This is not how it was supposed to end. Not when the New York Mets were 35-17 on June 1 with 10½-game lead in the National League East and Jacob deGrom hadn't even pitched yet. Look, the Mets won 101 games, the first time they've won 100 since 1988. They became the ninth team to win 101 games or more and not finish first. It was a great regular season. But a first-round exit in the wild-card series? Not even getting the chance to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, let alone their division rivals in Atlanta? An absolutely crushing, bitter conclusion that will leave a bad taste all winter for Mets fans.
And now? There is no guarantee the Mets will have this kind of success in 2023. The list of free agents who might depart is long. They might have to rebuild the entire bullpen and a good chunk of the starting rotation. The owner has deep pockets and is willing to spend -- and he might have to take the Mets' payroll to a record-setting level -- but it's going to be a busy, complicated offseason for the front office.