For the Mets, next year might not be any better

“Wait ‘til next year!” As I’m sure we’re all aware, that was the ancient rallying cry of the Brooklyn Dodger fan after yet another World Series loss to the Yankees. With the Mets being the spiritual brethren to those Dodger teams – with far, far less success, I’ll grant you – it’s been trotted out a time or two by this fan base. Trouble is, this year, we started saying it around Memorial Day, as player after player went down with one malady or another. This blighted season is playing itself out under a cloud. To wit: last night’s starting third baseman was Travis d’Arnaud, who has never played third base before on any level. This was necessitated by the fact that infielders Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores had both come up with the same rib cage injury. It turns out that d’Arnaud never had to handle a chance in the field, because manager Terry Collins kept flip-flopping him and Asdrubal Cabrera between second and third, depending on from which side the batter was swinging. All we can do is shake our heads and mutter “Unreal!” over and over. In any case, we have turned our eyes to 2018 and after a series of late-season trades the Mets have added about $10 million or so to the off-season war chest. Couple that with the expiring contracts of Curtis Granderson, Jerry Blevins and Cabrera, you would think the Mets would be well-equipped for a major foray into the free agent market, or be willing to take on a big money contract in a trade.

It appears you would be wrong.

GM Sandy Alderson met with the media before last night’s game and was asked – according to the always stellar Marc Carig of Newsday – whether all that money saved will be spent on players next season. Alderson gave a long, shambling answer that boiled down to “maybe.” At best. He said “…from an operational standpoint, I look at it this way. If I persuade the owner that it’s best to spend the extra $10 to $15 million to go for it – but I also assure him that if it doesn’t work out, I can move $9 or $12 million – having actually done it gives me a better case going forward.” It is a sad state of affairs when owners of a franchise in New York, the biggest market of all, would have to be convinced to bring their spending level up to that of a Pittsburgh, a Kansas City or a Tampa Bay – especially when the team on the other side of town is licking their chops for when Bryce Harper or Manny Machado hit free agency and can be added to their impressive existing collection of young talent.

Owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are purported to love the team and love the game. Ask anybody who has ever worked for them – heck, ask people who’ve been fired by them – and they will all tell you that the Wilpons want to win as badly as anyone you could imagine. If that’s the case, they sure have a funny way of showing it. They look like misers, derisively nicknamed the Coupons by non-fans. They have a reputation for being close to a buck, even without their well-documented Bernie Madoff association. Until or unless they can provide Alderson with the resources he needs, we will all be hamstrung in this limbo, whole seasons depending on fragile arms and raw kids. This piecemeal approach is leaving us fans starving.

It’s a shame.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

10 comments for “For the Mets, next year might not be any better

  1. John Fox
    August 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

    d’Arnaud did handle a chance in the field, he caught a pop-up late in the game when he was deployed at second base.

  2. Hobie
    August 17, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Saw a line that 2 other Mets have played C, 2B & 3B in a single season.

    One I’m sure is Alex Trevino. The other escapes me.

    • August 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      I think they said the other was Mackey Sasser.

      • Hobie
        August 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        I looked it up (BB Cube): Mackey played 2 games at 3B for the NYM, none at 2B.

        • August 17, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          On the broadcast last night they said the last one to do it was Jeff McKnight. Looking it up, he caught one inning in 1993.

      • Hobie
        August 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm

        Tucker Ashford!
        1983: 2B (13G), 3B (15G), C (1G)

        I can sleep now.

  3. August 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    At some point the Mets will have ownership that invests in their club like a real New York organization. Too bad we may not be alive to see it.

  4. Pete In Iowa
    August 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I agree with you Charlie. With all the money which has come off, or will come off the books this season there is no reason we can’t go after a front-line starter, a legitimate bat or two and a dependable reliever this winter. I also think there could be some intriguing trades to be made as well. I think they should make a play for Stanton. Short of deGrom, anyone or a combination of anyone else should be on the table to swing a deal like that.
    For now my biggest concern is these young guys playing along side guys like Cabrerra, Rivera and Cespedes and their — shall I say — lackadaisical way of playing the game. Pretty sure I saw Rosario trotting a grounder out to first last night. By contrast, Conforto busted it down to first on a pair of grounders to second. Made one a close play. We need more guys like that.
    I recall that from 1963 – 1969 a fan flashed a sign stating “wait til next year” after the first pitch of the home opener. I recall he was stationed in the left-field standing room at Shea (don’t know about the Polo Grounds). In 1970, after the first pitch of the home opener, he flashed a new sign — “wait til last year!”

    • Steve S.
      August 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Yeah, we need a manager who will actually get them to “play the game the right way,” not just mouth the words.

  5. Jimmy P
    August 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Mets are 14th in MLB in spending. A stupid travesty from owners who don’t have enough money to own a team. They cheated Nelson Doubleday and got the team on the cheap. They are horrible.

    Mets need to spend money this winter, real money, and they won’t do it. They won’t get a real 3B. It will be around $150 again, my guess, and a lot of folks here will think, “See, that’s so much more than they used to spend!” Or, “Money doesn’t buy championships!”

    Tell that to the Dodgers, tell that to the Yankees, tell that to the Red Sox. When a team has a lousy farm system, and a dearth of talent, money spent wisely can fill a couple of holes and patch some cracks, too.

    A NY team in a NY market should not be at league-average in payroll. It’s a ripoff.

    The crazy thing is that winning sells tickets. These guys have a television station. It brings in ratings, brings in profits. You spend and you earn more. Do you think the Dodgers are suffering now?

    The Wilpons have no real interest in excellence, never have. I will be glad when Fred dies.

    Sandy simply works as their front man. It’s a sham.

    Sure, it can work here and there. It doesn’t mean success is impossible. It’s just . . . unlikely. If you were going to go cheap, they needed to build a farm system that was first class. It’s far, far from it.

    The Brooklyn Cyclones are 15-38. Sandy’s guys!

    Sad!

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