This one is for the Mets fans out there. They begin spring training with much hope, optimism and dreams of a playoff year. Is it realistic? Let me lay out some sobering thoughts and what might have beens.
First, this is not the year. There is promise with a young pitching staff but they are a year away. Matt Harvey needs time to get back to where he was. He will get there, but it will take half a season. With Jacob DeGrom you caught lightening in a bottle last year. Sophomore seasons have a way of bringing people to reality. Now the guy I expect to shine and star is Matt Wheeler. He has paid his dues, seen greatness and wants it. He has matured and this is his breakout year. Starter four, Johnaton Niese is a pitch away from the disabled list. They couldn’t trade him this off season because teams know he went down the past three years with the shoulder. He won’t make a full season. Bartolo Colon is what he is. At some point age and weight will bring him down. They are hoping he makes it half way and someone wants him n July. Big bet ($11M to be exact). Dillon Gee is a good one to have around and should be there until the summer too. At that point they go to the minors and bring up the next generation and someone will want him. The bullpen is young with hard throwers. They need to fit into the right roles and it will take Terry two months to figure it out. Just watch.
The pitching is good, trending toward great, but they are a year away.
Now where did Sandy go wrong. Here it is.
He knew from day one this was a rebuild and there were no funds. He made two great moves in trading Beltran and getting Wheeler. Then he traded Dickey for Travis D. and Noah. Excellent moves trading veterans to get youth and promise. That’s how you rebuild. Very impressive.
So why did he let Reyes walk and not trade him? He knew it was a rebuild. A very bad decision that cost him a shot at a young hitter that might be MLB ready today. This is unforgivable. You are either rebuilding or not. If you are you don’t lose a star to free agency. You get value for him.
Bad move two has been his free agent signings. Why would you sign a 32 year old Curtis Granderson to a four year contract? In the non steroid era you don’t sign older players on the downside. Wasted dollars. Why would you sign Michael Cuddyer at age 36? Why do you think he is going to star at an age careers end today? Why would you give a declining David Wright a 7 year contract at 31 if you are cash strapped? Why would you spend on a 40 year old pitcher like Bartolo Colon? If it’s about winning and you have limited money with some top notch young pitchers what kind of strategy is this?
What should he have done? Adjust to the game as it is today. Great moves on the pitching, but you should have spent the dollars you did on three older players in another way. Let’s remove Wright because they wanted him as the face of the Mets, but on Granderson, Cuddyer and Colon they spent $100M. Really? Is that how you you do it? No it isn’t. How? In the free agent international market especially on three Cuban players who were there for the taking. Think Abreu on the White Sox now and last year was a home run machine. Think Tomas who we begged you to pursue last year and is going to be the majors this year. Imagine some young hitters to join the young pitchers all with upside. Imagine spending the limited money you had not on washed up players but stars to be. How good would next year look? By the way these two would have cost far less and you could pursued the Korean SS, or Moncada who signed with the Red Sox today for $31.5.
Sandy your free agent moves have been horrendous from relief pitchers to position players. Your trades of veterans for youth have been great. Stop with the older player signings and seek youth. It’s a young man’s game again with the roids gone. Get with it.
So Met fans you’re a year away from contending. Don’t be fooled. How good next year is depends on what they get for Gee and Colon. How quickly Conotro (#1 draft choice last year) and Nimmo develop. If you can move Murphy for a young player, and let Flores play second and develop while you get a shortstop. You see you have pitching and pitching wins. But you need defense and Sandy right now you have the worst defensive infield in baseball.
Work to do.