The New York Mets have the lowest-scoring offense in the majors in 2021, but thanks in part to the poor performance of their division rivals and a historic career from their ace, Jacob deGrom, they entered July in first place in the East Division. of the National League.
The New York Yankees? They, too, have spent much of the season among the worst offensive teams in the game. And while they started this month with a winning record, they have also been battling the Toronto Blue Jays for third place in the AL East rather than being at the top of the division with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. as they were expected to do this year. With the trade deadline looming, that has put pressure on his general manager, Brian Cashman, who admitted last week: “We suck right now.”
With the two teams reunited on Major League Sunday (7 ET on ESPN; Statcast edition on ESPN2) in an Independence Day clash on the Subway Series, we asked ESPN baseball writers Joon Lee and Marly Rivera to give their opinion on the state of the teams in the Big Apple. What have we seen so far, what could happen at the trade deadline, and how far can these teams ultimately go?
How would you rate the Mets season so far?
Read: B. The Mets finished June in first place, but given the team’s ups and downs this season, I’m not really sure they’ll be there at the end of September. In his presentation to New York fans, Francisco Lindor appeared on the plate as a shell of his Cleveland self. For the Mets to win the division, their offense will need a lot more top-down consistency.
Rivera: B-less. The Mets’ 2021 season has been very inconsistent. But fortunately for any team with aspirations to win the NL East, inconsistency has plagued the entire division. Steve Cohen’s portfolio helped the Mets put together one of the most comprehensive lineups, on paper, in recent franchise history. While that offense has been devastated by inconsistency and injuries, pitching has more than made up for it. Most important to the Mets is that they are back to being an organization that relies on solid starting pitching.
How would you rate the Yankees season so far?
Read: C-minus, but falling day by day. This team reminds me a lot of the 2019 Boston Red Sox, a team (coming off a World Series championship) that was really talented on paper, but when you looked at them on the field, something just felt wrong. The Yankees routinely make mistakes on the fundamentals, either on defense or on the bases. General manager Brian Cashman bluntly assessed the team as “as bad as we can be,” and he might be running out of time to get out of his hole. The 2021 Yankees seem to be stuck in one of the most feared places for a baseball team: a .500 team that inspires hope one week and frustration the next.
Rivera: C-minus. The Yankees had a lot of questions heading into the 2021 season, but none of them had to do with their offense. A lineup that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu should never have a problem scoring. However, racing has been a rare commodity for the Bombers, who have not deserved that nickname. The Yankees are a (painfully) slow, dexterous, and powerful team designed to do one thing. And they are not doing well at the moment. Surprisingly, the rotation of “Gerrit Cole and the rest” has done as good a job as could be expected after Corey Kluber’s injury and continues to be supported by one of the game’s leading relief corps, despite recent injuries. and you fight.
Which players could the Mets target at the trade deadline to keep up in the NL East?
Read: The Mets could use a little help on the pitching side as Carlos Carrasco’s return remains confusing and there have been delays in Noah Syndergaard’s rehab process from Tommy John surgery. Maybe someone like Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray could project as an adjustment. A more ambitious acquisition could be a player like the Minnesota Twins’ Jose Berrios, who still has a year of refereeing eligibility after the 2021 season.
Rivera: The Mets are sadly lacking in power. A versatile player with a solid bat would strengthen a lineup that has lagged behind in most offensive categories, and a player like Ketel Marte, Starling Marte or Gregory Polanco could fit the bill. The Mets could also be low buyers on the pitching side, as Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco suffered setbacks on their return from their respective injuries. The Mets should be involved in bidding for the most varied names in starting pitching, like Detroit’s Matthew Boyd and Minnesota’s Michael Pineda.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is in the hot seat in New York. Do you expect him to make a big impact on the trade deadline?
Read: I’m not sure I agree that Brian Cashman is on the hot bench in New York. Firing Cashman shortly after he was hailed as one of the smartest general managers in the game in recent years along with a rundown of four World Series titles seems like an overreaction. That said, time is running out for the Yankees to do something to improve now, as they are further behind the Rays and Red Sox in the division rankings. I’m not sure a move will completely change the outlook for this team, which currently has so many minor leaks at its base that a single trade for a pitcher or other bat feels like patching up a bigger problem.
Rivera: As owner Hal Steinbrenner told us Thursday, the Yankees still have full faith in Cashman, the team’s general manager since 1998. When it came to blaming his poor season, Steinbrenner pointed directly to his bench, not manager Aaron Boone or members of his coaching staff but the players. Steinbrenner was very blunt in pointing out the players currently on the team as the ones who need to act together. If the Yankees miss the playoffs, Boone may not manage the club next year, but I hope Cashman will at least finish his five-year contract extension, which runs through the 2022 season. And, looking forward to one year. In the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) there is no one Steinbrenner would rather have on his side than the man he still considers one of the best in the game.
Which New York team will go the furthest this October?
Read: I’m going with the Mets, mainly because I think they have a much better chance of making the playoffs. I’m still not convinced that any of New York’s teams will make the postseason, given the inconsistency across the board in the NL East. If the Braves, Phillies or Nationals have a hot streak, they could start to create some space with the rest of the division. The mountain the Yankees must climb to make the playoffs gets steeper by the day, given that they are also shoulder-to-shoulder with the Blue Jays in the standings and the Red Sox and Rays have been very consistent.
Rivera: Reluctantly, I will pick the Yankees. If the Yankees reinforce their outfield and / or starting pitchers by the trade deadline and win back Luis Severino and Corey Kluber, they will have a chance to reach the postseason as one of the four “imperfect teams in the AL East.” described last week by Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Cora was referring to the fact that no team in the division is far above the rest. The AL East is like a “Survivors” season. I believe the Yankees will survive on sheer talent (and will benefit from not having to face one of the best in the game in Tyler Glasnow). And if we subscribe to this theory, no other lineup is more “due” than the Yankees. Let me be very clear, I think the Mets will make the playoffs. I just don’t think they make it to the championship series, which I think the Yankees can reach in what will likely be a much weaker playoff field in the American League.