As my distinguished colleague, Joe D from the blog ” Get Metsmerized” said yesterday “These are the days of whines and losses”. Yes there will be a lot of crying if and when Jose Reyes signs with another team, and that might translate into the same if not more loses next season.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to wrap my mind around a Mets team sans Jose. And with that I have been trying to figure out where next years team will fall into the vast tapestry of Mets seasons of the past. Will they be mediocre like the teams from the mid’ ’90s? can they be exciting like they were throughout the later part of the ’80′s ? Or will they more than likely settle to the bottom like sediment as was the case with the teams in the late ’70′s ?
In my opinion this team is stuck between the the bitter year of 1979 and the transition year of 1983.
In 1979 the Mets were a franchise in turmoil. The owner of the time, Lorinda de Roulet was hemorrhaging cash as Shea Stadium was a ghost town after three successive losing seasons. ( sounds familiar?) The biggest draws for the Mets at the time was the outfielder with the matinee looks , Lee Mazzilli, ace of the pitching staff, Craig Swan and outfielder Steve Henderson . Yes we had former Rookie of the year ( when he was a Red) Pat Zachry as well as gold glove second baseman, Doug Flynn, but otherwise the rest of the roster was made up of players that were either past their prime or were not ready for the bright lights of New York City.
By 1983 the Mets were still a team that was no where near contention. Yes then General Manager, Frank Cashen was brought in by the then ownership ( Doubleday/Wilpon) to clean up the mess that team president, M. Donald Grant and his G.M, Joe McDonald had left behind. Cashen turned over the roster, jettisoning players such as Maz, Zachry among others. He signed players such as George Foster to expensive deals. Cashen promoted Darryl Strawberry (the first round pick of the ’80 draft). He was able to re-stock the farm system with young talent such as Darling, Fernandez, Gooden who were only a season away from contributing . But Cashen’s coupe de grace was acquiring first baseman Keith Hernandez from the St. Louis Cardinals for closer, Neil Allen and minor league pitching prospect, Rick Ownby.Hernandez was the proven leader that this team needed, and by the next season the Mets were a team on the ascent.
So Lets look at the team as it is presently constituted. Daviid Wright is the face of the franchise. He is light years better than Lee Mazzilli ever was, but without proper protection in the line up he is only so effective. I have to reserve judgement on Johan Santana right now, because until I see him throw a pitch he will be more like Craig Swan after rotator cuff surgery than the ace that we have come to know. R.A Dickey at this period of time is the only consistent pitcher in the rotation. Mike Pelfrey has yet to become consistent as a pitcher, and for all I know he may very well be more Pete Falcone than Ron Darling. Jason Bay falls into the mold of the highly paid/ poor production mold ala George Foster. We have to hope that he will regain his power stroke once the walls at Citi are pulled in. As much as Lucas Duda has impressed us in the past season, he is still a liability in the outfield as is Daniel Murphy – our projected second baseman. Ruben Tejada will either be the second coming of Jose Reyes – or the third coming of Frank Taveras , he just hasn’t played consistently enough for me to have a solid opinion on him. And Ike Davis – well lets just hope that his ankle doesn’t give him problems.
The biggest X Factor with next seasons team is Sandy Alderson himself. Will he be able to do more with less ? Will he be able to bring in lower salaried players that will play hard and produce wins when the game is on the line. Will we be seeing our top tiered prospects such as Matt Harvey or Reese Havens contributing by the end of the season? These are pertinent questions that will reveal themselves by the end of 2012.
I hope this team is closer to the ’84 season than languishing in last by the All Star Break like the ’79 team did.
What are your thoughts ?
And with that said … HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!
Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today includes:
Reserve outfielder from ’69-’74, Jim Gosger is 69 (1942).
Starting pitcher from the ’87 season, John Candelaria is 58(1953).
Back up outfielder from the ’00 season, Bubba Trammell is 40 (1971).
The Cincinnati Reds signed back up catcher, Dave Liddell of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 6, 1990.
Mo Vaughn is thinking about distilling his own brand of spirits. He plans on Calling it Big Mo’s Mind Numbing Mixers !