With the acquisition of reigning Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer, it seems as though the Los Angeles Dodgers aren't just going to be the frontrunners in the National League, but in all of Major League Baseball.
In a 3-year, $102 million deal, the Dodgers signed Bauer on Friday to bolster an already elite rotation that boasts the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, and David Price. This pitching supports the firepower bats of Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager.
Prior to the blockbuster signing, things looked to be trending in the right direction for the New York Mets to become the next team to beat in the National League. The Wilpons were bought out as owners by billionaire Steve Cohen and Cohen proceeded to acquire Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, and James McCann.
Since Cohen's reign began, the road ahead of the Metropolitans has only gotten tougher, so let's take a look and see how the team from Queens matches up better against the defending World Series champions better than you may think.
Prior to the Bauer signing, there was an argument to be had that the Mets had the best rotation in baseball. A rotation that is anchored by the best pitcher in baseball in Jacob DeGrom, and a promising young prospect in David Peterson, reacquired Marcus Stroman and added Carlos Carrasco and Joey Lucchiesi only to be even further reinforced when Noah Syndergaard returns from his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.
However, with the Dodgers already stellar rotation being reinforced with the likes of Bauer, the Mets look to be a few steps behind when it comes to starting pitching power.
The New York Mets' offensive firepower is criminally underrated. A team with 2019 Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto, a consistent hitting machine Jeff McNeil, and Astros-reject-turned-.300-hitter JD Davis, the lineup inhabiting Citi Field is not one to scoff at.
The team led the MLB in batting average and was within the top 5 in the league in SLG (Slugging Percentage), OBP (On-Base Percentage), and OPS (On-base Plus Slugging). Pair that with the additions of arguably the best shortstop and second-best catcher in baseball, the Mets are looking like they will terrorize NL East pitching in 2021.
Meanwhile, at Dodger Stadium, Betts is one of, if not the best pure hitter in the game, and Bellinger has had a stellar start to his young career. Seager is one of the strongest shortstops in the sport and Max Muncy deserves to be in discussion as one of the top power-hitting first basemen. If the Dodgers can dish out the money to bring back Justin Turner for third base, a player who has consistently been at the top of the sport in terms of batting average, they will definitely have a lineup to rival the Mets.
Both the Mets and Dodgers made key acquisitions to bolster their bullpens this winter. The offseason saw Trevor May make stops in New York, while former Yankee Tommy Kahnle was shipped out to Hollywood.
The Mets bullpen already features the likes of 2018 Reliever of the Year Edwin Diaz, the team's former closer Jeurys Familia, former Yankee Dellin Betances, and one of the top middle relievers in baseball in Seth Lugo.
As for Los Angeles, Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly are veteran presences who can still perform at high levels, Blake Treinen pitched to an 0.88 WHIP in 2020, and Brusdar Graterol is one of the most promising young relievers in the game.
When it comes down to bullpen strength, the Dodgers have the slight edge only due to their recent World Series experience, but their advantage is marginal.
It is safe to say that the Dodgers have the "Best Team in the NL" title pretty much on l
ockdown. However, with the new ownership and the moves the team has made this offseason, they aren't as far behind them as you may think.