Sitting at 25-25 heading into Thursday, it’s hard not to be disappointed with the state of the Mets.
Steve Cohen has put together the most expensive, star-studded roster in MLB, and the Mets have a .500 record to show for it.
Well, I’ve got bad news: I think it might get worse.
In this space, I recently wrote about Pete Alonso’s MVP chances.
I still believe he has value in the NL MVP market at such a ludicrous number (+1300), but that doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in the team (Bryce Harper won the award a few years ago, yet the Phillies missed the playoffs).
While the Mets were at .500 after 50 games, they also had a minus-21 run differential and a 23-27 Pythagorean record.
Combine that with their 11-7 record in one-run games, and the Mets are due for some extra regression losses.
Well, those losses might be coming sooner rather than later, as the Mets are about to embark on the hardest six-week stretch of their 2023 schedule.
They visit the Rockies over the weekend, but seven of their subsequent 13 series come against current playoff teams.
The other six sets are against the hard-hitting Blue Jays, the red-hot Cardinals, the undervalued Padres, the pesky Giants and the rival Phillies (twice).
The next time the Mets play a truly “bad” team will be in mid-July, when they host the White Sox (at least by my betting power ratings).
As a result, the Mets have the toughest remaining strength of schedule in the NL East by opposing win percentage (.509), and their most challenging matchups are coming in the immediate future.
I’m also worried about the Mets’ pitching staff.
The rotation is old, fragile and lacks depth.
Kodai Senga is quickly regressing, Tylor Megill’s batted-ball profile is a mess, Carlos Carrasco is a gas can, and I have zero trust in David Peterson or Joey Lucchesi.
There are also no solid pitching prospects at Triple-A Syracuse — outside of maybe Jose Butto, whose most recent appearance for the Mets came out of the bullpen May 3.
Help doesn’t seem to be on the way.
That bullpen has also been struggling in recent weeks, as the Mets rank second-to-last in reliever expected FIP over the past two weeks (5.09).
It’s hard to trust this unit without Edwin Diaz, who is still on the 60-day.
If either Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer gets hurt, especially during this brutal stretch, the wheels could fall off this thing.
So, what does this ultimately mean?
It means the time to sell the Mets is now.
Betting on Baseball?
Not only am I looking to fade them on a game-by-game basis during the stretch, but their overall value in the futures markets will likely tank after the dust settles (i.e., their divisional, pennant and World Series odds might skyrocket).
It’s tough to find a precise way to fade the Mets in the futures markets, mostly because you can’t bet the Braves to win the NL East at -500.
Nevertheless, you can get a good plus-money price on the Mets to miss the playoffs.
The best price I saw on the current market for that wager was (+150), and I’m willing to bet those odds drop precipitously in the coming weeks, making it an excellent value bet.
Ironically, we might be at the peak of the market on the Mets, at least in the short term.
Keep that in mind when handicapping the team moving forward.