Mets 2021 holiday wish list, including Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon treated image

The Mets’ binge before the lockout kinda reminded us of that time we opened all our presents on Christmas Eve. But unlike that childhood idea that seems good at the time but is a little disappointing come Christmas morning, there may be more gifts under the blue-and-orange tree after baseball’s labor issues are settled and we’re back to the fun.

With that in mind, we’ve got a holiday wish list for the Mets. Buck Showalter has been introduced as the manager, so the braintrust is mostly in place behind owner Steve Cohen. The roster has tons of talent, but it could use some fine-tuning — perhaps another star, plus pitching.

Dear Steve, er, Santa:

NOT KRIS KRINGLE, THE OTHER KRIS

Max Scherzer was one heckuva “Wow” gift, the baseball version of a high-performance car, complete with giant red bow attached on top, parked in the driveway by Santa’s elves. But this club could probably use another big-ticket item.

How about signing Kris Bryant, who could see time at third base and in the outfield? He hit 25 homers last year between the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs and notched a 124 OPS-plus.

His defensive versatility is a huge plus and GM Billy Eppler seems to love the idea of creating oodles of depth around the diamond. Think about what their lineup would look like if Bryant were batting fifth. It makes too much sense.

ANOTHER STARTER (AT LEAST)

We love the top of that rotation with Jacob deGrom and Scherzer. We like the returns of Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. We’re hopeful about what Tylor Megill and David Peterson can offer at the back end. But that’s still not enough quality arms for the rigors of a season.

Sep 12, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Citi Field.

Sep 12, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Citi Field.

Showalter seems to know that, since he said at his intro press conference, “Billy and I hope to find five, six, seven starters.” That goal even seems light, considering the Mets used 19 starters last season, tied for the most in MLB and the second-most in club history (the Mets used 20 in 1967, a season never confused with the good old days).

Anyway, they passed on the reliable Marcus Stroman, who signed with the Chicago Cubs. How about adding Carlos Rodón? Yes, he’s an injury-risk (narrator’s voice: Most pitchers are these days). But it’s high-end lefty stuff.

He was fifth in voting for the AL Cy Young after going 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP for the Chicago White Sox last season. If not Rodón, perhaps Danny Duffy, Yusei Kikuchi, Zack Greinke, or old pal Collin McHugh? Or some combination?

PEN PALS

After his media Zoom conference on Tuesday, Showalter noted in an interview on SNY with Gary Apple, Andy Martino, and Anthony Recker that “nothing weighs on a team more” than blowing leads.

Strong relief, obviously, is a huge part of that, which is why the core of the bullpen – Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Miguel Castro – needs to be supplemented on the market.

Aug 31, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Citi Field.

Aug 31, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) delivers against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Citi Field.

The Mets need to wallpaper their pen with potential contributors. Here’s a few possibilities:

Ryan Tepera (0.88 WHIP in 65 appearances last year for the White Sox and Cubs), Andrew Chafin (1.83 ERA in 71 games for the Oakland A’s and the Cubs) and Joe Kelly (2.86 ERA in 48 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers). Lefty Brad Hand was on three teams last year, including the Mets, and had a 3.38 ERA in 57 games.

There are internal options, too – Drew Smith has had injury issues, but he pitched well last year (2.40 ERA in 31 games). It takes a lot of arms to get through a season. It’s worth noting this number, too – the Mets used 42 different pitchers overall last year, tying the MLB record for most in a single season.

A GOOD EXTERMINATOR

We won’t rehash the embarrassing “Rat-Raccoon” episode here. But that kind of stuff can’t happen again. If it does, yeesh. We have a feeling Showalter will handle this brand of nonsense and we won’t have to think about this or an imaginary friend named Donnie Stevenson ever again.

THE DESIGNATED HITTER

If the lawyers and killjoys doing battle in the MLB labor talks add the DH to the National League in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it’d certainly free up some at-bats for a Mets team that has some candidates for the job.

What, if anything, are they going to do with Robinson Canó? Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis could benefit from more swings, as well as Jeff McNeil.

Sep 19, 2020; New York City, New York, USA;New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (2) celebrates with second baseman Robinson Cano (24) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Sep 19, 2020; New York City, New York, USA;New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (2) celebrates with second baseman Robinson Cano (24) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

McNeil had a down 2021, but we think his bat-to-ball skills show potential for a nifty bounceback.

HEALTHY CHRISTMAS (AND BEYOND) TO JAKE

No one, not even Santa, can guarantee deGrom pitches a full year. But this is our holiday wish list and that’s what we want to see.

Last season, he did not pitch after July 7, so it’s fair to wonder about him. But, wow, deGrom and Scherzer in the same rotation? What if they combined to make 60-plus starts? Think of the Koufax-Drysdale stuff they’d get up to!

And imagine if both, healthy and thriving, are fronting the Mets’ rotation for the playoffs?

Make that “Merry October.”