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New York Mets’ 2021 Year in Review

The New York Mets’ 2021 season wasn’t a great one as the team managed to squander 90 days in first place to finish below .500 and miss the postseason. Adding insult to injury, the Mets saw the Atlanta Braves win the National League East with just 88 wins and ride the momentum of their hot finish all the way to a World Series title. 2021 was certainly eventful for the Mets and as the year concludes today let’s look at some of the top stories of the calendar year for the boys in Orange and Blue.

January 7-The Mets Trade For Francisco Lindor

Steve Cohen kicked off the new year with a bang by acquiring superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians for a package of four players headlined by shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez. The move marks the true arrival of the Mets as a big market player under Cohen.

January 19-Jared Porter is fired

The Mets had to deal with an embarrassing situation when an ESPN report emerged that new GM Jared Porter had sent sexually explicit text messages to a reporter for years. The messages were disturbing and Cohen had no choice but to fire Porter, with assistant GM Zack Scott assuming Porter’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

March 31-Francisco Lindor signs a contract extension

The Mets and Lindor concluded a wild negotiation by agreeing to a 10-year, $341 million contract right before Opening Day. The contract was by far the largest in franchise history and secured the services of the All-Star shortstop for the long term, offering good news to Mets’ fans who had to wait another four days for their season to start after the opening series was postponed due to a COVID outbreak from the Washington Nationals.

May 8-The rat or raccoon incident

There was a lot of drama with the Mets early in the season with the capper being an altercation in the tunnel of the Mets’ dugout between Lindor and Jeff McNeil. The pair tried to spin the situation as an argument about whether they saw a rat or a raccoon in the tunnel but later reports revealed that the fight was over defensive positioning.

July 7-Mets split key doubleheader with Milwaukee Brewers

A rainout forced the Mets to play a doubleheader against the Brewers and they secured a split against the eventual NL Central champions. Fans didn’t realize at the time that this would mark Jacob deGrom’s final regular-season start due to elbow soreness that lingered for the final few months of the season.

July 11-Mets blow huge lead to Pittsburgh Pirates to wrap first half

The Mets tried to go the bullpen day route to end the first half but saw a 5-run lead evaporate late in a brutal loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The defeat means the Mets end the first half at 47-40 with a sizeable lead in the NL East.

July 12-Pete Alonso wins the Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso put on a show for the fans in Denver, racking up 74 home runs to win his second consecutive Home Run Derby at Coors Field. The performance leads Alonso to declare that he is the best power hitter in the game.

July 30-The Mets trade for Javier Baez

The fading Mets make one big swing at the trade deadline, landing infielder Javier Baez and starting pitcher Trevor Williams from the Chicago Cubs for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong. The Mets fail to secure more starting pitching help or bullpen help, a problematic development after dropping 3 of 5 to the Braves in the series prior to the deadline.

August 1-The Mets fail to sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker

The Mets looked like they had a diamond fall into their laps when Kumar Rocker was available with the 10th pick in the MLB draft in July but the team failed to sign him due to concerns over his medicals. The end result is the Mets receive an extra first-round pick in the 2022 draft but also add some embarrassment from the failure of this move.

August 7-The Mets fall out of first place

The summer swoon continued for the Mets as they lose the opener of a weekend series in Philadelphia to drop out of first place for the first time since May. The Phillies would go on to sweep the Mets, who never regained first place for the remainder of the season.

August 29-The thumbs down incident

Baez makes headlines after a game by telling the media that a recent thumbs-down celebration featured by players like himself, Lindor and Kevin Pillar was the team’s way to “boo” the fans for being too critical of the Mets’ poor play. The incident creates a ton of controversy, forcing public apologies from the Mets to the fan base.

September 1-Zack Scott arrested for DWI

Another embarrassing off-field incident saw Scott, who was the interim GM in place of the previously fired Porter, get arrested for driving while intoxicated. Scott had attended a charity function at Cohen’s house prior to getting behind the wheel.

September 12-Francisco Lindor hits three homers against the Yankees

Lindor finally has his welcome to New York moment with a three-homer performance in a win against the hated Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball. The win is one of the few highlights of the Mets’ final month of the season.

September 28-Noah Syndergaard finally returns to the mound

After nearly two years on the sidelines due to Tommy John surgery, Noah Syndergaard makes his triumphant return to the mound at Citi Field. Syndergaard works a scoreless inning against the Miami Marlins, striking out a pair with nine of his ten pitches going for strikes.

October 4-Luis Rojas is let go

The fall guy for the Mets’ failures was manager Luis Rojas, whose team option was not picked up after two tumultuous seasons. Rojas leaves the only organization he has ever known to become the third base coach on Aaron Boone’s staff with the Yankees.

November 16-The Mets hire Billy Eppler as their next GM

After spending nearly six weeks trying to find a new General Manager, the Mets land on former Angels’ GM Billy Eppler to succeed Scott and Porter. Eppler receives a four-year deal to help lead the Mets’ front office into the future.

November 17-Noah Syndergaard bolts for the Angels

Syndergaard spurns a qualifying offer from the Mets to sign a one-year, $21 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He won’t be the only Met to head to Orange County with Aaron Loup leaving for a two-year deal in the following days.

November 25-The Mets go Black Friday shopping in style

Days after getting spurned by Steven Matz in free agency, Cohen opens his checkbook with a trio of position player additions, landing Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha on two-year deals while signing Starling Marte to a four-year contract. The moves help the Mets redefine an offensive core that had become stale over the past few years.

December 1-The Mets sign Max Scherzer

In what could go down as a franchise-altering move, the Mets splurge again by landing Max Scherzer for a three-year deal worth $130 million just prior to the start of the lockout. Scherzer gives the Mets the best 1-2 punch in baseball to go with deGrom.

December 18-The Mets hire Buck Showalter as their new manager

The lockout doesn’t stop the Mets from hiring a manager as they land Buck Showalter to succeed Rojas as their skipper. Showalter brings instant credibility and leadership to a franchise in desperate need of it.

What could the Mets do for an encore in 2022? We’ll be eager to find out.

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