By RASHID MCDONALD
Special to the AmNews
Major League Baseball’s winter hot stove season, when trades and signings lay the foundation for teams’ aspirations, was sizzling for the Yankees and Mets. Completing record-breaking and impactful deals for the likes of Aaron Judge (Yankees) and Justin Verlander (Mets) also caused expectations to go up.
The MLB is now a little over two weeks into its spring training games, and questions remain for the two New York franchises that haven’t won a World Series title for a collective 51 years—37 for the Mets, who last won in 1986, and 14 for the Yankees, whose last World Series title was in 2009. Both are trying to balance youth and experience in what many followers view as a championship-or-bust season. They were in the postseason last year and have added, through trades and free agency, players that can help them reach their ultimate goal.
When Steve Cohen became the Mets’ majority owner in November 2020, he said this at his introductory presser: “One team wins the World Series every year, so that’s a pretty high bar. But if I don’t win a World Series in the next three to five years—I would like to make it sooner—then obviously I would consider that slightly disappointing. I’m not in this to be mediocre. I want something great.”
To accomplish greatness and sustain it, the Mets and Yankees would be wise to model the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. The latter have drafted and developed young players and also spent billions in the free agent market, while the Braves have been arguably the best organization at drafting, growing and keeping their young homegrown stars under team-friendly long-term contracts.
The Yankees’ talented youth include shortstops Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and versatile utility player Oswaldo Cabrera. All are highly rated prospects. For the Mets, third basemen Brett Baty and Mark Vientos; No. 1 overall MLB prospect Francisco Alverez; and Dominican Winter League MVP, shortstop Ronnie Mauricio, could at some point this season be key contributors.
If veterans Darin Ruf, Tommy Pham, and Omar Narvaez don’t consistently produce for the Mets, then the youngsters are likely to get opportunities. It’s a long baseball season, and the Mets and Yankees will continue to try and create a formula that will be the answer to their long World Series drought
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