The nightmare scenario of megastars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper both landing with Mets rivals in the NL East didn't happen. But with Bryce Harper heading to the Phillies, the division just got even harder to win. And Bryce has signed up for 13 years in Philly.
Reports over the last few days indicated the Phillies were becoming pessimistic about their chances of signing Harper, and SNY's Andy Martino reported shortly after the signing that as of Thursday morning, the Phils were "nowhere near" the $330 million they gave Harper.
Nothing matters now, though, except the fact that one of the Mets' main rivals just got a lot better. And what was expected to be a dogfight in the NL East before Harper signed in Philly, will now be that much more difficult.
Along with being 13 years long, the deal doesn't contain any opt-outs. And Harper has a full no-trade clause. So as of right now, he's married to the Phillies for the long haul.
Before the Harper signing, Baseball Prospectus projected the Nationals as the best team in the division, expected to win 89 games. BP had the Mets at 87 wins, and the Phillies and Braves at 85 wins.
The Phillies landing Harper will likely vault them past the Mets when it comes to the projected standings, since he will both positively impact Philadelphia while negatively impacting New York.
Taking the above into account, and the actual tangible fact that Bryce is a Phillie, it's fair to wonder what Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is thinking now about his "come get us" mantra.
To be fair, the Mets didn't get worse today, but their chances to win the division did. And when you combine that with the fact that one of the highest-ceiling players in baseball is under Phillies control for 13 years, it's fair to wonder if the Mets will react by making any kind of counter-move.
It is bad practice to make a reactionary trade or signing for the sake of it. But in the Mets' case, reacting to the Harper signing wouldn't be striking back at the move itself. Instead, it would be done to further fortify a team that already knew before the Harper news broke that it was in for a serious battle.
If the Mets want to respond, there are still a bunch of impact players out there for the taking, including Craig Kimbrel (whose signing would give them an absolutely lethal back-end of the bullpen) and Dallas Keuchel (whose signing would give them another above-average starter to pair with their Top 4).
Van Wagenen's response in public will likely be to downplay the significance of the Harper signing. Internally, though, it's fair to wonder what he's thinking.