Steve Cohen and the Mets bounced back quickly from the free agency departure of former ace Jacob deGrom to land the future Hall of Famer and three-time Cy Young Award winner in a short team megadeal worth more than $40 million a year for the second straight winter were .
Justin Verlander is now reunited with former Tigers teammate Max Scherzer in Flushing, forming a two-headed A-list monster at the top of the Mets rotation after deGrom – another winner of multiple Cy Young Awards, albeit ONLY two! — signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers last week.
This is definitely a plan B, probably among the best backup options.
As I pointed out on Twitter on Monday, the Mets never landed Justin Upton or BJ Upton, despite their attempts to acquire brother outsiders. Now welcome to New York, Yankees fan Keith Upton, Verlander’s better half, who — as Mets fans can certainly appreciate — famously trashed a Phillies fan during this year’s World Series between Verlander’s Astros and the Mets’ arch-NL East rivals.
That said, the Mets still had plenty of offseason work to do as the Winter Meetings took place this week in San Diego.
Despite the dollar and Cohen tax, the Mets should add at least one reliable No. 3 starter from a group led by yet-to-be-signed Carlos Rodon, incumbent Chris Bassitt and possibly Japanese import Kodai Senga. They also need to ink another type of New York commodity, such as 2021 All-Star Tyjuan Walker or recent Yankees umpire James Taillon, who have a history of nagging injuries.
Carlos Carrasco and/or David Peterson currently round out that starting lineup, and if injuries occur after posting a 7-5 record with a serviceable 3.83 ERA, the latter as the Mets’ No. 6 arm you should be comfortable serving. 2022 career-high ERA through 105 ⅔ innings.
Rodon, who turns 30 on Saturday, would be a bold, home run addition for Cohen right now, especially alongside Verlander. During his final two All-Star campaigns with the Way Sox and Giants, the lefty posted a 2.67 ERA and 422 strikeouts over 310 ⅔ innings in 55 starts.
The Yankees, who could be near the top of their rotation in 2023 with Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas, should also suit up for Rodon.
Still, the bank — literally — is somewhat of a threat for the Mets with a pair of aces who will have 40 (Verlander) and 38 (Scherzer) on Opening Day.
Especially considering Verlander missed nearly two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. (Yes, I am aware that he posted an ML-best 1.75 ERA in 28 regular season appearances last season. Yes, he had thrown at least 200 innings in 12 of the previous 13 years prior to surgery).
Scherzer also dealt with severe issues on the disabled list twice in 2022, his first with the Mets, hitting four homers and hitting seven runs in his lone postseason start against the Padres. before.
The Mets also need to address their center field vacancy, whether that means re-signing incumbent Brandon Nimmo or a cheaper option like recently undrafted former NL MVP Cody Bellinger or a defensive-minded veteran like Kevin Kiermaier or Jackie Bradley. , Jr.
Still, even with the addition of the three-time Cy Young winner on Monday, the Mets still need at least one viable starter, and possibly two, to stay in contention in a division the Braves have won. a World Series and the Phillies – who landed shortstop Trea Turner on Monday – reach the Fall Classic in the last two years.
Today’s back page
⚾ HEYMAN: Steve Cohen’s personal touch made sure Justin Verlander didn’t get away
🏈 VACCARO: Giants can erase sting of recent slide by defeating hated Eagles
⚽ Brazil look like the favorites for the World Cup and will take the top spot in South Korea with their impressive performances
As the World Cup rolls around…
The U.S. dream came true over the weekend in Qatar, but plenty of drama remains at the World Cup, with the last two spots in the quarterfinals up for grabs on Tuesday.
Has Messi reached the top of the mountain?
International superstar Lionel Messi is closing in on his elusive first World Cup title as he moves to MLS alongside David Beckham in Miami in 2023.
Messi, 35, has scored three goals in Argentina’s first four games, including in the first half of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Australia, his 1,000th appearance for club and country.
Next up for third-placed Argentina is a tough quarter-final against the Netherlands, who beat the Americans in the round of 16 with three one-goal goals. Argentinians would be unwise to expect a potential matchup against another South American powerhouse. Brazil is in the semi-finals.
Neymar returned to Brazil
Neymar, who missed two games with an ankle injury in their group stage opener against Serbia, scored the second of four first-half goals in Brazil’s 4-1 win over South Korea on Monday to send them into the finals. He organized a quarter-final match with Croatia. In 2018 in Russia.
The 30-year-old PSG striker will not match football legend Pele’s total of 77 goals for the national team with his move to PK as Brazil look to win their first World Cup since 2002.
Can the French repeat?
No country has won back-to-back titles since Pele and Brazil won in 1958 and 1962.
2018 champions France have a legitimate chance of becoming the first in six decades to face England in Saturday’s quarter-finals. The French, ranked fourth in FIFA, are leading the tournament with Neymar’s PSG team-mate, dynamic Golden Boot winner Kylian Mbappe, scoring five goals in four games.
The fifth-placed Britons will need to become a strong contender on Saturday with a World Cup-high 12 goals, despite being held to a goalless draw by the USMNT in the group stage.
The final two quarter finalists
The last two pairings in the round of 16 should make for an interesting showdown on Tuesday as Morocco take on Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal take on Switzerland.
Morocco, the only African nation to survive the tournament, finished Group F with a stunning 2-0-1 record – Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne and second-placed Belgium, another against Canada won and drew. a skilled Croatian team.
In Group E, we hope to continue the fun against the mighty Spain, who have scored nine goals in three games but finished 1-1-1.
Rejected by peers
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have been worse than baseball writers in the Hall of Fame.
Much of the coverage in New York focused on Don Mattingly’s eight-vote failure of Sunday’s 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee (1980-present), and Fred McGriff next summer after garnering 100 percent of the vote. ng, it fits. .
Bonds and Clemens’ rebuke — getting less than four of the 12 (75 percent) votes needed for induction — suggests to me that former PED-tainted superstars will have trouble getting enough support to defend Cooperstown.
Full disclosure: I’ve voted for both during the last five years I’ve been on the BBWAA ballot, only to be suspended or suspended after MLB tests for performance-enhancing drugs. I decided not to vote for those who could not. That’s why I’ve ruled out players like Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, and others, and plan to do so in the future (Robinson Cano, and others).
Bonds and Clemens scored 66 and 65.2 percent, respectively, in their 10th and final attempts on the baseball writers’ ballot last year, but their contemporaries were more harsh in their assessments.
This year’s modern committee includes seven Hall of Famers – Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell – and Angels owner Arte Moreno, former Blue Jays President and CEO of MLB Paul Beeston entered. Red Sox and Cubs exec Theo Epstein, club presidents Ken Williams (White Sox) and Dave St. Peter (Twins), past BBWAA presidents Susan Slusser and LaVelle Neal, and baseball historian Steve Hirdt.
Exact results have not been released, but low numbers for Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro and Albert Belle (fewer than four votes each) mean they won’t pass the screening process to be on the eight-player ballot next time around. shows. they may even be considered for a 2026 induction in December 2025.
Next year, the Modern Era committee will consider only managers, executives and umpires, while the Classic Baseball Era (before 1980) will meet in December 2024 to include 2025.