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Disastrous. That’s one word many would use to describe the trainwreck that has been the 2023 New York Mets thus far. Despite lofty expectations heading into the season, Buck Showalter’s squad has been an unmitigated disaster up to this point, and things are only unraveling more. Coming into the season, many fans across the league expected New York to be a surefire playoff team in a tough National League. With notable offseason acquisitions such as Brooks Raley and Justin Verlander, there was no reason to believe the team could not replicate their success from last season and possibly challenge Atlanta for the NL East crown. There’s no denying that winning 100 games in consecutive seasons is a challenging feat, but this Mets team is filled with talent from top to bottom. However, the team sits at a disappointing 42–48 at the all-star break, 12–21 in its last 33 contests.

After a promising 14–7 start to the year which saw the Metropolitans win a series against the Dodgers in Southern California, things have spiraled out of control. Most notably, New York was swept by the archrival Braves in a pivotal early June three-game series that could have pushed their season in the right direction. Instead, it was completely emblematic of the Mets’ season so far, as they surrendered three consecutive three-run leads for the first time in franchise history. It was flat out embarrassing and a pitiful look for owner Steve Cohen and the front office. While there have been many factors for the Mets' lack of success in 2023, things stem from the top with manager Buck Showalter. Night in and night out, Showalter has shown a lack of accountability and poor game management. Furthermore, the team’s pitching has been a massive letdown, with veterans Verlander and Max Scherzer struggling mightily at times.

Now we’ll take a deep dive into the key reasons for New York’s struggles in 2023.

It Starts at the Top: Billy Eppler

After Eppler was hired as general manager amid a chaotic 2021 offseason, there were many skeptics of the hire. At times in the 2022 season, his moves played a huge role in the team’s turnaround. However, 2023 has been a complete nightmare. The Mets' two most glaring issues last season were the lack of a bonafide designated hitter and reliable bullpen arms. Eppler did almost nothing to address those concerns this offseason. Even though he added David Robertson and Brooks Raley, two formidable arms that have made their impacts felt so far this year, Eppler’s reluctance to add better depth to the bullpen has hurt the team. For instance, the Mets trotting out Dominic Leone and Drew Smith as upper-echelon bullpen options is not a recipe for success. Smith holds a 4.30 ERA as of now; not terrible, but he certainly cannot be the third most relied-upon option on a contending ballclub.

Despite lackluster production from DH Daniel Vogelbach, New York’s general manager has been hesitant to move him, though his recent lack of play time suggests a trade may be on the horizon. Vogelbach was clearly not a sufficient DH option heading into the season. With options such as Jorge Soler on the table, it was mind-numbing for Eppler to settle with Vogelbach. While regression from Starling Marte and Mark Canha wasn’t totally out of the question coming into the season, it was unlikely they would both be liabilities in the lineup at times. Not only has Marte often looked out of sync at the plate, but his defensive regression in the outfield also cannot be overlooked either. Though not all of the blame should be placed on Eppler here, it was still quite a risky signing last off-season with him not getting any younger.

Consistent Managerial Failures: Buck Showalter’s Issues

Although many fans were skeptical of the Showalter hire at first, he proved many doubters including myself wrong last season, as he was awarded the 2022 National League Manager of the Year Award. Showalter had the team prepared and ready to take on any challenge that presented itself. The grit, passion, and enthusiasm he brought to the table were on full display in their comeback wins against the Phillies and Cardinals. However, things have only soured following an early playoff exit, leaving Met fans with plenty of questions about the skipper’s future in the Big Apple.

First things first, the 2023 Mets are consistently unprepared, lack the basic fundamentals of a baseball team, and cannot hold a lead to save their lives. They make some of the sloppiest and most careless errors imaginable. Whether it’s an errant throw across the diamond or an easily dropped pop-up, the 2023 Mets keep shooting themselves in the foot. Though the players must be held accountable for poor performances, it’s the manager’s job to ensure everyone is on the same page and no out-of-the-ordinary plays occur. This has simply not been the case with the Mets.

