Usually the trade deadline is the time for a New York fan to assess his (or her) team’s playoff prospects. Certainly that’s what we all prefer, in lieu of the other end of the spectrum: the fire sale. I wouldn’t call what Sandy Alderson accomplished a complete ‘fire sale,’ but there’s no doubt the Mets were sellers and not buyers over the past month.
The acquisitions of two mid-level prospects from the Brewers for Francisco Rodriquez (at least, I’m hoping for mid-level prospects) and a new top tier prospect in Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran doesn’t have me thinking about the playoffs in 2011, but the playoffs in 2012 or 2013.
I haven’t totally lost hope on the current season, though I never truly thought this was a playoff team. Hovering at or barely above .500 doesn’t get me too excited; neither does the notion of backdooring our way into the post-season, which would be the most realistic playoff scenario at this point in time. But the team’s chances the next couple of years, however distant and speculative, does excite me.
I see no reason (barring injuries – which can be said for any sports prediction) for this team to be worse in 2012 than it is this season. I think with the development of some young players and at least a bit of cash to be spent on the market, the team should be a bit better. My preseason prediction for the 2011 Mets was 80 wins, and I still see that as a fair bet. That being said, I see no reason why the 2012 Mets can’t at least get into the mid 80′s in wins, perhaps even up to 87 or so wins. I probably won’t predict a playoff birth come March for next season, but it won’t surprise me as much as one this season will.
However, my real excitement comes for 2013. I hope to avoid a Generation K redux, but Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler get me pumped about our 2013 rotation. With veteran Johan Santana at its helm, ideally we’d see a rotation anchored by Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and a reliable back of the rotation veteran, or perhaps a player like Dillon Gee. I know that it’s insane to prediction a rotation and a team two years out, but I think it’s this hope that keeps me rooting so hard for my team, especially in troubled times like recent seasons. We have so many young players who look to contribute for years to come, and many have proven themselves at the major league level already. I write this with some hesitation, and certainly some blind optimism, but I except my perhaps naive 28 year old self to predict a playoff birth in 2013 with at least 90 wins in the standings.
Have you thought about the future of the team – are you as excited as I am?