The Mets will open the season against the Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON – It’s so different for the Mets since 2016, the last time they qualified for the playoffs. The lists are inevitably changing, but the Mets’ repair is much deeper. They have, to name a few important figures, a new manager, a new general manager and a new team owner – the last of this group makes the biggest difference in the direction of each franchise.

The last decade for the Mets is more about losses and drama than victories and continued success. The Mets, whose last World Series title was in 1986, have entered the playoffs only twice since 2007. But after a winter of further change, one of the most anticipated seasons in the team’s recent history is here, which should start against the national on Thursday night in Washington, DC Reasons to be more attentive to the Mets than in the past are many.

For so long, with the previous owners, the Wilpons, the Mets have faded in the National League rankings and in the Major League Baseball payroll, even though they played in the largest media market in the United States.

But with second-year owner Stephen A. Cohen, a hedge fund manager with a net worth of more than $ 15 billion, the team now enjoys the richest majority owner in MLB and is behaving accordingly. Only the ever-arguing Los Angeles Dodgers ($ 293 million, for luxury tax purposes) have a higher MLB salary than the Mets record mark of $ 286 million.

When they are healthy – a challenge right now – the Mets have two of the best baseball pitchers on the right, Jacob deGrom, 33, and Max Scherzer, 37, each of whom has won numerous Cy Young awards. While deGrom may be absent for months along with a shoulder injury that worsens the team’s prospects, the Mets received encouraging news about Scherzer’s tight hamstring on Thursday and planned for him to make his Mets debut on Friday. And fortunately for the Mets, they traded with the Auckland Athletics in March for right-handed starting pitcher Chris Basitt, a 2021 All-Star.

To further reconsider the team heading to this season, the Mets spent a total of $ 254.5 million on outfielder Starling Marte, outfielder and first baseman Mark Cana, fielder Eduardo Escobar and Scherzer. They complete a list that includes key players who performed solidly or did not perform last year: first baseman Pete Alonso, second baseman and outfielder Jeff McNeill, shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Taihuan Walker.

“We just want to play great baseball,” said Scherzer, who won the 2019 World Series with the national team before Thursday’s game. “There are a lot of talents here. In the off-season, many moves were made to strengthen the talent here. It is up to us to come together as a team and as a club and play well as a team and do the best we can. We need a good start from the beginning. “

The Mets’ general manager, Billy Eppler, has never built a playoff team in five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, but he has been able to attract some of the best baseball players. . , is the most experienced captain they have hired for some time.

“He’s really, really organized,” said Mets outfielder Brandon Nimo, who did not start the season on Thursday due to a stiff neck. “He is right. He will be prepared. I don’t think we will lose a game because Buck was not prepared. “

Nimo is cheerful by nature, but focusing on this season, he noted that the team assembled by Cohen and Epler is extremely talented, which made him “really optimistic.” Referring to the new players, Nimo said, “these guys have a long experience of success in the big championships and are doing well in the big championships.”

The playoff field has been expanded to 12 teams out of 10 in the new sports deal, but the Mets division, NL East, will be stable. The Nationals are recovering, but Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies have invested heavily in improvements this winter. The Philistines didn’t spend much on defense, but added powerful bats to outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber for a total of $ 179 million.

The winning team will be Atlanta, the reigning World Series champion. Although he left longtime first baseman star Freddie Freeman to go through a free agency, Atlanta has a record $ 206 million in franchise salaries after a wave of moves, from trading with Athletics to first baseman Matt Olson (and signing with him at the age of eight. $ 168 million extension), re-signing outfielder Eddie Rosario and adding former Dodgers closer to Kenley Jansen.

“It will be a difficult division and there will be very good teams and talents,” Scherzer said. “Everyone has to be the best.”

This will include Tyler Megill, 26, on Thursday. Since deGrom was injured shortly before the opening day, Scherzer was suffering from a minor hamstring injury and Shawlter didn’t want to mess with the schedules of the other starting pitchers. day.

But after two seasons changed by the pandemic, a labor dispute between MLB owners and players that nearly threatened a full 162-game regular season, a fast-paced spring workout and a wave of franchise review activities, the Mets were simply excited to start another hopeful season.

“Everyone will be looking forward to one or two games and getting into the routine,” Shawalter told reporters at the Nationals Park manager’s office before Thursday’s game. “Everyone’s here, too.” It was so much, ”his voice trailed off before continuing,“ And I’m trying to keep in mind how different what we’re doing right now. From a long time.”

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