The MMO fan base seems to be split recently. There’s a small group of people who are entirely unimpressed (to put it mildly) with Alderson and Co. for not spending money they don’t have on players that won’t help. There’s a seemingly larger group of fans who understand that this team, despite a new front office, is still Omar’s team, having no choice other than to play out the undeserving contracts awarded by Omar. Once this money is freed up, Sandy can take over as he sees fit. “Patience,” this group pleads. “Alderson’s Mets haven’t even played a game yet,” they say. To be brutally honest, Alderson’s Mets won’t play their first game till April 2nd, 2012. But I digress.
I belong to the latter group, the group that understands this isn’t fantasy baseball, this is real life, with real salary constraints, real contracts and real consequences when those contracts don’t pan out. But to what extent?
The most common question I read, and I myself have asked is, “well, what would YOU do?” The formers who subscribe to Omar’s cash band-aids complain about the stagnant nature of this off season and the latters respond with “well, what would YOU do?” It’s usually met with blank stares.
“Patience,” this latter group pleads. “Alderson’s Mets haven’t even played a game yet,” they say.
But how long will that last? How long can Mets fans wait for the team to turn it around? Obviously, Sandy needs at least one year. But is he given two years? Three? Long enough for his draft picks to decidedly fail or flourish? The Mets will play out the 2011 season, win their share of games, probably lose slightly more often, or possibly surprise some people. But as far as I’m concerned, as soon as the last out of the World Series is recorded, with Terry Collins likely on the 14th green, 2012 begins and Sandy has nothing to fall back on. Now he’s under the gun.
So I ask those that preach patience, “well, what would YOU do?”
Look, I know it’s virtually impossible to answer that question withthe calendar still in 2010, so this time I can understand the blank stares. Will Jose Reyes be a Met? I think that depends solely on Jose Reyes. Will Pagan play like he had his entire career, or will he play like the 2010 Pagan? Will Johan undergo his 43rd straight off season surgery, or will he finally be healthy for Opening Day? Will Ike and Thole progress, or regress? Will K-Rod see his option vest? Would the Mets receive a major league-ready player in return for Beltran if they trade him? And that’s only some of the questions within the organization. Will Prince Albert be a free agent? Will the Mariners lose 100 games for the third time in four years and field offers for Felix Hernandez?
The free agent market looks to once again be pretty slim, with very few position players likely seeing the open market piquing my interest (Kelly Johnson, Pujols if he’s not extended, Grady Sizemore if his option isn’t picked up). There are a handful of starters that look interesting, as well, including Mark Buehrle, maybe Chris Carpenter under the right circumstances, Edwin Jackson and CJ Wilson. There is some quality there, if not much quantity.
Pleading patience will only get you so far. About eleven months or so. After that, there are no more excuses. Money will be available and smart decisions need to be made. The Mets have the 13th pick in the 2011 draft and they’ll need to at least entertain the thought of going over slot. Improving via free agency will be difficult, but not impossible. But whatever Sandy’s plan or direction, it needs to be clear and move the team forward after next year. If not, he doesn’t get a pass from me.