before being forced to resign after a history of inappropriate behavior towards women became public, they swung a blockbuster trade to acquire SS Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians, and just before the start of the regular season, signed him to a ten-year extension worth a staggering $341 million. And then, they were unable to play their scheduled opening series against the Washington Nationals because their opponents were hit with a rash of positive COVID-19 tests.
The Mets finally took the field on April 5th, facing the Philadelphia Phillies on the road at Citizens Bank Park. All-World starting pitcher Jacob deGrom was as good as ever, needing just 77 pitches to complete his assigned 6 innings without giving up a run. And then the bullpen imploded in all-too familiar fashion, allowing 5 runs in the 8th inning for a 5-3 loss, with off-season acquisitions Aaron Loup and Trevor May acting as arsonists. Sportswriters then helpfully reminded everyone that it was the 31st time the Mets' bullpen had blown a late-game lead for deGrom, while second-year manager Luis Rojas was grilled about why he stuck to his initial game plan of allowing his ace to pitch only 6 innings when he was so obviously dominant (no one had yet forgotten the Blake Snell debacle in Game 6 of last year's World Series). There were a number of other acquisitions during the off-season: in the starting line-up on opening day were CF Kevin Pillar, Lindor and C James McCann, while Jonathan Villar was used as a substitute. But in a typically inefficient use of resources, one of the team's best hitters in 2020, Dominic Smith, was on the bench, as the Mets had been unable to clear a spot for him somewhere in the line-up with the DH no longer in use.
On May 3rd, the Mets dismissed hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater, replacing them respectively with Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard. While the mets had not been hitting well at all, acting GM Zack Scott stated that this was not the reason for the dismissal, but because the two were did not share "a vision for what we want our Major League hitting program to be."
Awards and Honors
- Bob Nightengale: "As Mets' new era begins, owner Steve Cohen welcomes sky-high expectations: 'I can take the heat'", USA Today, April 5, 2021.