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.
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.
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.
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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