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Know your enemy: New York Mets

The Mets are very different in 2021. Will they be better?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

KEY ADDITIONS: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, Joey Lucchesi, James McCann, Mike Montgomery, Tommy Hunter, Jonathan Villar, Albert Almora Jr., Robel Garcia, Jose Martinez, Aaron Loup, Jerad Eickhoff, Arodys Vizcaino, Steve Cohen

KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Steven Matz, Paul Sewald, Chasen Shreve, Amed Rosario

You’ll note the name of a non-player in the “key additions” section — Steve Cohen. He’s the new owner of the Mets, an unabashed Mets fan who’s also a billionaire. Cohen has begun to spend money and wants not only to compete in the NL East, but with the Yankees in New York.

That’s a tall order. The Mets made the World Series in 2015, but have been mired in mediocrity since then.

Now, especially with the acquisition of Francisco Lindor, they’re going to try to change that. If they can’t sign Lindor to a long-term deal, though, all the moves made might go for naught. He’s a star of this generation, but they really have to keep him after making the big trade to acquire him and Carlos Carrasco.

As has been the case for the last several seasons, starting pitching will be the Mets’ strength. Adding Carrasco to Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman gives the Mets a very strong 1-through-3 in their rotation. They’ll have several guys competing for the other spots; a dark horse for a comeback is Taijuan Walker, who I wish the Cubs had taken a chance on. If the Mets can compete early, they might have Noah Syndergaard back by midseason.

Edwin Diaz had a lousy year closing for the Mets in 2019, but he was better in the shortened 2020 season. Former Yankee Dellin Betances should be back to set up for him, along with former closer Jeurys Familia.

The Mets have a strong lineup beyond Lindor, featuring power from Pete Alonso and all-around hitting from Jeff McNeil. They will hope for a breakout season from J.D. Davis. It remains to be seen if James McCann is worth the four-year deal they gave him. He’s good, but he’s never really been “the guy” before.

There could be a large contingent of former Cubs in New York this year, including Game 7 heroes Mike Montgomery and Albert Almora Jr.

The Mets will be better in 2021. Whether they have enough to compete with the Braves for the division title remains to be seen.

The Cubs and Mets are scheduled to play seven times in 2021:

April 20-21-22 at Wrigley Field (again, a non-division team in Wrigley in April!)

June 14-15-16-17 at Citi Field.