With the 2016 MLB season just six days away from beginning, both the Mets and Yankees look to build on last year’s postseason performances.
For the Mets, building on last year’s season means achieving the ultimate goal: becoming World Series Champions for the first time since 1986. Meanwhile, the Yankees made the postseason for the first time since 2012 and will try and advance beyond the American League Wild Card game.
Both teams have made significant offseason moves that have strengthened each ball club.
The re-signing of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets signifies the ownership’s dedication to winning. Cespedes will earn an average of $25 million over the next three years, and it puts the team’s season payroll at approximately $140 million, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.
Cespedes was aquired by the Mets on the trade deadline, 13 minutes before the 4:00 p.m. deadline on July 31, via a trade with the Detroit Tigers for two minor leaguers. The 30-year old went on a tear once he was traded to the Big Apple, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 44 runs in just 57 games with the club. He also had a slash line of .287/.337/.604 with the Mets.
In recent years, the Mets’ average yearly payroll has hovered around $100 million, proving that the window of opportunity is here.
With what ESPN’s Buster Olney calls “the best pitching staff in all of baseball,” the Mets have a surplus of young and hungry pitchers in Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. All four pitchers, who are under the age of 28, throw 95-plus miles per hour and also possess exceptional secondary pitches.
The starting rotation will be the focal point of a team that could “seemingly have a chance to be remembered as one of the best rotations of this generation,” said Olney.
Harvey will start for the Mets on Opening Day, even though blood clots in his blatter put that fate in jeopardy earlier this week.
With Cespedes being the big bat in the middle of the lineup, the Mets will also rely on Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda to provide additional power, who combined to hit 48 home runs last year. The bullpen will be anchored by closer Jeurys Familia, who burst onto the scene last year, securing 43 saves for the club.
As the starting pitching will be the key to success for the Mets, the Yankees will rely on their bullpen to maintain the lead late in games.
With Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances being two of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball, the Yankees didn’t hesitate in acquiring another star-studded relief pitcher to bolster their bullpen. In a trade with the Reds, the team received lefty closer Aroldis Chapman, a four-time All-Star. According to New York Post writer George A. King III, this trio could make history, as they combined to strike out 347 batters in 212 innings last year.
However, Miller suffered a chip fracutre in his wrist yesterday. It is unknown if he will spend time on the disabled list or not.
The Yankees will have some of the oldest players in baseball with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Carlos Beltran all being over the age of 35. These four players are the core of the team, and must stay healthy in order to stay relevant in the AL East.
“The Yankees will only go as far as the veterans take them; it’s been that way the last few years,” junior Mike Volpe said.
Even with a large group of veterans, the Yankees have some young talent in starting pitchers Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda and newly-acquired second baseman Starlin Castro.
For the first time in years, it seems the Mets have stolen the spotlight away from the Yankees in New York. Given the World Series expectations for the Mets and the hope that the Yankees can simply make the playoffs again, baseball fans around the area are excited about the Mets chances this year.
The Mets will start the season this Sunday at 8 p.m. in Kansas City in a World Series rematch, while the Yankees will face the Astros at home in an American League Wild Card rematch on Monday at 1 p.m.