Mets’ 2014 Offseason: Under The Radar? No, Under The Microscope

We are Met fans. We want the team to do well. We want to know we’re spending our money on something worthwhile. Deep down, we know the team can’t compete with the Yankees — be it in history, prestige, spending or wherewithal to improve – but we would like them to at least try. We want to be able to compete in the NL East and not be written off for contention before Christmas Eve.

The chasm between what we want and what is so is vast and broad, and so we hang on every minute piece of news, news that might tell us the gulf is finally being bridged. It’s obvious to even the most obtuse Mets observer alg_mets-paper-bagsthat the roster needs a shake-up. Five straight years of sub-.500 ball will paint that picture in vivid color. And for the bulk of those five years, we’ve been told that 2014 will be the offseason. With the onerous contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay finally out of the way, with the high and potentially high-salaried stars of the team – Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey — sent away, with additional television money arriving, the Mets would be able to spend like any “regular” team. Never mind the fact that the franchise exists in New York and should be able to function far better than “regular.” It’s a testament to how bad things have been that the New York Mets need to work awfully hard to generate the same kind of spending ability as the Kansas City Royals or Seattle Mariners.

So when Jeff Wilpon takes the microphone at the General Managers’ Meetings and says “We’ve been working through the night and we might have an announcement later today,” our hearts leap. When Sandy Alderson throws a dose of reality on that statement, our hearts sink. We despair over the lack of communication between Alderson and his boss.

The one move that’s occurred so far – putting aside non-events like the signings of Miguel Socolovich, Brandon Allen and Joel Carreno – is the signing of outfielder Chris Young. Young has a chance to be a fine player, a 4+ fWAR player according to most who pay attention: he’s done that before, albeit in a friendlier hitting environment, Arizona. He could be a nice piece, either from a production or trade-value standpoint. But given the background of this year being the year, it’s far from sufficient. Juxtapose the Young signing against the Yankees’ signing of Brian McCann and St. Louis’ inking Jhonny Peralta – a player who would fit perfectly with the Mets’ offseason plans, by-the-way – to relatively modest contracts in terms of AAV, the angst meter of the remaining fan base gets ratcheted that much higher. Alderson keeps trying to fly under the radar and make smart signings, but the antsy among us won’t let him: if he sneezes too loudly, it ends up in a blog post somewhere.

The focus is so tight and the scrutiny so close that the Mets can’t even kid around anymore without becoming the butt of their own joke. Earlier this week, the Mets sent their annual Holiday e-card to newsletter subscribers. In a vacuum, it’s a fun, goofy little trifle just before Thanksgiving to humanize the players a little bit. But, up against the lack of spending in meaningful areas, the lack of any tangible improvement in the on-field product, this can’t help but generate snickers among the MSM and non-fans. I had a Yankee fan friend point out that this e-card was probably where the rest of the free agent budget went. Yep: there isn’t enough in the till to pony up for Curtis Granderson, Stephen Drew or even Corey Hart, but we can sure put out a snappy Holiday card, can’t we? It’s all very disheartening and lengthens that lightless tunnel that much further.

We are Met fans. Back in winter 2011, we were promised a team of which we can be proud. Where is it?

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

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5 comments for “Mets’ 2014 Offseason: Under The Radar? No, Under The Microscope

  1. Chris F
    November 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Is DW the new Jeffy Wilpon?

    (Edited David Wright quote from ESPNs Adam Rubin.)

    “It’s been a slow winter so far, and I’m confident that we’ve got something up our sleeve,” Wright said on ESPN New York 98.7. “In all reality, I think that the offseason doesn’t really necessarily kick off until the winter meetings, and that starts right after Thanksgiving…But I think Sandy has got a plan in place and I think he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve starting at the winter meetings…And I’m 100 percent committed to this organization. Sometimes I feel the Mets fans’ pain. I experienced it the last few years on a daily basis. But have some faith because, like I said, I fully expect us to be a much better team moving forward. Hopefully that will begin at the winter meetings or shortly after Thanksgiving.”

  2. steevy
    November 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    What else can Wright say?I’m sure he is as hopeful as we are and I take it as wishful thinking on his part( much like some of the wishful thinking you see on here,despite the reality of the last several years)

  3. Jim OMalley
    November 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    It’s sad when fans are more committed to the team than the owners. Lets hope Sandy knocks our socks off at the winter meetings.

  4. Dave
    November 27, 2013 at 4:02 am

    freaking coupons….absolutly awful.

  5. Sean Flattery
    November 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    It would be nice to hear Citi Field loud in August and September, or for that matter filled with fans! It’s a real shame such a great stadium hasn’t seen winning since its doors opened

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