With so little going on at the moment with moves from the Mets, it is interesting to read various blogs to get a feel for the expectations of the fans (or at least the radical fringe that like to post comments at this time of year!) So, what have I learned from all this exhaustive research?
- Sandy is a do nothing moneyballing small market has been (that honeymoon didn’t even last through the plane ride home from Vegas).
- The Mets are the Pirates because they did not spend another $20million so far this off season.
- The FO keeps us in the loop to a shocking degree as to what the plan is, which is wonderful except for the fact that they are lying to us about rebuilding. And everything else.
- Some long time die-hards are losing their faith.
- And finally, 2011 has already been deemed a total loss, and the FO isn’t even making a vague attempt to compete. 90 losses is practically a given.
In the spirit of the season, to all this I say Bah Humbug! What happened to the essential nature of a fan, especially a Met fan, hope? The off season is supposed to be a time to squinting really hard, and looking for the silver lining, and convincing yourself that next year just might be the one.
It seems that the biggest bone of contention is that the 2011 team will be the “same”, and that the FO is doing nothing. Well, given that Omar basically locked in the 2011 payroll before 2010, it was a given that the team was pretty much built as a 2 year group, with Sandy inheriting year 2. No matter who the GM was right now, there were only going to be 2 real choices. 1st, plug holes and rebuild the supporting cast as best as possible on a tight budget and see what happens. 2nd, truly become the pirates and trade everybody possible that made any money, and go into full rebuild mode.
Oh, there was the 3rd option of find a pile of cash someone forgot about and raise the payroll to $165million like the Phillies, but that one seemed like a non-starter!
It seems pretty clear that they picked door #1 Monty, so the question then becomes, is there a Zonk waiting, or a 1971 Vega? Oh wait, same thing. Make that a possible playoff contending team. And my opinion is that yes, they are (or will be) once the team is finished being assembled (and contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to finalize the opening day roster before Christmas).
No, I am not predicting they will cruise to the division title, or breeze into the playoffs. I do think that they will be in the hunt up to the end of the year, and win 10%+ more games, based on a few factors:
- The perceived incompetence factor of Jerry (running the team) and Omar (putting the right team in place) has been removed.
- The team on the field (other than Johan) should be vastly better. Just having Beltran and Reyes in ST and starting the season will be a vast improvement. 1B and RF should also start with better players, and even 2B and C should be upgrades.
- Ollie and Maine were in the opening day rotation, and made 10% of the total starts last year. Just not suffering through those 16 dismal performances should help offset not having Johan.
Overall, the 79 win 2010 squad was a horribly managed and poorly assembled team that couldn’t overcome some key injuries and established star players having sub-par years. And my version of realistic is looking at the upside potential (not just all the potential negatives). If they can finally get focused to prepare and play like a professional team (Collins), with a logically constructed bench (Alderson), and guys simply stay healthy and perform to expectations (Beltran, Bay, Reyes), the Mets will be running out one of the best teams in the league on a daily basis. If the pitching can just replicate last year and simply keep the team in the game most nights, they have the potential to win a lot more games than many people are predicting.
I know the last few years have been frustrating, but have some hope that the new regime means past mistakes are just that, in the past, and that the talent on the roster (and there is a lot of it) finally comes through and finishes the deal. And overall, this years team should be able to win more games than the 2007 and 2008 teams which were both still alive for the playoffs going into game 162.
So remember, when Citi field is jumping in September for a Mets playoff push, you heard it here first.