Rarely, if ever, has a team gone from 92 losses in a season to over 90 victories and a World Championship the following year. That is, however, what all Mets fans are fantasizing about for 2010. And with the way the Mets have played in June, expectations have risen, and demands on the team and management to play better and improve the roster have grown.
What’s happening is a good thing. Fans are excited again as the Mets play inspired ball on the field Team chemistry, sorely lacking in the past, has blasted off into the stratosphere. That is a far cry from last year’s disastrous season and the disappointments of the underachieving teams of 2007 and 2008. Citi Field will likely not turn into a morgue this summer. Instead it will be alive and abuzz with excitement. Tickets are in demand. I know because my season’s tickets are selling for full face value instead of 10 cents on the dollar as they were last year.
So what’s my angle in this post. The title infers some type of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. I’ll tell you that my excitement is tempered by the thought and fear that the Mets front office will blow their wad this year in hopes that the Mets will make the playoffs this year. And that these moves might inhibit the building of a great team for many years to come.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You don’t make major moves in hopes that they will make you good enough to make the playoffs. You don’t mortgage the future for the goal of simply making the playoffs. The time to make the big splash of a trade is when that move will catapult the team to the top of the heap of teams making the playoffs. In other words, you make a deal to make the team the favorite to make it all the way to the World Series.
I am actually confident that Omar is thinking the same way. Remember, he has traded nary a prospect during the last year. Omar is in a rebuilding mode and will hopefully not make the mistake of trading his top prospects for a short lived run in 2010.
That all said, the Mets can and should make moves to strengthen their pitching. But in my opinion it should not be a Cliff Lee rental at a high cost of prospects. Neither should it be a trade with a window for signing Lee to a four or five year extension. Haven’t we learned the lesson that long term deals for pitchers, even in their prime, but in their early thirties are too risky? Cliff Lee will be 32 years old this August. Thus a four or five year extension for $20 million a year would make him a highly paid Met through age 37. I say no to Cliff Lee as a rental or for the long term.
Mets fans have to hope that Johan Santana regains his form in the second half of the season. Otherwise, despite a major move, this team will not go deep into the playoffs. Also, let’s see Jason Bay start hitting, and Carlos Beltran return at full strength. That would be equivalent to two trade deadline moves that will improve the team significantly.
Yes, let’s get a starting pitcher. Roy Oswalt would be a great addition at a lesser cost; and maybe as good as Lee. He’d be a Met for 2011 too. If not Oswalt, Kevin Millwood would be a solid rental at almost no cost except a few million dollars. He can’t beat the Yankees and Red Sox. But my bet is that he can beat the National League teams with a bulls eye on the NL East’s contingents.
In my opinion, Ike Davis, Jenrry Mejia, Jon Niese and Reese Havens are the top prospects which are now untouchable. I want to see these players develop into stars for the Mets. Adding them to the core of Wright and Reyes is the team I want to be rooting for during the next five years.
Have patience until 2011. That’s what I’m aiming for. So Mets fans, we can hope for the playoffs this year. It’s not a fantasy anymore. But as far as winning it all; wait till next year!