Who Will Be the New York Mets Next Jersey Retired?

The New York Mets have retired Darryl Strawberry's No. 18, adding him alongside Dwight Gooden from earlier this year. Question is, who's next?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 1: Darryl Strawberry, New York Mets legend, reacts during a pre-game ceremony to retire his #18 jersey number before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on June 1, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Before Steve Cohen became the owner of the New York Mets, the franchise’s criteria for retiring a jersey number was pretty straightforward. Get inducted into the Hall of Fame with a Mets logo on your cap and then you get your jersey retired.

Tom Seaver was the first player to get his number retired by the franchise back in 1988, but it wasn’t until Mike Piazza got inducted in the Hall of Fame back in 2016, nearly 30 years later, that another jersey number was retired.

Cohen took over the club in 2021, and in the four seasons since, we have seen the Mets more than triple their amount of jersey’s retired. First, it was Jerry Koosman in 2021, who’s No. 36 was retired over 40 years after he helped the Mets win the World Series back in 1969.

Next, in 2022 the Mets honored Keith Hernandez, paying tribute to the leader of the 1986 Mets, who has created an amazing second career as a beloved broadcaster for the team. The Mets followed up Hernandez by retiring a New York baseball icon’s No. 24, retiring Willie Mays at the end of 2022.

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Finally, this season we have now seen the Mets retire both Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry’s jerseys to honor two homegrown stars who were so emblematic of both the rise and the fall of the great Mets teams of the mid-to-late 1980s.

Moving forward, we know that one day, the Mets will retire No. 5 for arguably the greatest position player in franchise history, David Wright. Until then though, are there any more jerseys numbers that will be retired by Cohen and the Mets?

Let’s look at the candidates of who is most worthy of such an honor.

Are There Any More 1986 Mets Coming?

Mets fans have been living off of 1986 for the better part of four decades, as it is still the last time this franchise has won the World Series and it is one of the most iconic teams in MLB history.

Between Keith Hernandez and now both Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden, the 1986 Mets are pretty well represented in the rafters of Citi Field. Other candidates to potentially get their jersey retired from the 1986 Mets: Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez.

Just like Hernandez is credited as being the leader of the 1986 Mets lineup, Carter receives a ton of credit for being the leader of the pitching staff as the Mets starting catcher. Carter only spent five seasons with the Mets, where he won three Silver Sluggers and was a four-time All-Star.

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While Carter was a great Met, and is a Hall of Famer in his own right, it would be a bit of a surprise to see the Mets retire his number at this stage.

Now when it comes to Darling and Fernandez, each had great careers in New York, and were worthy of being recognized in our latest list of the top 10 pitchers in Mets franchise history. Darling is probably more sentimental to the fan base, because he is still a constant presence on the Mets TV broadcast, but his career achievements pale in comparison to Seaver, Koosman and Gooden.

With that in mind, we probably have to skip ahead a few decades before you find a Met worthy of getting their jersey retired.

What About the 1990s and Early 2000s?

From the heyday of 1986, to winning 100 games again in 1988, the Mets had a great run, that fizzled out after the 1990 season. The early 90s were another real down-period for the Mets, which included six-straight losing season from 1991 through 1996.

The 1997 season marked the first of five-consecutive winning seasons for the Mets, which would ultimately culminate in back-to-back playoff appearances in 1999 and 2000, with a World Series appearance against the New York Yankees in 2000.

Mike Piazza joined the team via a trade in 1998, but in 1997, it was Edgardo Alfonzo who was the Mets best player. Alfonzo posted a 6.2 bWAR season, hitting .315/.391/.432, with 27 doubles, all while playing strong defense over at third base.

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Alfonzo received MVP votes that season, finishing 13th in the race.

Across eight seasons spent with the Mets, Alfonzo hit .292/.367/.445, with 29.6 bWAR, which is 8th-most in franchise history and fourth-most among position players, higher than even Piazza. A one-time All-Star and Silver Slugger, Alfonzo had a great Mets career, but probably not worthy of seeing his jersey retired.

Meanwhile during that same era with Alfonzo and Piazza, the Mets had a great closer in John Franco.

Franco was a three-time All-Star with the Reds prior to joining the Mets in 1990, which would be his lone All-Star appearance in New York. Franco spent 14 seasons with the Mets, in which he pitched to a 3.10 ERA and saved 276 games. He holds the franchise record in saves by more than 100, with Armando Benitez coming in second with 160.

Current Mets closer Edwin Diaz sits at 101 saves, so it will be a long time before Franco’s record is touched, if ever at all. Greatest closer in Mets history? Probably. Jersey retired? Nope.

All of this leads us to the early 2000s, when the Mets would construct another really good team centered around a couple of promising homegrown infielders in Jose Reyes and David Wright.

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Similar to the great Mets team at the end of the 1990s and at the top of the decade, the mid 2000s Mets needed a star free agent to take them over the top, and that is exactly what they got when they signed Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, $119 million deal in free agency.

