It has been a long time coming, but its realistic to think this could be the week the Mets finally turn the corner. Since arriving in Queens following the completion of the 2010 season, Sandy Alderson has done little more than cut the fat. Crippled by the bloated contracts issued by his predecessor, Omar Minaya, and a shoe-string budget courtesy of the poor investing decisions of team owner, Fred Wilpon, Sandy was left with few options. Addition by subtraction, along with rebuilding the team’s beleaguered farm system, became the motto of the team’s front office as under-performing players were jettisoned in an effort to lower payroll. Aspirations of championships were replaced by the idea that the team might be competitive should everything fall into place. All the while, fans were led to believe that it would only be a matter of time before the resurgence would come. That day may finally be upon us.
Entering the Winter Meetings, which start this morning in Nashville, the Mets will have a variety of routes at their disposal to secure the players they need. Having already settled the eight year contract extension of David Wright, worth just shy of $140 million, Sandy Alderson not only secured the team’s best player for the foreseeable future, he has also indicated that the Mets are on the verge of operating like the big market ballclub they are. Also working in the Mets’ favor is their excess of starting pitching. Whether it ends up being the reigning Cy Young winner, RA Dickey, or youngster Jon Niese, who is signed to a very team-friendly contract, someone probably won’t call Queens home by week’s end.
Whether you think trading away a solid starting pitcher is a good idea or not, the Mets are preparing to move forward. With as many as seven suitors for RA Dickey and in all likelihood just as many for Niese, the Mets may find themselves the beneficiary of a bidding war of sorts. With teams on that list like the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, who both possess some of the most sought after prospects in all of baseball, the Mets have to feel good about their chances this week.
Sandy Alderson and the Mets have trod water long enough. With the 2014 season pegged as the team’s return to legitimacy, the 2012 Winter Meetings seem an apropos time for things to take shape. That may mean the addition of a catcher, an outfielder or possibly both, but the time has arrived for the front office to start piecing things together. Trading away a key component such as Dickey or Niese won’t be enough. Other lesser known quantities, such as Jenrry Mejia, may also find themselves on the trading block this week. The Mets may dive into the free agent market to get what they need. The options seem endless, but for the first time in a along time, the Mets should be building towards the future, instead of doing their best to ease the pain of the past.
If things go as planned this week, all the waiting, the cost cutting and maybe even all the losses will begin paying dividends. Yes, the 2012 Winter Meetings are the place where this team can take the next step. The deconstruction of the team we once knew is complete. Let the rebuild officially begin. Make the moves necessary to begin down that path, and fans will find their way back to the ballpark this summer. The time has come. That time is now.
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