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2023 Preview: New York Mets

Mar 2, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar (10) and  first baseman Pete Alonso (20) embrace prior to a game against the Atlanta Braves at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

2022 record: 101-61, second in National League East

Offseason headlines: In his quest to bring a World Series title to Queens, owner Steve Cohen threw money at just about every free agent, signing nine contracts totaling nearly half a billion dollars. Justin Verlander (two-year, $86.6 million deal) was the prize acquisition, replacing Jacob deGrom and creating a formidable duo with former Detroit Tigers teammate Max Scherzer.

Unfortunately for the Mets, four of those signings — closer Edwin Diaz, left-handers Jose Quintana (stress fracture in left rib) and Kodai Senga (finger tendinitis) and outfielder Brandon Nimmo (sprained right knee and ankle) — have sustained injuries this spring. Diaz (torn right patellar tendon) is expected to miss the entire season.

Spring storylines: The injury to Quintana opened a rotation spot for either David Peterson or Tylor Megill, with Peterson potentially getting the edge due to his experience in the No. 5 spot. Both have performed well, making it a decision that could come down to the wire.

As for who will replace Diaz, David Robertson is a capable, experienced closer. But how much of a blow will Diaz’s injury be to the Mets’ psyche? He creates excitement every time he takes the mound to his trumpet-fueled walk-on song and is one of the game’s best closers. That’s not easily replaceable and not how you want to start a season of high expectations.

“I never knew I loved Edwin so much until I couldn’t stop crying,” Diaz’s Mets and Puerto Rico teammate Francisco Lindor said this week. “That’s when I realized I love Edwin a lot. … It broke my heart. It did not feel good.”

Young guns: The Mets have the No. 5 farm system in the majors, according to Baseball America, though none of their prospects are projected to be with the club on Opening Day. That’s more a reflection of a strong roster than a lack of potential among the prospects.

Fall feeling: Despite the spring setbacks, the Mets remained poised to contend with the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies for NL East supremacy. The 1-2 combo of Scherzer and Verlander, along with stars Lindor and Pete Alonso in a talented lineup, have the club dreaming of the Fall Classic.

Odds, even: The Mets have the second-best odds (+175 at DraftKings and FanDuel) to win the NL East and the fifth-best odds to be World Series champions (+900 at FanDuel, +950 at DraftKings) in 2023.

–Field Level Media