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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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No News is Unusual News

On Monday of last week, the Mets signed at top dollar a pitcher on track to land in the Hall of Fame, a pitcher still at the top of his game, a pitcher at the top of the game overall. It made us mostly forget that our best pitcher from the previous nine seasons, our league’s best pitcher from the previous five seasons, had left us the Friday before.

Come Wednesday of last week, the Mets signed what you’d call a solid veteran pitcher who, like that future Hall of Famer, showed his stuff remains up to snuff in postseason play this very October. This lefty’s pending presence in the middle of the rotation was enough to make a Mets fan barely notice that the righty who held down a spot in the middle of the rotation had just left for a division rival. As a chaser to this development, the Mets grabbed a lefty specialist for the bullpen.

Then it was Thursday, and it was the day to ensure the role of The Dean remained filled by a highly regarded longstanding denizen of Flushing, somebody considered to be a very hot item on the open market, but that player — the essential leadoff hitter/center fielder from the previous Met season’s success — chose to stay put in his professional home once his professional considerations were satisfied. Oh, and another chaser: an accomplished closer to serve as setup man for the most brilliant closer in the game at the moment.

Saturday night, traditionally the province of the Bay City Rollers, rolled around, and before you could spell out S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y twice, the Mets were reported to have reached agreement with one of the plums in the free agent orchard, a pitcher who’s excelled on one continent and is projected to do the same on this one. This Japanese righthander’s repertoire is so tantalizing, word that last year’s No. 3 Met starter was leaving the United States for Canada was greeted with a shrug.

So, to sum up: former Astro Justin Verlander has more or less replaced Texas Ranger Jacob deGrom; former Cardinal Jose Quintana has more or less replaced Philadelphia Phillie Taijuan Walker; former Fukuoka SoftBank Hawk Kodai Senga has more or less replaced Toronto Blue Jay Chris Bassitt; Brooks Raley and David Robertson are filling a potential relief void before it can grow into a gaping bullpen vacuum following the exits of Joely Rodriguez to the Red Sox and Trevor Williams to the Nationals, with the statuses of Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Adam Ottavino yet to be determined; and Brandon Nimmo, like Edwin Diaz, isn’t going anywhere.

Just like that, the Mets have answered many if not all of their questions ahead of 2023 before December 2022 is half over. Just like that, Steve Cohen committed whatever it took to not let the talent level of the team he bought barely two years ago dip from its 100-win level of this year. Just like that, there was little opportunity to wonder if the Mets would do what it would take to continue to contend seriously, because this is serious business the Mets have been conducting.

A pitcher like Verlander would have been a pipe dream before Cohen. A pitcher like Senga would have been one of those “maybe they could…nah” situations that arose so often before Cohen. To have watched the pitchers who left leave would have been a telling blow before Cohen, and one theoretically perfectly good starter like Quintana in the company of an acquired lesser arm, along with whoever emerged from a pile of Quadruple-A possibilities, would have been sold with a straight face as a reasonable succession plan. With Cohen, we move on and at the very least stay on par with where we were and probably improve. If Senga is the real thing, if Quintana keeps up his Cardinal pace, if Verlander is as ageless as he’s seemed, you wouldn’t be quick to turn them down as a package in exchange for deGrom, Walker and Bassitt. That’s pretty much the trade that happened, albeit through three pitchers departing of their own volition to disparate destinations, and three pitchers arriving veritably en masse because all things and payments being something akin to equal, they’re enthusiastically joining the New York Mets.

Plus those bullpen guys (Robertson signed for one year, Raley obtained from Tampa Bay for a promising if far off minor leaguer), alongside the talented Mr. Nimmo opting to not go anywhere. All of this has transpired in a period that had yet to commence two entire weeks ago. This is how the New York Mets of the contemporary era operate. This is our franchise doing very well one year and aiming at doing better the next. This isn’t one of those “win the offseason” sprees easily dismissed. It’s not unlike the last winning offseason, which led to a substanitally winning season, which is now our starting point for constructing a team for the next season, fairly projected as another winning season.

As of this writing, it is Tuesday afternoon. The Mets haven’t made a move since Saturday night. With these Mets, it seems a little odd to have gone so long without one.

This whirlwind of Mets transactional action forms the basis for the latest edition of National League Town, available for your listening pleasure here or pretty much any podcast platform you choose.

9 comments to No News is Unusual News

  • EP Brown

    And don’t forget, the Mets got a couple of draft picks for DeGrom and Bassitt and picked up Verlander, Quintana, and Senga without losing picks or international signing money. Not a bad swap at all.

  • mikeL

    yes, funny how spoiled and impatient we’ve all become.
    ’twas quite the week!

    on saturday i kept refreshing MLBTR and the post for news on a deal for senga…and eventually it loaded!
    icing on the icing!

    the absurdity of a payroll approaching 250% of pre-cohen high-point notwithstanding it’s OUR absurd payroll.

    now. to. be. patient!

  • mikeL

    ha! saw the news that the mets were possibly in play for correa. then saw that he signed with the giants.
    i was relieved!

  • Seth

    Should be interesting with basically a re-tooled starting rotation. Although I might argue that wasn’t the main reason for the 2022 collapse (although the starting pitchers did falter at the end). I’d like to see some consistent hitting.

    • mikeski

      “Consistent” being “continuing to occur after September 1”.

      • mikeL

        maybe retooled staff will better protect the hitters. all season guys got plunked and with no real answer. marte’s broken finger was the mets undoing.

        the mets of months 1-5 could have taken the braves or the dodgers. as well they had!

  • Eric

    Let’s bring back a hungry, desperate Conforto with his career on the line.

  • Curt Emanuel

    We also added Zach Greene, a relief pitcher. Who is Zach Greene? I have no idea but the Rule 5 rules say he’s on our roster all next year. He has lots of minor league strikeouts but he also gives a lot of walks. On the plus side, we took him from the Yankees.

    Interesting how in the 70’s I expressed my disdain for the Yankees with, “They bought their team. Must be nice.” These days? Spend Steve – spend! Just don’t go Jim Dolan on us.

  • open the gates

    Or George Steinbrenner.