Finally, the end is just about here for the 2023 Mets, who will be released from their playing-out-the-string purgatory come Sunday evening. They have three games against the Marlins and three against the Phillies before heading into another offseason of — this might sound familiar — potentially transformative change.
Before they get there, though, they have to navigate this last week, which matters in a bunch of ways. Here is the lowdown on what to look for, and look forward to, during the final homestand.
Starling Marte probably will come back
Marte returning to something resembling his 2022 All-Star form would be a boon for the 2024 Mets and their aspirations to return to the playoffs. This season has been a lost one for Marte because of the groin surgery he had last offseason, but it’s not over yet. Manager Buck Showalter has spoken optimistically in recent days about Marte getting back on the field, including rightfield, before the schedule runs out.
Even if it is just for a couple of games, Marte’s return from the injured list would give the Mets more feedback about whether he might need another groin surgery. If he does, that would be a setback and raise major questions about his availability and ability next year. If he doesn’t, which has sounded more like the case lately as Marte has made progress physically, he and the Mets would get their preferred outcome.
The Mets planned to “reconvene,” as Showalter put it, about Marte’s week on Monday. Loose plans included a simulated game at Citi Field on Tuesday.
“He doesn’t have to play. I know he wants to,” Showalter said. “We’ll sit down. I’d like to talk to him too. I know Billy [Eppler, the general manager] would. Medically, he’s in a really good place.”
Also on the injury front, Francisco Alvarez (left middle finger contusion) and Brandon Nimmo (right leg/hip bruise) will look to get back on the field.
Francisco Lindor, Kodai Senga and Pete Alonso are approaching milestones
Players usually don’t talk about shooting for individual accomplishments. But at this time of year in a season like this, they allow themselves to indulge out loud a little.
Lindor has been open about his desire to finish off a 30 (homers), 30 (steals), 30 (doubles) season. He is three home runs away from getting there.
Senga has a 2.96 ERA with one start remaining in his rookie season, Wednesday against Miami. Statistically there barely is a difference, but a few points under 3.00 looks a lot better than a few points over 3.00.
“At this point in the season, yeah, it’s something I look into a little bit,” Senga said through an interpreter after his most recent outing. “I’d like to be under 3.00 if possible. But outings like today [six innings, two runs] really put that into risk. Hopefully next time I can get out there, go deeper into the game and keep that ERA under 3.00.”
Alonso needs one home run to tie and two to pass Howard Johnson for fourth on the Mets’ all-time list.
At 45, Alonso has a shot at 50, a nice, round number. Nimmo (career-high 24) and Alvarez (23 as a rookie) can get to half that.
This is their last chance to impact their draft lottery odds
Entering the week, the Mets held the eighth-worst record in the majors, which gave them approximately a 35% chance of winning a protected top-six draft pick via the lottery in December.
They could sneak up to seventh (47%) or even fifth (70%). If they win a lot, though, they could fall as far as 11th (14%).
The worse the Mets do, the better their chance of landing a premier pick. Remember: If they don’t get into the top six, the best they can do is 17th because they will get penalized for spending way over the luxury tax.
David Stearns is coming
OK, this technically will happen immediately after this homestand, but we’re going to count it.
Stearns will start as the Mets’ president of baseball operations, a newly created position above GM, upon the conclusion of the regular season. We’ll hear from him for the first time at his introductory news conference, which could come as soon as Monday — the day after the season ends — because teams usually squeeze that stuff in before the playoffs start (Tuesday). Then the real fun starts.