Well it was more than that Scott Boras with Jon Heyman as a puppet (although one suspects that Boras is happy to do that whenever he can, be it a tactic or an actual leak or just a guy playing with his toys). Carlos Correa wanted nothing to do with it mets’ NFL contract offer after his original deal with them hit the old knuckle plate hook. And so He is returning to the Minnesota Twins on a six-year contract that could be a 10 year old depending on Correa’s ankle loosening, picking up a shackle and hopping on a bus to pursue his own Hollywood dreams.
Which means the Mets are basically back where they started. Despite all the noise about their off-season (some of it mine), they’re essentially just running back in 2022. Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo Return. Justin Verlander replaces deGrom. Kodai Senga and Carlos Quintana Take Chris Bassitt’s spots and Taijuan Walker.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as in 2022 they won 101 games with just a handful of starts from deGrom and some missed time from Max Scherzer. to. Just because they had a poor three-game stretch against the Padres doesn’t mean one should ignore the fact that they were tied for second-best in the NL team over the 162.
But Mets fans and Mets media have had a few weeks to daydream about that left side of the infield from Correa and Francisco Lindor. Not only were the Mets improved by the 2022 team, they were also improved Correa-sized. It could have been historic, the kind of combo that few teams in history can pull off. It was hard not to get dizzy decorated with blue pinstripes.
And now the cold hard reality of Eduardo Escobar at the Trot on March 30th in Miami. Escobar is the definition of fine. Had a plus offensive season in his career, but has mostly just above average line (career 97 wRC+ but averaging 109 over the last four full seasons). The third time, he doesn’t pull his glove on his head. But it definitely has a “seat filler” vibe.
He was before the offseason. He was the seat filler for Brett Baty. Baty is the No. 2 ranked outlook for the Mets, behind Francisco Álvarez, who also now stands between AAA and the majors in the underworld. Baty made a brief cameo for the Mets in August when an infield injury crisis hit and made a difference a great moment. Unfortunately, that was in his first AB, and the next 41 saw plenty of groundballs and some bad luck (both Baty’s average and slugging were about 100 points below his expected numbers from the contact he made, according to StatCast). And then he got mets-itis, which means he had to have thumb surgery.
Baty only had six games at AAA last year after completely wrecking AA in 89 games last year (.415 wOBA, 160 wRC+). He’ll start the season in Syracuse, but it’s hard to believe he’ll stay there too long unless his thumb has been replaced with an old-school Atari joystick. And it’s also pretty easy to see that he’ll be in Queens soon.
Walking with a ghost
Of course, Baty will now not only inherit the place from Eduardo Escobar. He will take over the spirit of Correa. If the Mets are behind the Braves at any point before the All-Star break, Mets fans will look to the hot corner at Citi Field and start plays the song by Sarah McLachlan and to see the outlines of something that was only in their visions. Álvarez and Baty are pretty much the only hopes right now for the Mets to do significantly better than last year (however a team can come back from 101 wins in a division with two other playoff teams). Otherwise, everyone just hopes for a repeat.
That means once Baty returns to the Mets, he won’t be the new third baseman. He’ll be the one to lose Correa, again a player the Mets never really had but certainly eyed, OK. He will be seen as the ointment. He’s being held up as a shield for all the taunts and memes thrown at the Mets. The path after signing Correa definitely went to METS. Mets watchers just won’t want Baty to score, they will must to hit him. Otherwise it will still be the ghost spot on the field.
Is Baty up to it? Probably, but not a sure thing. He strikes enough, but also compensates by walking a lot. But he often smacks the ball on the ground and is more of a line-drive guy when on than getting the ball in the air. His swing, while as smooth as a baby’s ass, looks more like a double than someone who breathes fire, and the Mets were missing a homer last year (15th in the league). Baty’s start in Syracuse will certainly be in focus get the ball more in the air. But if he’s not the love child of Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, you know what the headlines and tweets will be. He’s unlikely to be the first prospect to be swallowed up by New York expectations, but he’ll be one of the few to go head-to-head with someone who’s never been there.
https://deadspin.com/new-york-mets-carlos-correa-brett-baty-third-base-1849975921 Without Carlos Correa, Met’s third baseman is likely Brett Baty