Depth Is Not The Mets Strength

An article by posted on March 24, 2012

Ever since losing the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 when they were destined to win, it seems the Mets have been a snake-bitten franchise.

The collapses of 2007-08, the injury plagued years from 2009-11 and of course the Madoff ponzi scheme have marred the past few years for this franchise.

The combination of injuries and the lack of spending power have meant that the organization simply has had to move forward with what it has.

First off, injuries happen to every team every year, but the Mets have had an uncanny amount the last few years. The problem is that the team has lacked depth for other guys to fill in at the Major League level.

Now, these are all Major League players we’re talking about. Many of us fans can only dream about making our big league debuts, but for these players, it has become a reality.

But based on the lack of depth, some guys who either aren’t ready for big league action or simply are not as talented have been thrust into extended action.

The whole point of having a minor league system is to have someone ready if a player on the big league roster gets hurt. Of course, it’s also to develop young prospects, but that’s why there are many levels in each organization.

Just look at the situation this year. The team hasn’t had the funds to bring in any high-priced talent, and it decided not to bring in any role-type players to compete for spots. All the players the team brought in basically assumed a spot on the roster.

That’s all fine, if they all stay healthy. But already Andres Torres is dealing with injury, and here’s where the lack of depth comes in.

If Torres misses time (which it’s too early to tell just yet, but I’m just using him as an example), who plays center field? Jason Bay said he would shift over, but he needs to worry more about his offensive production rather than trying to cover the expansive Citi Field gaps—even with the fence reduction.

Prospects like Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker are said to still need some time to develop in the minors. Even the name of middle infield prospect Jordany Valdespin has been thrown out there.

Here lies the problem: There’s no middle ground. If the guy on the big league level goes down, there are really only unseasoned prospects to fill in. Scott Hairston would be an option, but he’s hurt too. What is going on with this team!

I have always been an advocate of letting the young guys play if the situation is right. If a guy can be called up and fly under the radar for a few weeks as he gets his legs under him, that’s great. But if he’s looked upon as a major run producer immediately, that pressure is never good.

Depth is a major concern for the Mets moving forward. Hopefully, if the money issues are somewhat behind them, that can be something Alderson and company address over the next few years.

The roster may only be made up of 25 players at a time, but it’s imperative that the higher levels of the organization have players that can step right into action.

About the Author ()

Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit http://www.jimmancari.com/

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