Sunday night was one of the hardest nights in recent memory to be a Mets’ fan. From ineffective starting pitching to silent bats, the 2022 Mets went out with a whimper. And as devastating as that was for us Mets fans, it isn’t the end of the 2022 playoffs. There is still a lot of baseball to watch, and baseball is always better with rooting interests. So, we are going to examine the eight teams still in the playoffs and give you some items to consider when picking a (temporary) team.
Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers have ancestral roots in New York, and so in some ways make a perfect substitute for the Mets. They also won 111 games in an absolute juggernaut of a season, and are the model for how to mix scouting/development and a monster payroll to create a perpetual winner. Of all the teams left in the field, the Dodgers represent the ideal process for the Mets to follow. If that sort of thing gets you off, the Dodgers may be the team to root for over the remaining weeks of baseball.
Justin Turner: Claimed off of waivers by the Mets from the Orioles in 2010, Turner played parts of the 2010-2013 seasons with the Mets. Non-tendered by the team after to 2013 season, after which he became an All-Star, the NLCS MVP in 2017, and part of the 2020 championship team, while possibly spreading COVID-19 during a post-game celebration.
Kevin Pillar: One of the -illars of the 2021 Mets, Pillar was signed to a one-year, $3.6 million contract with options that were never picked up. A minor Mets’ folk hero for getting hit in the face by a Jacob Webb pitch and returning to the active roster just 14 days later. Signed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers after the 2021 season, Pillar only had 12 at-bats with the big league club before fracturing his shoulder and having his season ended on June 1.
Heath Hembree: Claimed off waivers from the Reds mid-season in 2021, Hembree made 15 appearances for the Mets. Hembree left the club after the 2021 season as a free agent. Hembree is not, currently, on the postseason roster.
San Diego Padres - My late father used to always say that the responsible thing to do in the playoffs is root for the team that beat yours. “You want to feel like your team was simply in the path of the best team. Would you rather your team had been beaten in a fluke by a bad team?” It’s tough logic to argue with, but I don’t know if I can ever see Joe Musgrove’s shiny ear or Trent Grishom again without wanting to puke.
Brandon Drury: Signed with the Mets as a minor-league free agent before the 2021 season, where he appeared in 51 games. After being DFA’d by the Mets in October, signed a minor-league deal with the Reds in late March 2022. While having a breakout season with the Reds, was traded to the Padres on August 2nd for Victor Acosta.
Bob Melvin: A scout for the Mets in the 2010 season, Melvin is in his first year as the Padres manager, having previously managed the Mariners, Diamondbacks, and Athletics.
Atlanta Braves - If you’e looking to abdicate all responsibility for the way the Mets played over the last five weeks or so, an easy way to do so is to say something like “The Mets didn’t lose the division, the Braves simply won it.” If that helps you sleep at night, you might as well go all in on the Braves to continue that narrative. That said, fuck the Braves forever, so this is probably the last thing you want to do.
Travis d’Arnaud: Acquired from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade, d’Arnaud caught for the club in parts of the 2013-2019 seasons. In one of the worst moves of recent memory, the team DFA’d d’Arnaud in April of 2019. Since signing in 2020, he has been remarkably good for the Braves, winning a Silver Slugger award, a World Championship, and going to the 2022 All-Star Game.
Collin McHugh: Drafted in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, McHugh made 11 appearances with the club over parts of two seasons, before being traded to the Rockies for Eric Young, Jr. McHugh signed a two-year deal with the Braves ahead of the 2022 season.
Guillermo Heredia: Appeared in seven games for the Mets in late 2020 after he was claimed off of waivers from the Pirates. Claimed off waives by the Braves before the 2021 season.
Darren O’Day: A Rule 5 Draft pick before the 2009 season, he was DFA’d just two weeks into the season to make room for Nelson Figueroa in a terribly short-sighted move. Currently on the IL since July.
Philadelphia Phillies - LOL.
Zack Wheeler: A mid-season acquisition from the Giants in 2011 for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler was one of Sandy Alderson’s great successes as a GM. He was a good to very good pitcher for the club through the 2019 season, after which he elected free agency and signed with the Phillies.
Noah Syndergaard: Acquired in the same trade that brought the club Travis d’Arnaud, Syndergaard pitched for the Mets from 2015-2021, missing all of the 2020 and all but two innings in 2021 due to Tommy John Surgery. Signed a one-year deal with the Angels in the 2021 offseason, and was traded to Philadelphia for Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez in August.
Brad Hand: Claimed off waivers in September 2021, Hand made 16 appearances for the club, where he let five of six inherited runners score. He signed as a free-agent with the Phillies in the offseason.
