The Mets 2013 campaign ends today.
Another season without a championship. Without a playoff berth. Another year of futility.
Those who have followed KinersKorner & listen to The Kult of Mets Personalities podcast knows this does not come as a surprise. Before the season began the majority, including myself, predicted a season as bad if not worse. Micheal Kay infamously predicted as bad as 60 wins. The Mets will end with at least 13 more than that.
So why does it feel worse? Why does it feel that when the Mets couldn’t sink any lower, that they dug a new bottom?
Was it the first half that included time at first place, time above .500? Possibly.
Was it the pitiful play of the offense for most of the last 12 weeks? Maybe.
Was it the fact that Irving Picard made a deal with Fred Wilpon out of court, possibly avoiding a stay of execution or a permanent stewardship of Mets, yet to be determined? Highly Possible.
However, the biggest issue is that the fan base has lost hope. A fan base built around Tug Mcgraw’s rallying cry of Ya Gotta Believe has mangled it to include the phrase “It Will Get Worse.” See, while the fans know that ownership is financially strangled, up until this season they had hope in Sandy Alderson. He may not have won all the time, he may not have a trophy room of championships, but he has built winners. On budgets. Surely he can do it again. No matter that he only had $10m to work with last offseason, and unlike this season didn’t have the luxury of giving a long term deal with a back-loaded contract. The upcoming trial and the possibility of an immediate payout made that impossible. Never mind that he had limited parts to use for trades. He’s a talent evaluator. He put together a team of experienced men in 2010. NOW they’re going to show their stuff.
So they did. They listened to their fans and conducted their own 2011 year long analysis and lowered the walls. Everyone knew the bullpen was an issue so they spent there. Frank Francisco got a 2-year deal. Jon Rauch 1 year. He dealt Angel Pagan, a talented CF who reportedly slacked off and showed a lack of baseball instincts for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez, who had a 2.62 era in his final season in San Francisco.
Those were the 4 player acquisitions of note. At best you can say he was 1-4, and even that one, Jon Rauch had his issues this season.
There were plenty of holes left on the team come opening day, most notable was at catcher, where Josh Thole, a young catcher who many argue should not have even been a starting catcher, and Mike Nickeas as his primary backup. Whether Nickeas was the backup due to misplaced trust from the General Manager or because ownership refused to spend for such an inexpensive but necessary piece with the trial approaching we will never know, but the trade for Shoppach in August was very telling.
They were forced to use Rookies like Lucas Duda in the middle of the lineup, before sending him to AAA to find his swing again, and a new position. Scott Hairston, a career backup OF, was forced to not only be thrust into a starting role he’s unfit for but to be a primary contributor. Reuben Tejada, the young shortstop asked to replace Jose Reyes if not in production than in position, did admirably by hitting .285 for the season with a .331 OBP, but the 22 year old frame hasn’t developed power yet, and should have been required to be no more than a 7th or 8th hitter at this stage of development. Instead he batted first or second for the majority of the season. He only spent one week at the 7th and 8th spot of the lineup. Only seven days. The fact that a rookie rarely hit at the back of the lineup should tell you all you need to know about the futility of the 2012 offense.
A popular argument on twitter is whether to credit or blame Sandy or Omar for the current troubles. It is no matter. Sandy Alderson has now been GM of this team for two seasons. He has made inroads in the minor leagues, the low farm has a ton of prospects. He has not traded away any young talent, instead hoarding them during this time, watching to see what the last of “Omar’s Farm Team” of Murphy, Tejada, Duda, Kirk Niewenhuis, Harvey, Edgin and in September Familia, Mejia, Carson can do. He knows that fans are excited to see Wheeler in 2013. He also should know fans are tired of waiting on the future. Fans do not Believe the future will become the present.
This offseason Sandy has to bring back Hope for the Mets. Not for 2014 or 2015 or 2016. Fans need to believe in 2013. The second wild card has opened possibilities. We know that a surprise can happen as we watch Baltimore and Oakland make the playoffs but Mets fans need to believe it can happen with the Mets. That 1969 wasn’t the first and last time. That’s why Sandy should use all his cards. Anyone not named Harvey and Wheeler is up for grabs. Do I want to see David Wright, Jon Niese, Ike Davis, or RA Dickey go? Of course not. However, do you think Oakland fans miss Gio Gonzalez today? Do you think Texas fans miss Mark Texeira. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made. If Sandy can make me believe in the NEW YORK METS TEAM by getting rid of one or more of those players, so be it. I’ll pack the bags.
2006 was six long years ago. A lot of fans have given Sandy some slack due to the lawsuit, the financial restraints, the Omar mistakes of Bay and Santana contracts. It’s now time to mark this team. It’s time to stop excusing and just accept what the team is. If it is a mid-market money team in a big market, so be it. Mid-market teams are competitive too. Mid-market teams can win championships, even with albatross contracts. Ask Barry Zito and the 2010 San Francisco Giants for confirmation.
We can chant “Let’s go Mets” at the 2012 Mets anymore. We Gotta Believe in 2013 starting tonight. Make that more than a catchphrase, Sandy. Find a way to get us to believe again in the New York Mets.
Posted By Robert Z