The New York Mets had an awful 2023 season and Steve Cohen made major changes to the organization to prevent another down year. The Mets owner hired David Stearns as the organization's first-ever President of Baseball Operations, and he decided to part ways with Buck Showalter right away.
New York also let go of their General Manager Billy Eppler, as he was caught up in the “phantom injured-list” drama. Stearns now has to search for a new manager and GM this offseason. Rumors are already circulating about potential candidates for both positions, but they’re not going to be the ones on the field affecting the game.
This offseason’s free agent class is loaded, headlined by the phenom Shohei Ohtani. This class will also feature some of the top pitchers in the MLB and even a prospect from Japan that could burst onto the scene in 2024.
New York isn’t going to sit back and accept another down season, which means Cohen will likely allow Stearns to use a surplus of funds. Even with the Atlanta Braves being a powerhouse in the National League East, the Mets could still claim a Wild Card spot.
They have talent on their roster already, as Pete Alonso is expected to come back as the team's first basemen after hitting 46 home runs. Francisco Lindor is also coming off a stellar season, Kodai Senga established himself as an ace, and Edwin Diaz will be returning from injury.
New York has the pieces to make a postseason in 2024, but they need more. With that being said, here are four free agents who the Mets should be all in on this offseason:
4. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, SP
In seven seasons in the NPB over in Japan, Yoshinobu Yamamoto held a 1.72 ERA. After becoming a starter in 2019 with the Orix Buffaloes, he was one of the most dominant starting pitchers in Japan.
Last offseason New York handed Senga a five-year deal, and it surely paid off. Senga attained a 2.98 ERA at the end of his rookie season. Across 11 seasons in the NPB, the Mets starter held a 2.42 ERA. If Yamamoto can translate his stuff over here similar to how Senga did, he could be one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball.
Almost every contending team will be in on the Yamamoto sweepstakes, as he’s starting to become one of the most highly coveted players on the open market this offseason.
The arsenal of pitches Yamamoto attains is legit, as he has a nasty splitter. He also averages a 94-95 mph fastball and even topped out at 99. The Japanese pitcher also has a lethal curveball.
No one knows how good Yamamoto can be in the MLB, but based on his history in the NPB he has the potential to be elite. The Mets succeed when they have a dominant pitching staff, and they need more than just Senga.
Signing Yamamoto would give New York another ace at the top of the rotation, and it wouldn't be the ace duos of previous seasons. Cohen put his faith in aging pitchers, but at just 25 years old, Yamamoto’s best days are still ahead.
With that being said, going after Yamamoto only makes sense for New York. If they were able to pull off a deal, they would certainly be in playoff contention for 2024.