Kevin Long: The Mets’ hitting coach for the 2015-2017 seasons, Long worked for the Nationals from 2018-2021 before signing with the Phillies ahead of this season.
New York Yankees - As anathema as it may be for some Mets fans to root for the Yankees, there is a certain logic to wanting to see a championship come back to New York. It seems likely that all of us have Yankee fans in our lives as well, and would maybe want them to feel some satisfaction...yeah, I didn’t think so.
Miguel Castro: Castro was traded to the Mets in August of 2020 for Kevin Smith and Victor Gonzalez. While he had ups and downs as a Met, his stuff clearly played in the big leagues when his control was solid. Was traded to the Yankees for Joely Rodriguez on April 3, 2022.
Luis Rojas: Hired by the Mets in 2007, Rojas - the son of Felipe Alou and brother of former Met Moises Alou - worked all over the Mets’ system until 2020, when he was named manager after the dismissal of Carlos Beltrán for his role in the Astros’ cheating scandal. Rojas managed the Mets for two seasons before being dismissed after the 2021 season. Less than six weeks after his firing, he was hired by the Yankees as their third base coach.
Houston Astros - The Astros cheated their way to a championship, and then had the gaul to continue to have a solid system in place and keep winning. What nerve! Even if you agree that their uniforms are pretty great and their process seems thoroughly logical, I find it very hard to root for this team.
Rafael Montero: After signing as an international free agent in 2011, Montero was considered a serious prospect for the Mets, making our Top 25 prospect lists in 2012 (22), 2013 (8), 2014 (3), and 2015 (6). He struggled in his appearances in the big leagues for the Mets, and elected free agency after the 2018 season. After stints with the Rangers and Mariners, Montero had his best professional season in 2022 with the Astros, acting as a key member of their bullpen.
Cleveland Guardians - We all must applaud Cleveland for dropping its problematic name and rebranding themselves in a thoroughly boring way (all hail the Spiders!). But it is also fun to root for a team that is so young and hungry. After losing in the 2016 World Series, the team hadn’t won a playoff series since, getting bounced in the first round and/or play-in game in 2017, 2018, and 2020. They’re a fun team without a single truly hatable player.
Andrés Giménez: Signed as an international free agent in 2015, Giménez was a top prospect for the club before debuting in the 2020 season. He garnered a single Rookie of the Year vote before being traded, alongside Amed Rosario, Josh Wolf, and Isaiah Greene to Cleveland for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Giménez has had a great 2022 season for the Guardians playing mostly second base, including being named to his first All-Star Team.
Amed Rosario: An international free agent signing in 2012, Rosario made his MLB debut in 2017. Never quite the defensive specialist, Rosario struggled in the field, but hit respectably for a middle infielder over his four seasons with the Mets. He has played the bulk of shortstop for the Guardians in 2022.
Sandy Alomar, Jr: In his last big league season, Alomar appeared in eight games for the 2007 Mets. He was also the Mets’ catching instructor for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He has been the first base coach for Cleveland since 2014, and has been on their staff since 2010.
Seattle Mariners - The Mariners broke a 21 year playoff drought to get into the Wild Card series, and swept the Blue Jays to win just their fourth playoff series in franchise history. In my house, once the Mets are out, we usually root for the team that hasn’t been to the dance in the longest time. Since the Mariners have never won, or played in a World Series, they are the clear underdog choice. But if you’re looking to pick a team that has a chance of winning it all, Seattle may not be the best choice. If you’re in it for the story though, there’s no better story left than the M’s.
Jared Kelenic: Mets’ first round draft pick in 2018, Kelenic was traded to the Mariners as part of the Edwin Díaz/Robinson Cano trade. He has been largely ineffective in his MLB career.
Paul Sewald: The Mets’ tenth round draft pick in 2012, Sewald was on the MLB roster for parts of 2017-2020 seasons and wasnon-tendered after 2020 season. He has since become the closer for the M’s, and also holds a weird grudge against Mets fans. Who can blame him, honestly?
Chris Flexen: Mets’ 14th round draft pick in 2012, Flexen made appearances for the Mets in 2017 and 2018;. He signed with the KBO Doosan Bears in 2019 where he reinvented his career before coming back to MLB with the Mariners. (Not on the WCS roster)
Sam Haggerty: Haggerty was traded to the Mets along with Walker Lockett for Kevin Plawecki before the 2019 season, where he made 11 appearances for the Mets. Claimed off waives in January 2020 by the Mariners, Haggerty was in the midst of his best season in every category before injuring his groin in the final regular season series of the year against the Tigers. He’s unlikely to return to the active roster until 2023.
Manny Acta: Acta was the Mets’ third base coach from 2005-2007. He has held the same role for the Mariners since 2016.
Who are you rooting for now that the Mets were eliminated from the playoffs?
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