For those of you who don’t care about theater, there is a hit show both on Broadway and on tour entitled “Buyer & Cellar.” In this play a young actor named Alex More gets propositioned into running a shopping center of old Hollywood and Broadway collectibles. The only hitch is that this shopping center is in the basement of Barbara Streisand’s home, and she is the only customer. There is a scene where she comes down and asks the value of a particular item, as if she didn’t already own it. The young actor makes up a ridiculous story and inflated price, just to keep her entertained. At the end of this scene she pays what she wants for it, then puts it right back where she got it the next day.
Sandy Alderson has items of value sitting in his basement as well. He has a finely aged Bartolo Colon sitting around, a few outfielders of varying vintages, and some new items down in the minors just waiting to be showcased. There have been reports over the past couple of weeks that Alderson will soon determine if the Mets are buyers or sellers. As of this writing, the Mets are 10 games under .500, 3-7 in their last 10 games, 19-22 at home, and 20-27 on the road. There have been moments in games, if not entire series where the Mets look to have turned a corner with their starting pitching, bullpen, hitting and defense. Then they get swept by the Chicago Cubs or somebody and dig their hole a little deeper. So just in case Sandy Alderson isn’t clear about this matter, he’s a seller.
The Mets have actually looked good at times, and while that 90-win proclamation made before the season is really sticking in Mets’ fans craw, there are some reasons to hope that this may be the last year of failure and ineptitude. The cry of “wait until next year’ has been ringing hollow for almost a decade now. But wait…could it be…actual light at the end of that tunnel? The problem is that our dear GM is acting a bit like Barbara Streisand. He is in possession of some potential trades items that might make that light a little bit easier to see. Instead, he seems content to keep them in the basement where only he can prescribe their value and deal with them on his own terms.
It should be clear to every Mets fan far and wide that this is not the team that will take us to the promised land of October baseball. There are highlights to be sure. Since June 1st, Lucas Duda has a slash line of .276/.374/.561 with six home runs and 19 RBI. Juan Lagares continues to prove that he should be playing everyday. And the bullpen, consisting of mostly young farm arms, is looking better as the season progresses. Unfortunately we are still saddled with six outfielders, a shortstop that is barely holding onto his job, and some young talent that is either stuck in the minors or just coming back from a demotion.
Sandy Alderson has good reasons to value his young arsenal of arms and shouldn’t trade them away lightly. There are plenty of other pieces, however, that can and should be moved simply for the sake of getting younger players more time in the field. Colon, Bobby Abreu, Chris Young, Eric Young, Jr., Andrew Brown, and Wilmer Flores are just some of the names that could easily be tossed around in trade discussions, and that’s assuming Daniel Murphy is now off the board. Not all of them will go of course, but each has a specific value to another team. Our front office though, seems to be contend to keep them down in the basement, collecting dust.
This team will be exciting next year because of the young talent coming up or coming back, not because of it’s aging veteran presence. David Wright and Curtis Granderson can handle the young guys well enough. It’s time to allow some overvalued or improperly used players to go, creating room for the next wave of players to step in. People are clamoring for Eric Campbell to play more, but there is barely any room on this roster as it is. Everyone may have their favorite target of who needs to go and why, but it’s getting pretty clear that somebody or somebodies need to go. The return isn’t exactly the point, but it would be nice to get something back. Rather, we fans need to start seeing the team that is going to take us through 2015 and beyond, because 2014 is starting to be an ugly reminder of years gone by. So Mr. Alderson, with all due respect, perhaps its time you come up from out of the cellar.