Why Mets, Yankees, Padres became MLB's big-money disappointments

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres have the three top payrolls in baseball this season, with a combined $880 million spent on player salaries this year, and all three will be watching from home when the MLB playoffs start next week.

The poor performance of these teams has been so surprising that some throughout the sport are wondering if free agent spending will fall below expectations this winter because owners of larger payroll clubs will see a correlation here and may mistake it for causation -- especially with the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks all likely to make the playoffs with bottom-10 payrolls.

The Mets, Yankees and Padres share some ingredients in their own cocktails of disappointment -- underperforming their advanced statistics, losing true coinflip situations at an unsustainable rate, having more injuries than their rivals and seeing potential team building flaws become gaping holes within months -- but they also have a number of unique features that have led to their respective 2023 dumpster fires.

Using a combination of analyzing the numbers and information from conversations with MLB front-office insiders, let's examine the primary culprits for each big-money underachiever to see what went wrong, and what it means for their 2024 hopes -- and beyond.