Some things change, but with the Atlanta Braves, some things remain constant.

A season after chasing down the New York Mets in August and September to win the 2022 NL East title by a tiebreaker on the final day, the Braves had no trouble handling New York in 2023. Last season, Atlanta went 10-3 versus the Metropolitans, with New York trailing by 7.5 games in mid-May before tearing it down at the deadline.

Over the summer, the Mets traded eight players off their major – roster, plus considerable cash, in exchange for stronger prospects. It bolstered the farm system, but the loss of major league talent led to New York’s 75-87 record, an astoundingly low performance given that the Mets had the largest payroll in baseball ever entering the 2023 season.

Have the Mets made enough changes this summer to re-enter the division race, or will they finish fourth again in 2024?

Manager Buck Showalter was replaced by Carlos Mendoza, while General Manager Billy Eppler was replaced by David Stearns.
Free agents: SP. Carlos Carrasco
Player opt-outs: none
Club option declined: None
Non-tendered: DH Daniel Vogelbach (RP) Trevor Gott, INF. Luis Guillorme, RP Jeffrey Brigham, RP Sam Coonrod

The veteran exodus, which began at the trade deadline last season, continued this summer. Only one of the six players that walked was under 30 years old: Luis Guillorme (29). (Notably, Guillorme was the first to sign elsewhere, agreeing to terms with the Braves shortly after the new year.)

The departures mean that there is apparently more playtime for some of the younger players, including former top prospects Brett Baty and Mark Vientos.

New York has been active expanding their upper levels and major league rosters, bringing in twelve players on minor league contracts and signing seven free agents. However, with the exception of Sean Manaea’s two-year contract (which has an opt-out after the first year), the Mets have mostly signed one-year contracts.

The issue is that New York has a lot of excellent prospects who aren’t quite ready yet. One-year contracts provide the team the flexibility to sell at the deadline and elevate prospects in their stead, subject to the competitiveness of the major league roster.

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