Mets Are A Cautionary Tale For New York Jets
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen spent more money than any other Major League Baseball team in 2023 by over $64 million. Yet, with 40-plus games remaining in the regular season, Cohen's team is all-but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Should the New York Jets be looking at what happened in Queens? Absolutely and for good reason.
The Mets were a good team in 2022, winning 101-games. Many believed that the addition of a player, like $43 million-man, Justin Verlander, much like the Jets addition of Aaron Rodgers, would be enough to put the Amazin's over-the-top. Beliefs are shattered sometimes after you play the games. However, the 2023 Jets acquisitions have been different at the core, from the ones made by the Mets.
The Jets brought in Aaron Rodgers, similar to the Mets bringing in Verlander. Then the Jets built around Rodgers with players that the quarterback thought could help them win. Receiver Mecole Hardman is fresh off a Super Bowl championship with Kanas City. Receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are Rodgers' old friends from Green Bay. There was deliberate thought into building some instant chemistry, mixed with championship pedigree. Monday's addition of superstar running back, Dalvin Cook, adds to the players hungry to win a Super Bowl.
Prior to the 2023 season, the Mets saw their greatest competitor and most popular teammate, Jacob deGrom, and his oft-injured history, walk out the door. Mets general manager Billy Eppler made little effort to keep another team favorite, right-hand pitcher Chris Bassitt, as he walked during free agency. The exiting of those two players and replacing them with the perceived aloofness of Justin Verlander, (mixed with Max Scherzer's dislike for Verlander) was a disaster waiting to happen. And it did. In addition, Eppler failed to directly address holes in the Mets line-up, like DH. Jets general manager Joe Douglas did the opposite.
Douglas has surrounded his star quarterback with familiar faces, like Lazard and Cobb. These additions created some instant chemistry for Gang Green's offensive unit to build upon. The Jets GM also did a good job filling holes and making the team deeper. By signing Cook to a one-year deal on Monday, Joe Douglas gave second-year running back Breece Hall time to recover from his season ending torn ACL injury in 2022. Mecole Hardman filled the Jets need for a quality slot-receiver.
However, just like in the case with the Mess, uh Mets, the Jets still have some glaring holes that could derail their season. The offensive line is very thin. If something happens to left tackle Duane Brown, the Jets will be forced to see if Mekhi Becton can finally live up to his draft selection. There isn't a ton of optimism around that prospect. Then, what if Rodgers gets injured? Can Zach Wilson get the Jets to the playoffs, as he was unable to do in 2022? Big questions that can easily wipe out an awesome off-season of free agent spending. Just ask the Mets. Nonetheless, it will be fun to watch and my prediction is: the Jets will fair better than the Mets in 2023.