The magical 2013 season, where answers turned to questions

New York Mets fans knew heading into this season that 2013 was not goal.  It was not the end of the tunnel.  The front office and ownership could spin things however they wanted, but fans weren’t naive enough to look at the opening day roster and say ‘we got a chance to win the whole damn thing this season.’  So with that we trudged on and bought into a bigger plan, one focused on the not-so-distant future.  It wasn’t an easy sell for ownership as the fan base has been forced to endure what can only be considered a disappointing turn in fortune for the franchise in recent years.  Still, the wrong or warn out pieces were being removed and the right pieces put into place.  Those shiny new pieces were enough to make the promises seem real, even to the most skeptical of fans.

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Photo by Michael G. Baron

The problem is, as 2013 progressed, just as quickly as questions were turned into answers, they were turned right back into questions.  Heading into the year we all collectively wondered if Matt Harvey was as good as his 2012 audition suggested and if he could be the ace this staff so desperately needed him to be with Johan Santana sure to be out of the picture and R.A. Dickey dealt North of the boarder.  Would Bobby Parnell EVER put it all together and be the type of closer that recent free agent additions like Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch never could be?  Is Daniel Murphy good enough to be the answer at second base?   Will Ike Davis retain the form he showed in the second half of 2012 and prove to be the long term solution for New York at first base?  So many questions in what looked to be an never ending test, but as the season moved on the answers came.  Some answers were more resounding than others and some told us exactly what we wanted to hear, while others were less definitive or less pleasing to the ears.

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Matt Harvey is not only capable of being an ace for the Mets, he may very well be one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  David Wright is your captain and third basemen, Bobby Parnell is your closer, Daniel Murphy is your second baseman, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda are not part of the plan, Ike Davis is Ike Davis and nobody really knows exactly what that means.  Good, bad, or indifferent there were finally some answers off which the team could build on heading into the future, a future that includes Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee behind Matt Harvey and leading to Bobby Parnell.  ’The Plan’ was no longer just something management said to buy time, it had taken shape and while their were still some holes to fill, they were identifiable and the resources to get the job done appeared to be at hand.

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Photo by Michael G. Baron

Then, as if to almost spite fans for thinking they knew the answers, injury befalls Parnell, Wright, and oh yeah, Matt Harvey.  As if that weren’t enough, throw Ike Davis (who was once again putting together a very solid second half of the season) on the list and fans can do nothing but sit back and scratch their heads.  Will Harvey pitch in 2014?  Will he and Parnell elect to undergo surgery?  Does the team move on from Ike Davis?  Do all these new questions cause the team to alter its plans for 2014, one which clearly involved adding to a surgically trimmed down payroll heading into this free agency period.

If you didn’t know any better you’d think this was all a punchline to a bad joke, but the circumstances are real and it’s up to Sandy Alderson and ownership to provide new answers, even if they’re different from what they envisioned in the past, because going back to the uncertainty that filled the past couple of years is simply not an option.

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  • Reese Kaplan

    I’m sick of the Ike Davis apologists. In what universe was Ike Davis’ second half worthy of starting, let alone a middle of the order position? He was hitting in the .250s with no run production since his recall. Hell, Duda was better than that before his demotion (power wise anyway) and he doesn’t belong in the starting lineup either.

  • JRobotham

    I agree Reese, I stopped pretending that he was the answer and just needed the time to prove it. Truth be told I don’t know if he’s a .220 hitter with the potential for 20 homers or a .260 hitter with the potential for 40. I’m not sure anyone knows, especially the Mets, and I think that’s what scares them the most. What if they let this kid go and he puts it all together for another team. I don’t see anything wrong with that and wouldn’t hold it against the front office for moving on, but they’ll always be those fans that will call them impatient and say the pulled the plug too soon. Just can’t please everyone, but I think the team needs to be decisive either way so that they know if this is yet another new question that needs to be answered.

  • Reese Kaplan

    Two words regarding Ike Davis – Kevin Maas. Remember him? He came up and the Yankees hyped him as the next big thing and after showing some power for a few years he was out of baseball?

    What I don’t understand is Collins’ unabashed favoritism/doghouse mentality when it comes to certain players. Turner is the son he never had while Lagares sat on the bench behind the mighty Rick Ankiel, Captain Kirk and “Less” Cowgill. What he does to rookies is abominable — batting them 8th with no protection — and he only plays them when his back is against the wall and he has no other choice (unless his name is Valdespin and in that case in 2012 he didn’t play him at all for 4 consecutive days).

    How much toll will this season take on Rice’s arm? How many times will he do that lefty/righty thing where he burns 2-4 pitchers in an inning? Why do proven mediocrities get second, third and 50th chances while young players who don’t hit in their first game or two are shelved? Why is Dice-K even on the team, let alone getting another start? In case Alderson hasn’t noticed, Darin Gorski has pitched only 91 Innings this season and at age 25 has turned in a 1.85 ERA?

    While I’m no fan of Duda, he’s hit over .300 as a first baseman. Can Ike Davis say that? He’s also hit for power there. I’d keep him around if at close to minimum wage unless uncharacteristically they’re going to make a realistic run at Jose Abreu. I figure Murphy or Flores is a goner in a deal for an outfielder or shortstop.

  • JRobotham

    I’ve long wondered what this team has against Gorski????? Is it because he doesn’t hit the mid-90′s on the radar gun?

    I also agree that their lack of recent interest in international talent is concerning and it would be nice to see them break out of that funk and make a run at someone like Abreu. Maybe that’s why they tried to increase their cap space in that area during the season?