SEATTLE – The New York Mets and New York Yankees entered the 2023 MLB season with the top two payrolls in the league, with Steve Cohen’s whopping $348 million topping Hal Steinbrenner’s $279 million.
Aggression in the free agent market by both teams, highlighted by Justin Verlander joining Max Scherzer in the Mets’ rotation while the Yankees signed AL MVP Aaron Judge to a long term and brought in Carlos Rodon to his pitching staff, and the results of the 2022 season led many to believe another round of the Subway Series was coming.
Curtis Granderson, who played for both franchises in his career, thought so.
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«At the beginning of this year, I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to see a Subway Series?’ We’ll see,» Granderson told Fox News Digital at The Players’ Party hosted by the MLB Players’ Association, Lids and Topps.
But heading into the All-Star break, both teams are out of the postseason picture looking in. A situation no one thought would be the case after the Mets won 101 games last season and the Yankees won 99.
Of course, there’s still the entire second half of the season to play, plenty of time for both teams to make up the games they lost and make the postseason.
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But if Granderson had to guess which New York team won’t be representing their respective league in October, he knows the answer.
«If I’m choosing right now, then you have to date and time stamp it, you just have to see the probability of where everyone is,» Granderson prefaced. «I have to say the Mets just because, yeah, you’re close in the wild card, but you also have to see how far down the division standings. So I’ll have to say that.»
The Yankees just fell out of the third and final wild card spot before halftime as they sit a game behind their AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays for that spot.
The Mets, on the other hand, have been arguably the biggest disappointment of the first half. Having the highest payroll in MLB means wins will be plentiful.
Instead, they are 42-48 and sitting seven games away from a wild card berth. Worse yet, MLB’s best team by record, the 60-29 Atlanta Braves are 18.5 games ahead of the Mets in the NL East.
Again, things can change over the course of a 162-game MLB marathon. But the Mets have struggled to close out games, mostly due to untimely errors from the bullpen. The Mets have middle-of-the-pack hitting stats, including 405 total runs scored, which ranks 15th in the MLB. However, a run differential of minus 3 usually means games are not won.
But this isn’t bailing out the Yankees.
They’re the exact opposite of the Mets: Great pitching (seventh in overall ERA at 3.80) but lackluster at the plate. The Bronx Bombers haven’t lived up to that moniker, as they rank 21st in OPS (.710), 28th in average (.231) and 19th in runs scored (400).
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One of the main reasons this is the case is that Judge has been sidelined since June 3 after injuring his toe during a standout catch that saw him go through the Dodger Stadium fence. His slashing line of .291/.404/.674 with 19 home runs and 40 RBIs up to that point carried the offense.
Ever since he was on the shelf, the Yankees have relied on their pitching staff to maintain minimal leads.
But they’re better than the Mets right now with a 49-42 record, sitting eight games behind the Rays for the division lead.
As the saying goes: It’s not how you start, but how you end. That should be the mindset for these two teams heading into Friday, when baseball returns for what will be routine through October.
Because a Subway series isn’t out of the picture until the math adds up.
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«It’s still possible,» Granderson said with a glimmer of hope.