They’re not faster than a speeding bullet, they don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they do possess powers well beyond the comprehension of most. At least, that’s what Mets fans are hoping. I mean with no significant additions being made to a roster that has already lost two of the more valuable contributors (Takahashi and Feliciano) from a dismal 2010 campaign, where else can fans lay their hopes for the 2011 season? Faith must fall into the waiting arms of our beloved Metsecutives.
From a fans standpoint, there seem to be two popular sides to the fence this offseason; those willing to buy into the principle of ‘uncompromising patience’ that is being preached by the front office and those that want the team to spend big now, in the near future, and the distant future. The frustration felt by one side is as understandable as the approach taken by the other. Though the teams payroll is right around where it routinely is, the failure to spend more in order to potentially win more is a concept many ticket-buying fans have a hard time grasping. Given the amount of money associated with attending a game and the willingness of the Mets most hated rivals to adjust their budget to accommodate their ‘win at all cost’ attitude, can you really blame some folks for feeling this way?
I’m not saying an $X million payroll equals 70 wins and $X+1 million = 90 wins, but it’s hard to argue that the Mets would not be a better team this coming season if they went out and spent a little more money this winter. That spending could have ranged anywhere from one of the mega-contracts handed out to Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee to some of the high quality bullpen help that was available (i.e. Scott Downs, Jesse Crain, Joaquin Benoit, Bobby Jenks, or Matt Guerrier). The high priced shopping, however, just wasn’t in the works and the club even let two of their best relievers walk when BIG market teams swooped in and handed pricey deals to Hisanori Takahashi and Pedro Feliciano.
So while the rest of the division stocked up with big name free agents like Cliff Lee, Javier Vazquez, and Jayson Werth and other NL teams found creative ways to bring aboard bonafide all-stars such as Zack Greinke and Dan Uggla, the Mets plucked away at the bargain bin, much to the dismay of some of their fans. Instead of looking at some new names on the field in 2011 the Mets faithful are stuck staring at new suits and ties in the front office. Yet as infuriating as all of this sounds, I think it has been the right way to go. Check that, I think it’s the only way to go. Most of the above contracts came with dollar amounts that were surprisingly high and even if that’s what the market dictated today, markets change, something New Yorkers know oh too well.
That’s not to say I didn’t slam my keyboard when I saw the Phillies were getting Cliff Lee (let’s just say I’m typing this post from a borrowed laptop) or that I buy into the idea that “you may be better than us today but just wait till tomorrow.” Saying the Phillies will eventually regret the contracts of guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Lee in 5 years reminds me of when Kramer removed the dessicates from those clothes at Putumayo; “I mean, without dessicates, those clothes will be noticeably musty in five years.” Well, at least we have THAT to look forward to Mr. Pennypacker. For now I just believe there is a bigger change that needs to first take place and it’s one the front office can oversee. All sense of entitlement and job security needs to be erased while a new atmosphere driven by professionalism and accountability is created. Lastly, everyone needs to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Forget that last part, but I’m sure that’s where everyone thought I was heading.
In all seriousness, the one place where the team seemingly excelled last year was in the clubhouse (not the players lounge….thanks for nothing K-Rod). There is a group of young players that have come up together within the organization (Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese, and Bobby Parnell) to join more tenured Mets that traveled the same path (David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Mike Pelfrey). As for the ‘outsiders’, nobody will ever question the work ethic of guys like Angel Pagan, R.A. Dickey, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, and Johan Santana. There’s something to be said for team chemistry and that is the one thing that, under the right management, I think can really drive this organization. Sure there are guys like Oliver Perez, who much like Kenny Powers tried to harness his old self in the Mexican league, but unlike ‘El Flamo Blanco’ failed miserably. But Alderson has already set the tone by saying performance will dictate a players spot on the team, be it this coming Spring for guys like Ollie and Luis Castillo, or down the road for guys seeking extensions, such as Jose Reyes.
So for me, that’s where I will lay my hopes for 2011. I choose to believe that The Metsecutives, walking as if right out of the intro to ‘Reservoir Dogs‘, will make changes behind the scenes that will eventually translate to success on the field. I choose to believe that when the time is right the money will be spent in bundles and the prudence demonstrated today will pay off tomorrow. I enjoy Sandy’s superhuman ability to let you know just how smart he is without actually coming out and saying it. Alderson, together with the analytical mind of Paul DePodesta and the passionate eye of J.P. Ricciardi, is on a mission to conquer evil and rid the world of wrongdoing……..or at least bring the Mets back to respectability and eventual glory. Yeah, the latter part will due just fine, we can leave the rest to Tom Cruise.
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