July was a terrible month for Mets fans. After exiting the All Star break primed for a post season run, the season has spiraled out of control. Poor pitching, compounded by poorer execution at the plate and shotty defense have seen the Mets post season dreams, along with those of fans, shattered in short order. Understandably this has left the roster frustrated and the fanbase angry, but I’m happy to see that the front office didn’t stray from its plan.
If you want to say that Sandy Alderson should have made a trade to aid the bullpen in late June or early July, it’d be difficult to argue with you. The Mets have had the worst pen for the large majority of the season, so change was necessary. However, I’m yet to see anyone propose a realistic scenario where the Mets could have acquired a reliever in a not yet developed trade market. Due to the second Wild Card spot, there weren’t nearly as many sellers as in previous years. Even fewer who were prepared to throw in the towel in late June, when the Mets really needed help, will have certainly effected Alderson’s options, but again it’s hard to argue that a move wasn’t needed at that time.
Fast forward a month and although the Mets find themselves out of playoff contention, fans were still seeking change. Trade Hairston.. trade Turner.. for the love of God trade someone! Fans have correctly determined that this group of players aren’t going to reach the promised land, but fail to acknowledge change for the sake of change may not be the proper course of action either.
One trend that appears consistent amongst Mets fans is the tendency to overvalue our own players. With the exception of Wright and Dickey, and to a lesser extent Niese and Tejada, the Mets didn’t have any players with a trade value high enough to return a Major League caliber prospect. Fans must not only accept that fact, but also realize that just because the front office was contacted with regards to Scott Hairston doesn’t mean a player was offered in return who could of helped the Mets in the near future. If such a trade couldn’t yield that type of return, why bother?
Trading away bench players is not the answer. Trading away bench players who will likely find their way on to the 2013 roster for peanuts certainly isn’t. Sandy Alderson still has plenty of heavy lifting to do in terms of turning this roster over, however I still believe much of that work has to be completed in the offseason. There were no moves to be made this summer, that had the capability to reshape the franchise. If fringe players were sent packing, it would have been change for the sake of change and that’s not the way any general manager should do business.
The end of the 2012 season will mark the second on Alderson’s watch to end in disappointment. It’s a trend which can’t continue. While many fans appear fed up now, I believe it will be this upcoming offseason that defines Sandy’s legacy for better or worse. Another winter of low profile additions, culminating with the Spring Training cut of Jason Bay won’t, and shouldn’t, be enough to put this team in position to move forward next year. If that’s how the future plays out, fans will be well within their right to be upset. However as the Mets trudge into August, being upset about a dormant trade deadline is little more than wasted energy and misplaced frustration. Alderson has played the cards he’s been dealt since arriving in Queens, this time there was no move to be made whether you like it or not.