What if Carlos Beltran Gets Inducted to Cooperstown as a Met?

Remember what the old criteria was to get your jersey retired as a Met? All you had to do was get inducted into Cooperstown wearing a Mets cap.

Well if old rules apply, a case can be made that Carlos Beltran just might see his old No. 15 retired by the Mets at some point in the coming years.

Beltran is currently on pace to become a Hall of Famer at some point over the next few years, as he finished with 57.1% of the vote in his second trip on the ballot this past year.

Beltran has probably seen his induction into Cooperstown delayed a few years due to his involvement in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal back in 2017, but nevertheless he should receive induction before his 10 years on the ballot are up.

Across his career, Beltran was a nine-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver Slugger. While everyone remembers his 2006 season for an infamous strikeout that ended the NLCS against Adam Wainwright, Beltran finished fourth in the MVP voting that year.

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In what was probably the best season of his career, Beltran took home both the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger for his play in center field for the Mets. He hit .275/.388/.594, with 41 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 116 RBIs.

Beltran spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Kansas City Royals, where he won the Rookie of the Year back in 1999. Still, only one of his All-Star appearances came with the Royals and that was in 2004, the same year they would trade him to the Houston Astros.

With an OPS+ nearly 20 points better as a Met, and a career bWAR almost seven wins better, Beltran will likely go into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap, unless they have him go in with a blank one.

Unlike No. 5, which has been out of circulation for the Mets since David Wright retired in 2018, Beltran’s No. 15 has been worn by 13 different Mets since he last played with the club back in 2011. It is currently being worn by Mets fourth outfielder Tyrone Taylor.

Beltran has the third-most WAR of any Mets position player, behind only Wright and Strawberry and his five All-Star appearances in a Mets uniform only trail those guys as well. With that said, it feels like the only way Beltran gets his jersey retired by the Mets is if he cements his legacy with the franchise by going into Cooperstown as a Met.

Who Will Be Next After David Wright?

There is every chance that the next jersey retired by the New York Mets is David Wright’s No. 5, and the case for him receiving that honor is an obvious one.

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Wright spent the entirety of his 14-year career with the Mets, who drafted him first round back in 2001. A two-time Gold Glover, two-time Silver Slugger and a seven-time All-Star, Wright’s peak was certainly Hall of Fame worthy, but injuries ended up costing him in the end.

Still, Wright holds countless franchise records and is clearly the best homegrown position player in franchise history. It is simply a matter of when Wright’s jersey will be retired, not if.

Once Wright is enshrined though, who will be the next Met to receive that honor?

Jacob deGrom won two Cy Young Awards in a Mets uniform and has career numbers in a Mets uniform that closely resemble that of Doc Gooden. DeGrom did not get a ring with the Mets like Gooden, but he did help lead the team to the World Series.

Had deGrom’s re-signed with the Mets and finished his career in New York, he would have been a shoo-in to get his jersey retired. Now that he left though, it is very much up in the air.

Pete Alonso is the best homegrown slugger the Mets have produced since Strawberry, and is currently fourth on their all-time home run list. With 17 more home runs this season, Alonso will pass Mike Piazza and move to third all-time.

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If Alonso were to play even one more season with the Mets beyond this year, he should easily be able to hit the 49 homers required to become the franchise’s all-time leader. But we still don’t know if Alonso will be in New York beyond this year, or even beyond the July 30th trade deadline.

Looking at the current Mets roster there are two other contenders to keep our eyes on over the next decade, as they could cement themselves amongst the greatest players this franchise has ever seen.

The first is Francisco Lindor, who signed a 10-year, $341 million contract with the Mets prior to the 2021 season. Through his first three-plus years in Queens, Lindor has two top-10 MVP finishes to his name and a Silver Slugger. There is still a lot of work to be done, but Lindor could absolutely see his No. 12 retired when it is all said and done.

Last but not least, Brandon Nimmo is a homegrown Met that is a lot closer to seeing his number retired than you might think.

Nimmo was drafted in the first round by the Mets back in 2011, and has turned into one of the better outfielders in baseball across his nine-year tenure with the team. Nimmo is missing the hardware and team success that typically accompanies such an honor, but he has time to change that.

Signed to an eight-year deal prior to the 2023 season, Nimmo still has the rest of this year and six more seasons to add to his Mets resume.

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Nimmo is already in the top 10 all-time in bWAR, and if he were to average at least four wins a season over the life of this contract, he would finish his career behind only Wright on the franchise leaderboard.

Nobody would have expected Nimmo to be the type of player who saw his jersey retired if you watched him early in his career, but now that he is locked up and able to compile some numbers as a player who will likely spend his entire career in Queens, there is a chance he is the last player to wear the No. 9 for the Mets.

When Steve Cohen took over the New York Mets, he inherited a franchise that did not embrace it’s history nearly enough. Luckily that has changed for the better, as Seaver and Piazza are now joined by a handful of former great players who were worthy of that special honor.