Hope Is Not A Strategy

An article by posted on November 9, 2011

Sandy Alderson was brought in here as a fixer, to clean up the mess created by the Wilpon’s financial mess and years of mismanagement on the GM level.

Since the Mets’ last World Series appearance in 2000, they have been about quick fixes. They never had a chance at Alex Rodriguez, which is just as well, but Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn were quick fix and gimmick signings. Ditto Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez. The thinking was that signing big names past their prime might create interest among a listless fan base and perhaps entice other players to come to New York.

Carlos Beltran said Martinez caught his attention, and for a brief window known as 2006, it appeared to work.

However, the Mets let their bullpen unravel after that season and in 2007 came the collapse. Things have been in a downward spiral since. Good money was thrown away after bad and the expensive acquisitions of of Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez came at the expense of building a young, talented core.

All were thought, to some degree, as being the missing piece, but in hindsight, there were just too many of those missing pieces. They did create, however, some excitement and anticipation. They created an illusion of progress.

The Mets’ payroll continued to spiral out of control without procuring the necessary talented. The team did not draft or trade well, and coupled with injuries and poor performance, they are staring at rock bottom.

Alderson was brought in at the urging of Commissioner Bud Selig to fix the mess – which explains why MLB is in no hurry to get back its $25 million loan – and it starts with the shedding of payroll.

A team often gets rid of its expensive pieces before it prepares itself for sale, and it is not out of the question that this is a possibility despite the Mets’ public cries to the contrary. We will never know if the Wilpons decide to sell until after the Ponzi mess created by Bernie Madoff passes. (I wonder who will play Fred and Jeff Wilpon in the movie).

One of those expensive pieces is Jose Reyes and another is David Wright. I see no hope of retaining Reyes, but I also see why Alderson is sticking to the pretext of being competitive and eventually make an offer.

There’s no way Alderson will publicly kiss Reyes good-bye while the team is trying to sell season tickets for next year. To give up on 2012 before Thanksgiving is bad business.

Realistically, without Reyes – assuming a healthy version – and the probability of not having Santana, along with their horrid pitching staff, there’s no realistic expectations of the Mets competing for at least another three years.

Hopefully, in three years the Mets’ finances will be resolved, and they will be without the burdensome contracts of Bay and Santana. In that time span perhaps Reyes will have broken down and the Mets could gleam some vindication with that prospect. Wright could also be gone. Maybe some of those young pitchers in the minors will pan out.

All that is a lot to hope for.

Can anybody really say what the Mets might look like by then? The Mets will still be here by then, but how many of you will have the same passion for them?

To think they will be anything representative before then is being naive.

Thoughts From Joe D. – I get the feeling that there’s always a dark cloud over the Mets. We used to be such an optimistic fanbase, but the last few years including this one has seen a divided (and divisive) fan base.

You have some fans that just lean back and will simply wait five more years to be competitive, and those who say 25 years is long enough.

I said this before, but I have no idea what Alderson’s strategy is. He doesn’t speak plainly enough for me. Ironically, I know exactly what Ruben Amaro Jr.’s strategy is as well as Mike Rizzo from the Nats. Mostly because they both recently came right out and said it. In case you haven’t heard, both are focused on going to the playoffs in 2012, and just for good measure, Davey Johnson echoed his GM’s stated goal a few days later.

I wish I knew what Sandy Alderson meant when he said the Mets plan was not punting in 2012.

I asked two of my writers Robert and Clayton to tell me what they thought it meant… I asked two other Mets sites what they thought… I asked two followers on Twitter as well… Their responses were as follows:

  • It means we’re not going for it on 4th down – 1
  • It means I haven’t kept up with the latest metaphors – 1
  • I haven’t a clue – 4
  • It means the Mets are contending in 2012 – 0

I voted for the last to which one Tweep said: The problem with most fans and obviously you are one of them is you believe PR bull****. I can see through it for what it really is. Thanks to Lou for that.

It’s hard to get pumped up when you don’t know where your going. Being told we are going in a different direction isn’t enough for me. If the Titanic had not changed directions things might have been different. We changed the names on some doors in the executive offices, but I still don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

What if Familia, Wheeler and Harvey turn out to be Pelfrey, Maine and Perez? Those were a first rounder, a top ranked pitching prospect, and a highly touted IFA who all came up with high hopes too. There are dozens more examples than just those three…

How far is hope going to carry us? What kind of strategy is hope?

Just some food for thought…

About the Author ()

I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 25 years, including 15 in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and a Senior Editor for MetsmerizedOnline.com.

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