The 2023 New York Mets were one of the most disappointing MLB teams in recent memory. They also hold the infamous distinction of being the most expensive fourth-place teams money can be.
Not only did their $374.7 million payroll produce a dreadful 75-87 record, but it also resulted in them getting hit with a record luxury-tax payment of $100,781,932. That is more than double what the Dodgers had to pay back in 2015 when they were hit with a $43.6 million luxury tax payment. That Dodgers team finished with a 92-70 record and reached the NLDS before flopping.
The Mets didn’t even get to the playoffs or anywhere near it, and they ultimately cost owner Steve Cohen more than $474 million to finish in fourth in the NL East. That makes them the most expensive and biggest flop in baseball history.
That payroll would have been even higher had their reported deal with shortstop Carlos Correa not fallen through at the last minute.
The San Diego Padres ($39.7 million), New York Yankees ($32.4 million), Dodgers ($19.4 million), Philadelphia Phillies ($6.98 million), Toronto Blue Jays ($5.5 million), Atlanta Braves ($3.2 million) and World Series champion Texas Rangers ($1.8 million) were other teams to get hit with luxury-tax payments.
It is not just the price tag that made the 2023 season such a flop. It’s also the fact the Mets were supposed to be a World Series contender after winning 101 games in 2022. They entered the season with a couple of future Hall of Famers in their starting rotation (Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander), had several impact bats, including first baseman Pete Alonso and infielder Francisco Lindor, and were on the verge of calling up a top catching prospect in Francisco Alvarez.
Injuries completely devastated the pitching staff. Scherzer and Verlander were not fully healthy, superstar closer Edwin Diaz missed the entire season after getting injured in the World Baseball Classic, and several key bats had shockingly down seasons at the plate, including Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte. Even Alonso saw his OPS drop by nearly 50 points from the previous year.
All of that resulted in the Mets being sellers at the trade deadline and rapidly falling out of the playoff race. Even worse, the 2024 season is not looking any more promising, especially as Alonso’s future with the team remains unknown. They also missed out on Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Mets have an absurdly deep-pocketed owner who is willing to spend anything he can to win. They are simply proof that money does not always buy wins in Major League Baseball.