Yankees: Who will rule New York City in 2021, Yankees or Mets?

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With Spring Training underway, this is an excellent time to evaluate and compare the two rival New York City MLB teams, the Yankees and the Mets. Which team will be better in 2021?

Since the Mets’ birth in 1962, they’ve battled with the Yankees to earn New York baseball fans’ loyalty. While the Bombers have consistently been the more successful team and have managed to maintain and enlarge their fan base, there were certain times when the Mets were undeniably the better team.

Today, the Mets continue to act like that pesky new kid on the block trying to one-up their elder and more renowned competitor.

With this in mind, which team is likely to end the 2021 MLB season with the better record? Can both of them make it to the playoffs? What about the World Series? Is there a chance they could meet in the Fall Classic?

Entering the offseason, both teams found themselves in entirely different positions. While the Yanks had a great start to the shortened 2020 season, the team petered out at the end because of injuries to key players.

Still, the Bombers managed to limp to the playoffs with a 33-27 record and impressively knock off the Cleveland Indians. However, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS was nothing short of embarrassing.

On paper, the Yanks were a much better team than the Rays, their bitter American League East rival. Yet, injuries during the shortened season and underperformance in some cases kept them from reaching the top of the mountain. With memories of the 2009 World Series fading, Yankees fans were disappointed that their team failed to advance all the way through the playoffs.

The Mets played below their potential and struggled throughout the abbreviated season. Also, losing their No. 2 starter Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery in late March was a significant blow. (By coincidence, Luis Severino, Syndergaard’s counterpart in the Mets’ rotation, underwent the same operation the previous month.) As a result, the club finished with a dismal 26-34 record under rookie manager Luis Rojas, tied with the Washington Nationals at the bottom of the National League East.

But the bad memory of the 2020 season was immediately forgotten when MLB approved the team’s purchase by multi-billionaire hedge-fund magnate Steve Cohen in late October. He vowed to improve the club and turn things around. Mets fans were now excited and hopeful.

In addition to acquiring an owner with deep pockets, the Mets did not have to pay 38-year-old Robinson Cano’s annual $24 million salary in 2021 due to his PED suspension. Because of Cano’s trade agreement, the Seattle Mariners also had to pay the Mets $4 million as a partial salary offset for the 2021 season. I doubt tears were shed. In fact, Mets’ brass probably celebrated this outcome in their executive suites.

Like most MLB teams, the Yankees’ owners reported a substantial financial loss due to the pandemic. They entered the postseason wanting to stay under the luxury salary threshold despite a need to improve the roster in some significant areas.

This proved to be a difficult challenge given the team’s already high player salaries and the need to re-sign free agent DJ LeMahieu to a well-deserved multi-year contract. After putting Yankee fans through a great deal of angst, the Yanks were, fortunately, able to sign their MVP to a team-friendly, multi-year contract ($90 million guaranteed over six years).

So let’s dive in, look at the offseasons both of these teams had, and determine who will rule New York in 2021.