Off-season evaluation of the Atlanta Braves NL East's rivals: the Mets

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 29: A general view of Citi Field prior to the start of the Opening Day game between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on March 29, 2018. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The third of a series of posts to evaluate the teams that the Atlanta Braves will face the most in 2020. This checks in on the annual reboot of the New York Mets.

In 2019, the Atlanta Braves managed to fight their way to an 11-8 record against the New York Mets despite all of their vaunted pitching - not quite as good as the 13-6 mark made in 2018, but it was certainly enough to hold them at bay.

As a team, New York rallied past a faltering Philly team to land themselves in 3rd place with an 86-76 record... 3 games back of the Brewers for the second Wild Card position.

I say 'rallied' since after a promising 6-2 start, the Metropolitans stumbled into the All-Star Break and then lost the first game afterwards to give them a 40-51 record.

After that point they righted their ship for a 46-25 finish that might just have gotten them into the playoffs if not for a 6-game skid at the end of August at the hands of the Braves and Cubs.

But even those rejuvenated results weren't good enough, and still-new-ish General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen used this non-playoff result as an opportunity to fire manager Mickey Callaway at season's end.

As a result, the NL East will have two new managers to break in for the 2020 season.  One of these has already 'been there and done that':  he's Joe Girardi with the Phillies.  The other is the Mets' Carlos Beltran who has never been there, nor done that - except as a player.

Beltran's staff is experienced, and he will undoubtedly need to lean on them a lot as he traverses the wilds in this new year.  Hensley Meulens will be his bench coach, Gary Disarcina the 3rd base coach, Jeremy Herner the pitching coach, Chili Davis the hitting coach, and Luis Rojas as 'Quality Control Coach' - which generally seems to be a position for insuring that the organization's culture, plans and policies are enforced at all levels.

Since 'other duties as assigned' for any New York manager means "dealing with the media", Beltran will be distracted by constant second-guessing question all year.  It will be fun to see how he handles this.

The real challenge for Beltran this year?  That's probably just living up to expectations, which are already sky-high - we'll get to that - but for now, let's see what's changed so far.

Next: The Only Constant... 'Change'