Jayson Stark of ESPN had a feature yesterday and may have some of you feeling a little uncomfortable as he attempts to dissect the Mets season and offer a sneak peak into the future, which he believes is quite bleak.
Their season hasn’t just been a disappointment. It’s been a Freddy Krueger movie. But at least there’s one good thing those fast-sinking New York Mets can say about their 2009 horror show: It’s almost over.
The trouble with that, though, is this: As soon as this lost season is over, it will be time to contemplate a question almost equally scary: Then what?
Yesterday, I included a quote in one of my blogs from Jerry Manuel, who acknowledged the Mets have to rebuild. Omar, it seems, has also come to grips with that fact. We’ve been saying it on this site since June, but it’s good to see the Mets now douse them selves with this unfortunate reality.
“I think it’s a challenge,” he said. “But I’ve dealt with challenges before. I had to build the Montreal Expos situation from scratch. That was a challenge. When I came here to New York in 2004, that was a challenge. So I’ve dealt with challenges before, and we’ll work very hard to deal with this challenge.”
When pressed about the specifics of that challenge, Minaya wasn’t anxious to go into a whole lot of details. Matter of fact, he wasn’t anxious to go into any details. About as far as he was willing to go was an acknowledgment that “we have to be very creative and very open-minded about how we put this team together for next year.” And he’s sure right about that.
Stark spoke with several baseball people, scouts and execs, and included several of their quotes regarding the Mets:
• “You look at their team and think, ‘What does the next three or four years hold?’ and it’s not real pretty,” said one American League executive.
• “There’s no quick fix out there for them,” said a National League executive. “They’ve got to rebuild half the team on the field and the whole damn [starting] pitching staff.”
• “They’ve got no choice but to rebuild,” said an official of an AL team. “It’s hard to do in New York, but they’ve got to bite the bullet for a couple of years and redevelop their system. I don’t see that team as being a free agent or two away. I know that.”
• “They should probably get rid of the general manager and a lot of the people who have been there, and go in another direction completely,” said a longtime NL scout. “Just blow it up. But I’m not sure how. They’ve got a lot of players that people don’t want, guys who are making a lot of money, and they’re overpaid. And there’s not a whole lot in their system. So unless they outspend their mistakes, they’ve put themselves in a hole for maybe the next six to eight years.”
• “That system is a mess,” said one NL executive. “They’re going to have to have a complete organizational, philosophical direction change.”
• “That’s not a good system,” said an AL exec. “The good prospects they do have are a long ways away. They don’t have depth in their system or on their roster.”
Then of course, Stark sums it all up with one question:
But after a season like this — and the two painful finishes that preceded it — can these Mets really take the approach that if they just tweak the roster a little and get everyone healthy, they’ll be OK?
I was glad to see that Stark offered some solutions as well, and one of them sounded a lot like something I referred to yesterday.
Interestingly, there were as many suggestions that the Mets ought to try changing pitching coaches as suggestions that they need a new front office. Dave Duncan’s name came up. Former Seattle and Arizona pitching coach Bryan Price’s name came up. Even the name of the Mets’ old pitching coach, Rick Peterson, came up — all in the spirit of giving this group a chance to hear a different voice. As one NL exec put it, “The best addition might not be who’s doing the flinging, but the guy doing the teaching.”
The article is a must read for Mets fans, and I urge you to read the full story which is quite extensive and chock full of information and fixes too. Let me know what you think…
Are things really that bleak? Or are they just somewhere between bad and not so bad?