Offensive Regression:

Even though New York’s offense has found its footing over the past week, the struggles of key players such as Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte are concerning. Following the best year of his career, in which he took home the National League batting title, McNeil’s impatience and regression in the batter’s box has had a detrimental effect on the Mets lineup. More specifically, his current OPS of just .659 is down from .836 last season, a large reason for the inconsistencies of this lineup. McNeil’s 2023 has been one to toss in your neighbor’s trash can, but he has proven to be a relentless and hard-working player in the past, giving hope that he can turn things around after the All-star break.

On the flip side, Met fans could potentially be seeing the last of Marte in orange and blue. Although the former all-star and veteran did a sufficient job in 2022, he simply hasn’t moved the needle enough in 2023. While his batting average of .256 isn’t terrible, his inability to deliver in critical situations has been alarming. For instance, he’s grounded into three double plays where the team had the bases loaded. With Marte now in his mid-30s, Eppler will most likely attempt to trade him at the season’s end, or even the deadline. However, the odds that New York would be able to fetch a solid return for him are quite low. Following a stellar 2022 campaign, many expected Marte to assert himself as a staple for a Mets lineup ready to compete with the best of the bunch. Ultimately, his locker-room presence hasn’t been nearly enough to make up for his lackluster performance at the dish, and New York will desperately need him to step up in order to make a second-half run.

Pitching Woes:

The core problem with the 2023 Mets stems from the pitching staff, both the starting rotation and bullpen. In past years New York has had Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, and more. The glory and hope of a “dream rotation” quickly sputtered, ast the rotation has become a revolving door over the past few years. In 2021 and 2022, deGrom and others anchored a rotation that was a top-five unit in all of baseball. However, the 2023 staff, though different in many ways, has been supremely disappointing. Young pitchers such as Tylor Megill and David Peterson have yet to hit their stride despite showing flashes of potential a year ago. It’s gotten to a point where both were even sent down to the Mets’ AAA affiliate for some time, though Peterson was recently called back up. From the disastrous bullpen to the meltdowns of former aces such as Max Scherzer, New York’s pitching staff is a clear liability at the moment.

When a general manager invests nearly $80 million into two future hall-of-fame pitchers, the expectation is typical that they will elevate the team’s rotation. When the Mets inked former Astro and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to a deal north of $40 million this offseason, he was expected to fill the void that deGrom left and propel the team to new heights. However, to say he’s been disappointing would be an understatement, as Verlander has yet to fully find his groove, giving up more than six runs in multiple starts, virtually unheard of for a pitcher of his caliber. Recently, Verlander was booed off the field during a home start, a testament to how lackluster his season has been by the standards of a pitcher making that much money. In addition to his struggles, Max Scherzer has been a shell of his former self. While glimpses of his Cy Young and even 2022 self haven’t totally vanished, they are few and far between, as father time seems to be catching up with him.

The Worst Team Money Could Buy: Recap

The common theme of the 2023 Mets seems to be “one step forward, two steps back.” Whenever New York seems to get going, mental mistakes and pitching meltdowns steer the team in the wrong direction. With the latter half of the year on the horizon, it’s practically now-or-never for the Metropolitans, as they are seven games behind the third wild card spot, a tough deficit to overcome. Having the highest payroll in the sport is a coveted privilege, one the team and the front office has not taken advantage of efficiently whatsoever. At this rate, it’s more likely than not that the Mets will “sell” at the trade deadline, rather than gear up for a potential playoff push. Though the season is far from over, the clock is ticking for New York, and the Amazin’s must have magic up their sleeves to turn their season around.

New York Mets First Half Player Grades:


Max Scherzer: D

Justin Verlander: C-

Kodai Senga: A-

Carlos Carrasco: D+

David Peterson: D

Tylor Megill: D

Brooks Raley: B+

David Robertson: A

Dominic Leone: C-

Jeff Brigham: F

Drew Smith: C

Adam Ottavino: C-


Jeff McNeil: D-

Pete Alonso: C-

Francisco Lindor: A-

Brandon Nimmo: A-

Brett Baty: B

Mark Canha: C

Starling Marte: D

Francisco Alvarez: A

Daniel Vogelbach: D-

Tommy Pham: A+