Your intrepid columnist got a little jolt this morning. He clicked on MetsBlog.com to read that there is a very strong possibility that the Mets will be buyers at the trade deadline.
Really? Buyers? After going from the extremely high mountaintop of sweeping the Yankees to the deepest of valleys in being swept by the Marlins? After even Matt Harvey got roughed up by a gang with a statistically worse offense than the Mets? Why on Earth would the Mets be buyers in this season which so closely resembles a combination of urban blight and dandruff?
As with most things about this team, the answer is comes down to the owners. According to Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog, if they’re not buyers, GM Sandy Alderson – once the great hope to a downtrodden fan base, now edging towards being the symbol of front office futility – is likely to leave after his contract expires after the 2014 season; he “wants to significantly move the franchise forward in the next year or so.” If he won’t be allowed to do that – to swing a deal for a big bat in the outfield or take on a decent amount of salary – he’ll bolt. And who could blame him? Alderson would only be tarnishing his reputation by spinning his wheels for any length of time beyond the expiration of his contract. He built his credentials decades ago, and has nothing to gain by sticking around if the purse strings aren’t loosened and some bold action hasn’t taken place. The veteran Met-watcher – the pessimist, glass-half-empty, Charlie Brown-ish segment of the fan base, of which your intrepid columnist is sometimes a card-carrying member — already kind of knows how this is going to play out.
If Sandy Alderson doesn’t re-up, the message to the public is as depressing as it is clear: this is Jeff Wilpon’s team now. The Mets could bring in the best GM around – they could animate the ghost of Branch Rickey and team it with the spirit of Ed Barrow – and it wouldn’t matter a whit. If an owner is unable or unwilling to provide a General Manager the resources to put a competitive product between the lines, the identity of the person in the chair is of little consequence. And Jeff Wilpon has not — so far — shown that he has the chops to be a successful owner in this town. From his disheartening-at-best remarks when honoring Mariano Rivera to the ridiculous behind-the-scenes machinations that left the Mets with their AAA team nearly 3,000 miles away, playing in substandard conditions and facilities, to the stories of his meddling up and down the organization, Jeff Wilpon seems to be forever cast as the buffoon. Until or unless owning the team becomes unprofitable for him somehow, we’re all stuck with him.
Let’s go Mets…
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