With pitchers and catchers just days away, Mets fans are wondering if their team has a chance at contending or if the small lines at Shake Shack will be the only reason they attend Citi Field in 2013.
General Manager Sandy Alderson has given more than just burgers and fries to satisfy hungry Mets fans so far. The 65 year-old Alderson has managed to completely overhaul a relatively barren farm system leftover by Omar Minaya. Timely trades of Carlos Beltran’s balky knees and R.A. Dickey’s enigmatic pitch have landed the Mets two of the top ten prospects in all of baseball, according to MLB.com.
The pair of Travis D’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler have about 500+ minor league games between them so it’s not unrealistic to expect the future of the Metropolitans to arrive some time during the beginning of May.
Despite showing an affinity for bolstering the Mets farm system, Alderson has done little to aide his thin depth at the Major League level. Talks continue to swirl about the chances of bringing in Michael Bourn, but the speedy outfielder seems a bit too expensive for the Mets bland tastes. Bourn is represented by Scott Boras, which means a deal with such a stringent financial organization like the Mets is unlikely. Boras has made his mark in baseball with his innate ability to wrangle up a mystery team to drive up bidding wars. Just ask fans how Oliver Perez got a $36 million deal after reaching 15 wins only once in his career. In addition to Bourn’s crafty agent, the Mets may stand to lose their formally protected first-round draft pick. After the Pittsburg Pirates failed to sign their draft pick last season, the Pirates were placed as the 10th pick in the following year’s draft. This effectively bumped the Mets from their 10th spot, leaving their pick unprotected and their chances at signing a restrictive free agent slim to none. The Mets can’t afford to lose a top ten draft pick for a 30-year-old outfielder, who most likely is on the backend of his career.
The Mets braintrust seems be content with giving out a bunch of minor league deals to underperforming outfielders like Corey Patterson, Mike Wilson and former Phillies prospect Marlon Byrd. With the Nationals only getting better and the Braves forming arguably the best outfield in baseball with the Upton brothers, the Mets moves and lack of financial commitment to winning speaks volumes on how the front office views the 2013 season. It seems that the outfield the Mets will be bringing to Citi Field will be bereft of proven major league talent with the cast of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and local product Mike Baxter.
While their outfielders are unimpressive to say the least, the bullpen may prove to be equally as inept. The Mets went from the third worst bullpen in 2011 to the second worst in 2012. This trend will only continue with the amount of question marks that continue to populate the relief corps. The unit is lead by Frank Francisco, the man that is doing a great job of continuing the long line of shaky closers for the New York Metropolitans. Many folks are banking on Bobby Parnell, but he is lacking secondary pitches. Brandon Lyon is rumored to be close to inking a deal with the Mets, but even if that is true the Mets are still a few good pitchers away from being an even mediocre bullpen.
Young talent may prove to be quite the appetizer for the Flushing Faithful, but it cannot possibly replace the succulent-gratifying taste that accompanies a winning team. Losing 20 home runs from Scott Hairston and another 20-game winner in Dickey off of this 74-win team doesn’t help their chances either. By all accounts this will be another year that Mets fans will be trapped in the purgatory that most call “the rebuilding mode.”