Today ESPN’s Keith Law made a blog post that highlighted those lower ranked teams and their future outlook. Based on future payroll commitments, major league assets, farm systems, ownership status and front office strategies, Keith attempts to predict when each team can officially contend once again.
So according to Keith, our New York Mets fit that criteria of being a bottom feeder and he doesn’t feel they can contend until 2016:
The good news for Mets fans is that the $43 million rathole known as Santana Bay will close after 2013 with a couple of option buyouts, after which, assuming that David Wright has sailed for non-bankrupt shores, they’ll have no significant long-term commitments.
The bad news, aside from the running farce in the ownership suite is that the new front-office regime’s turnaround hasn’t had enough time to do more than make sure the ship is facing the right direction. There are a few potential stars in the system in right-handers Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, both of whom could debut this year if the rotation has room for them, and outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s probably a good four years off even if the knee trouble is completely behind him, but those three aren’t enough to be the core of a championship club. And, unfortunately, they don’t have great assets on the major league roster to trade for prospects.
New ownership would help, but otherwise the Mets will have to build through the draft and international markets, which will take several years unless they get an infusion of cash.
As the TRDMB resident pessimist, I felt this was a little too much doom and gloom but maybe my orange colored glasses are blurring my sense of reason. So taking Keith’s categories, I’ve attempted to create my own prediction. After all, as a fan I know a lot more than he does.
Future payroll commitments: This is the Mets greatest strength. In 2014 the only potential salary on the books is the options formally known as the “Rathole”. The front office will find a way out and the team will have unbelievable financial flexibility.
Major league assets: ” Wright, ummmm… OK glaring weakness. Duda may be added to the list, but let’s give him another season.
Farm systems: Starting to improve. Last year depleted the upper levels, and some help will be on the way and contributing in 2 years. Just because Harvey can come up late this season, doesn’t mean the Mets will have a reliable starter until he compiles more game time.
Ownership status: Time is starting to heal those Madoff wounds and the Wilpon’s grasp on the team is getting stronger once again. They have been able to restructure a lot of debt, and they will continue to do so. Regardless of your opinion of them, they have spent money before and they will again.
Front office strategies: Saber Sandy and his crew have not had much to work with so far, so my opinion is still “Too Early to Call”. There have been some decent moves, some questionable moves, and some poor moves, but I keep coming back to the fact he is trying to do his job while wearing handcuffs.
With that said 2015 is my prediction. By next season the team should have a good gauge on how Harvey, Wheeler and Familia will fit in. We will also know if Mejia, Duda and a few others can be part of that long term outlook. Using that information they will have the payroll flexibility and can bring in the proper complementary pieces. These pieces cannot be acquired in one or two free agent years, so repeat after me “Slow and steady will win the race”. If you can’t take solace in that, then hit me up for some beer recommendations, because I’m going to hit every bottle I can get my hands on this season.
Keith Law’s post “Timeline’s for Contention” can be accessed here for “ESPN Insiders”: