2013 has been a step in the right direction for the Mets

If you are a listener of sports talk radio, it has been impossible over the past week to listen and not hear some host and/or caller mock Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson for telling fans to be patient.

The formula is simple; cite some play or statistic that shows how dreadful the Mets have been this season, then say, “but Sandy Alderson says they’re almost there,” followed by a hearty laugh.

It fits perfectly with the New York media’s favorite storyline that the Mets are a hapless organization that doesn’t know it’s rear-end from a hole in the ground.  The latest example of this is New York Daily News Mets beat writer and noted clown Andy Martino’s article claiming that top prospect Zack Wheeler won’t be able to handle the pressure of New York, despite never having pitched a game there yet.

That narrative might have been true three years ago under the Minaya regime, but what Alderson has brought this team is a level-headed executive who makes decisions based on a long-term plan.

The Mets are – gasp – actually run by intelligent baseball people whose mission from day one has been to build the team into a perennial contender.  Unfortunately these things can’t be done overnight, and they certainly can’t be done by giving out ludicrous free agent contracts to Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, or Jason Bay.

Through three drafts, and two huge trades, Alderson, Paul DePodesta, and J.P. Ricciardi have been able to build the Mets farm system into one of the top 15 systems in all of baseball.  But since it’s only been three years, most of the talented players are in Binghamton or below, with only Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Jack Leathersich, and Rafael Montero having advanced to AAA.

Yet they still call in.  “The Mets are nowhere near contending!”  “In ’83 at least there was Strawberry and Gooden the next year!”  While d’Arnaud is likely not Darryl Strawberry, they’ve got two Goodens in Wheeler and Matt Harvey.

While their record might not show it, the Mets are a much improved team this season, if only because it is another year for their prospects to develop and advance a little bit closer to the major leagues.

By this time next year, the Mets figure to be a much different team, especially in terms of their pitching staff.  The rotation could feasibly consist of Harvey, Wheeler, Jon Niese, Montero and Dillon Gee, with Leathersich, Logan Verrett, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia and others in the bullpen.

If Wilmer Flores continues to progress as a hitter, he could be knocking on the Mets doorstep to take over as the second baseman, and Cesar Puello (yeah, yeah, I know, suspension) not too far behind him.  Cory Vaughn could also be looking at a September call up.

A Flores call up then opens the door for either a Daniel Murphy trade or an Ike Davis/Lucas Duda trade (assuming Davis doesn’t get non-tendered) if the team decides to either put Flores or Murphy at first base.

Alderson also maintains that the team will have $45 million to spend this offseason, enough to sign Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, and still have $33 million left to fill out the bench, bullpen, and sign a few placeholders to play until the prospects are ready.  Perhaps he’ll even sign guys to be AAA depth so that in the event of an injury, there is a replacement level player available to take his roster spot.

2014 is going to be brighter for the Mets, though playoff contention is probably out of the question.  Think of this year as 2004, and next year as 2005, great steps forward, but only a piece or two away.  The only difference is that this time around, there’s going to be a farm system that produces talent so the success can be more sustained.

Joe Vasile is a play-by-play announcer and radio host.  You can check his website out here.

17 comments for “2013 has been a step in the right direction for the Mets

  1. June 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    My complaint is that not enough focus has been put on the here and now. It’s great that Alderson & Company are building a farm system with the eye on producing MLB talent on a regular basis. But they could have done more to make the 2013 season tolerable, especially if we take Alderson at his word that he had money to spend and simply chose not to do so.

    But it seems like any solid move was negated by a corresponding dumb move or plain inaction. I’m more than willing to pat people on the back for drafting Harvey, acquiring Byrd or getting Murphy to be a solid 2B.

    Still, those same people have to answer for a whole lot more that went wrong, most of it both predictable and preventable. We all understand that the talent level is not where we want it to be this moment. But management has to answer for a bunch of things regarding Ike Davis, Jordany Valdespin, Rick Ankiel, Collin Cowgill, Greg Burke, Robert Carson, Scott Rice and bench construction — to name just eight.

    It’s great to put the most emphasis on development and the future. But the present team should be worth something, too. And I don’t see how Alderson & Collins get passing grades with how they handled the 2013 season.

  2. Name
    June 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Right direction, wrong direction, up, down, forward, backwards, left, right, yes, no… lotta opinions out there.
    Everyone is going to have their take on a situtation, and that’s OK because everyone is entitled to their own thought(unless it is based off some errorneous fact). All we can say right now is that there is a mixed opinion on management.

  3. Chris F
    June 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    When you are at the bottom….every step is the right direction. Even treading water by shedding burdensome contracts alone constitutes forward motion Im sad to say.

  4. Metsense
    June 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    A step in the right direction would have been the 2013 winning as often as the 2012 but with a little more excitement and glimpses of improvement. At all costs, a losing attitude had to be avoided. That has not happened.
    Poor personnell decisions from who is playing and where, along with the roster makeup, has sabotaged this team.
    It is very important that some good decisions are made in the second half, that the Wheeler and d’Arnaud are sucessful , and the team wins some games in order to establish a base for 2014.
    The future is in the arms that are a year or two away and the players that some of the arms will be bringing in via trade. This winter (or sooner) will also be time to make hard decisions regarding the roster. This square peg in round holes philosophy really doesn’t work.
    Nobody expected a .500 season, but nobody expected this regression. It is not a step in the right direction.

