The New York Mets have the highest payroll in MLB in 2023. And not only that; it’s also the highest payroll in the history of the sport.
Steve Cohen has eclipsed the $400 million mark in assembling this Mets roster, and with that comes the monumental expectations of winning a championship. It’s no wonder, then, that the team’s struggles into early May have been alarming.
Sitting under .500 in May is not what Cohen, nor GM Billy Eppler or manager Buck Showalter, had in mind for a team that entered the year off 101 regular-season wins in 2022, albeit with a disappointing early playoff exit at the hands of the San Diego Padres. But this is where the New York Mets are, and if things don’t change soon, they could be headed for a dubious distinction.
The 2023 New York Mets could become the new ‘worst team money can buy’
Justin Verlander has made just a couple of starts. Max Scherzer has dealt with a myriad of issues early this season, between sticky stuff and injuries. The rotation is decimated, forcing starts out of Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson, Tylor Megill and even Jose Butto in the early going. Edwin Diaz is out for the year. And a lineup flush with talent? Not hitting.
Could the Mets be the worst team money can buy? For now, it’s probably too early to make such a declaration. Nevertheless, this $400 million behemoth has work cut out for it.
The Atlanta Braves have pulled out to a sizable lead in the NL East, and they don’t intend to loosen their grip. The Philadelphia Phillies will factor into things as well, one would presume. The Mets also got handled by the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies, going just 1-5 in a six-game stretch against those non-contending teams, which is completely uninspiring and unacceptable. And not to mention, New York was swept by the cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals at home in April. The good news? The NL seems weak, so a run at a Wild Card spot is still quite possible.
Interestingly enough, however, the Mets have had this problem before. Back in 1992, New York baseball columist Bob Klapisch termed that year’s Mets team as the “Worst Team Money Could Buy”. And it sure was bad. Like this year, the Mets had baseball’s highest payroll and and a handful of star talents. The result? A disastrous campaign that resulted in a 72-90 record.
Granted, the infrastructure around the 2023 Mets seems much stronger given the presences of Cohen and Showalter. And those two have as much of a desire to win as anyone in baseball, so we’re not ready to wave the white flag on the Mets just yet. But if they don’t turn things around soon, perhaps another installment of the “Worst Team Money Could Buy” could be in order.