2022 New York Mets: 3 Burning Questions Heading Into Spring Training

The past five seasons have been nothing but upheaval and disappointment for the New York Mets. Since appearing in the National League Wild Card game in 2016, the Mets have only had one winning season, and haven’t finished higher than third place. Problems on the field have been matched by turmoil in the clubhouse, front office and even at the ownership level. Especially the ownership level, with Steve Cohen making trouble with tweets.

The hope is that brining in Buck Showalter as manager will restore order and discipline throughout the organization. But all the clubhouse harmony in the world won’t help the Mets if their rotation of star pitchers can’t stay healthy. Here are three burning questions the Mets must answer to have a successful 2022 season, with Opening Day set for April 7.

Can the Mets get full seasons out of DeGrom and Scherzer?

The Mets made one of the biggest back-page splashes of the offseason by signing Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract in December, before the lockout took hold. But for all his immense talent, Scherzer confronts the same concerns that have enveloped the incumbent ace, Jacob DeGrom: Can he stay healthy for an entire season?

DeGrom prepares to make his return to the mound after being shut down in July with an elbow injury. Because of the lockout, the team was not been able to monitor DeGrom’s progress for the 99 days prior to last week’s signing of a new collective bargaining agreement, and now they’ll need to rush their ace through an abbreviated Spring Training with Opening Day less than four weeks away.

Scherzer has his own issues after missing the National League Championship Series for the Dodgers with a tired arm. If one or both of DeGrom and Scherzer miss significant portions of the season, the Mets’ chances of competing in the NL East are doomed.

The Mets did make a move to address their starting pitching depth by acquiring Chris Bassitt from the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, but even Bassitt has some question marks after being struck by line drive last season that required facial surgery.

Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco are two other pitchers who have a good chance to crack the rotation, with youngsters David Peterson and Tylor McGill also in the mix. But it’s all about DeGrom and Scherzer.

How does Buck Showalter impact the clubhouse vibe?

One thing that should be true about the Mets this season is the total lack of clubhouse shenanigans. Since his days running the ship in the nearby Bronx 20 years ago, Showalter commands deep respect, and his players have bought in and played hard for him. When the Padres were looking for their replacement for Jayce Tingler this offseason, Manny Machado campaigned for his former Baltimore Orioles manager Showalter. He had that kind of respect.

The Mets need discipline and focus, after years of Jared Porter, Mickey Callaway, and Jason Vargas causing all manners of discord within the organization. Having a no-nonsense leader with three Manager of the Year awards on his mantle should go a long way toward bringing back much-needed professionalism to the organization, especially if the owner stays off Twitter.

Can Eric Chavez get the underperforming hitters back on track?

J.D. Davis, who sounds like a player who will not be returning to the Mets this season, had some interesting comments for the New York Post last week about how the coaching staff dealt with information dissemination to the players.

“I think that is the biggest thing we have missed as the Mets,” Davis said. “Just the ability to go out and play baseball and [not] being ambushed with so much information.”

New hitting coach Eric Chavez will be tasked with streamlining the process and getting hitters back into a mindset of letting their natural talent take over in the batter’s box.

That could pay huge dividends for an offense that struggled mightily last season with the likes of Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto massively underperforming.

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