  5. June 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Well, I obviously don’t agree that 2013 has been a step in the right direction so far. I do believe in patience, and it may be that the 2014 mark for contention (which may not have really been realistic anyway) probably won’t come to fruition, but things haven’t gone well thus far on the major league side with the “seeing what we have” phase.

    At this point I’m much more confident in the long term direction of the team than I am in the short term. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, Alderson could absolutely blow us away with trades/FA signings this season/off-season. At the very least, it’s nice to know that that is a possibility with this front office.

  6. Chris F
    June 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Since reading the blogosphere, at leat SA and TC have realized the playing out of position strategy, one suitable for little league, doesnt fly in the MLB. So JV back to the bench, Murph at 2B, Duda at 1B, and Kirk, Lagares, Byrd L to R. It may be the best we can put out there.

  7. June 18, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Hey Joe!I think that’s a cheap shot you just took at Omar Minaya. He had a different directive which was to win a World Series. If it wasn’t for Randolph’s mishandling of the ninth inning, we would have been celebrating our World Series. The problem that no one is addressing is that all 30 teams will have plenty of cash to sign whateever free agent they choose. Ellsbury or Choo at 12 million? You don’t think the Dodgers,Yankees,Red Soxs or Reds will be interested. Sandy’s we’ll wait them out approach is going to net exactly zero top quality free agent outfielders. Then Fred will tell the media that the financial crisis is over and that they have a plan in place and will be aggressively pursuing free agents that don’t exist.

    • Name
      June 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

      First point is regarding the Yankees. They have to get under the luxury tax threshold for 2014 so they won’t be spending on other free agents at all because they will struggle to even retain players from their current squad. Jeter and Cano have to be resigned I’d imagine all if not most of Kuroda, Granderson, Hughes, Chamerberlain, Logan, Youkilis to leave unless they are willing to heavily backload their contracts and make nothing in year 1.

      Mets will spend on at least 1 top big free agent. It’s hard to spend ~$40 million on just B-levels players. I’m not sure why you think players won’t come to NY. It’s all about the money and whoever bids the highest will win. And NY is still NY.

      • Jerry Grote
        June 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Be careful here Name.

        Our GM has proven to be stubborn about his valuations. He simply will not overpay, and you have to acknowledge that every other team in the MLs will be walking around with new pin money from cable … acting like a sailor in port.

        This, more than anything, is why I’d like to see Sandy look to the trading market. I hope Sandy will make a deal, but let’s face it … he had the wiggle room this past winter to pull a trigger (multiple times), but decided each time the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

        He’s a stubborn SOB. I like that about him, sometimes.

        • Name
          June 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

          Well, he did make the trigger on Bourn, but it was Bourn who decided the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. Also, don’t forget about Sandy overpaying for David! (well, Met fans can rationalize it by saying it was payment due for past performance)

    • Joe Vasile
      June 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      It is not a cheap shot because he is the reason why this team sucks right now (e.g.- not producing a farm system that produces major league caliber talent because of a refusal to go overslot, and surrendering picks for unwise free agent signings). It’s only a cheap shot if it’s not true.

  8. Dan Stack
    June 18, 2013 at 4:16 am

    While I don’t see us being ultra competitive in 2014, I think the strides we make will be noticeable. It will the bridge to 2015 where I think we’ll all be happy.

    • June 18, 2013 at 5:09 am

      We’re not even competitive against the Marlins whose payroll is 40 million dollars less than the Mets.

  9. June 18, 2013 at 5:07 am

    One good free agent signing for the outfield to put some order in the chaos we currently have. Decide who is going to be the first baseman of the future and trade the other. Clean house. Find a veteran manager who will get the most from his players. It would help if put his players in the best position to be successful. How long do we wait for the attitude in the clubhouse to change? Last night’s game is so indicative of what’s wrong. Does TC have so little faith in his closer? If not last night, then when should you bring in Parnell? Gee pitched well and should of been told before he went out to start the ninth if you allow a hit you’re coming out. make things clear so players know where they stand. He left it hanging over the plate at the worst possible time of the game. Oh well. Four more to go.

  10. June 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Name. The money will not be equal and Sandy will come up short with his offers for signing not even one exceptional free agent. As for the Yankees I see them signing only Cano,Jeter and maybe Kuroda(personally I could care less) As for the rest of the players you listed none are crucial pieces to the team. Also the Yankees are at 84 million for 2014 payroll. Finally next years free agent market is going to be very limited in quality players. Supply and demand. I don’t see the Mets as the highest bidders for any top quality free agents.

  11. June 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

    But Sandy waited too late for Bourn. Once he found out that he was going to forfeit his first round pick he hesitated and Cleveland stepped right in.

  12. Paul Lander
    June 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    OK. I understand how the pitching staff will start to come togerther in 2014, but lets talk about how we can get a “Freddie Freeman, by trading a portion of that pitching staff you mentioned. How much of that staff will have to be traded. We need a known entity, not someone who is hitting well in the minors and then hits 220, with 48 rbi’s for the season when called up. We still need someone who can drive in over 100 rbi’s in a season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *