Team of the future in N.Y.? It’s the Mets – ESPN.com, August 21, 2013
“The Mets will have to really screw it up to not be good next year” – Mike Francesa, WFAN radio, August 20, 2013.
There’s an awful lot of enthusiasm out there for a team that currently stands 58-67 and a tidy eighteen-and-a- half games out of the money. It’s not hard to see why. Names like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Wilmer Flores and Travis d’Arnaud – young players all, most of whose talents have yet to be fully tapped – have a tendency to give an air of hope to a struggling enterprise. Throw in the stellar work of pre-injury David Wright and the remarkable rejuvenation of Marlon Byrd and the fun quotient only grows. Most of the ingredients are ready, the pot is on the stove and low heat has caused the mixture to just start simmering. The next step will be to add some more protein to this gumbo. There is a question, though, as to whether the head chef will be up to the task.
Yes, Sandy Alderson is the man entrusted – supposedly – with guiding the rebirth of the Mets franchise. For all intents and purposed, though, this is Jeff Wilpon’s team. He gets to say yea or nay when Alderson comes to him with concrete suggestions to improve the on-field product. He has final veto power. He signs the checks. If, as Mike Francesa suggests above, the promised improvements and increases in the bottom line fail to materialize, Sandy Alderson will most likely get a pass. No, the wrath of the media and – more importantly – the paying customers will be visited squarely on Jeff Wilpon’s head. In fact, Sandy Alderson as much as stated flatly that if the ownership of the Mets isn’t up to providing what’s required to fund a contender, he will walk away after the 2014 season.
Can Jeff Wilpon be trusted to make the right call? All evidence so far points to the negative. Wilpon has shown a rare talent for bringing drama to even the most mundane situations. Just ask Mariano Rivera. Even when it looks like the right move is being made, there’s always an air that it isn’t quite the right move. Case in point: a week ago, it was announced Mejia and Jeremy Hefner would both need to undergo arm surgery. In addition, it’s been a rumbling story all year that Harvey and Wheeler are on limited innings this early in their careers. As a stop-gap, the Mets have signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had recently asked for his release from the Indians’ AAA club. This looks like a sound, fairly safe transaction, yes? There are howls of derision among fans and snickering disdain among non-fans about the move. Why? Because it’s the Mets making it and “they will always find a way to mess it up.”
So yes, Jeff Wilpon: it’s on you. Yea or nay?
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