Enjoying the Focus on Today…and Tomorrow

At 55-51, the New York Mets are playing their best baseball of the 2011 season. This is without Carlos Beltran or Frankie Rodriguez. Two players that when they were dealt, some claimed this was a white flag from management.

There are two sides to Ya Gotta Believe in 2011. To me, I enjoy watching this team very much. In fact, I probably haven’t enjoyed watching a Mets team this much since 2005 or 2006. (2006 I felt spoiled, 2005 was a fun year for me.)

To add to that, I’ve probably never felt as confident in a front office since then.

I enjoy the fact that the Mets management is not totally selling every piece they have, but selling the parts they can afford to sell while sustaining a winning mindset on the field. Any way you want to spin it, the Mets needed to deal Rodriguez and Beltran. The future of the Mets counted on the cost savings of dealing Rodriguez, and the prospect they got in return for Beltran.

Some believed the Mets could never get a top prospect for Beltran. But they did. We can try and say they should have got more, but the truth is, they got a pitcher that many believe will be a front line starter when he hits his potential. What more can you ask for a rental deal? With as many teams that were in the mix for Beltran, Wheeler was clearly the best prospect available. Quality over Quantity clearly won out here. I never disliked Beltran, but I’m happy this move worked out for everybody involved.

Now, the Mets lead by Terry Collins are not hanging their heads. Alderson wanted to hire Collins, and during the process a lot of critics were down on Alderson for even holding a “hiring campaign,” because they felt he wanted Collins all along. Minaya brought Collins into the organization, but he didn’t give Collins the most important job of all. At some point, an Alderson critic needs to submit to the fact that this team is playing very hard, and the man who hired the Manager for that role, has to be commended.

You have to consider that Rodriguez was dealt, and since then the Mets have not really felt the effects of life without him in the closer role.

They didn’t give up. They multi-tasked. There’s a difference between giving up and multi-tasking. Every GM in Alderson’s position should be able to focus on both the present and the future.

I thought early on that trading Reyes would be a good idea, but I also said I think they should only do this if the return was greater than 2 draft picks. It’s going to be a tough decision for Reyes. The Mets will make him a fair offer, so whether he is here or not is really up to him.

I like the idea that we have a front office planning for the future, while not giving up on the present. Will every decision they make be the best decision possible? No. I’m sure they will make mistakes. Wheeler could be a bust, but it’s a risk you have to take. I’m confident that every move they make is what they feel is in the best interest of the health of this franchise.

I like the idea that Dillon Gee has emerged has a 4/5 type starter. He and Jon Niese could be fixtures in this rotation for the next 5+ years, and that is very exciting. I like that Daniel Murphy’s bat is proving Mike Francesa wrong every day, and adding value to my Mets player tee that I purchased in August of 2008. I love that Jose Reyes is emerging as the leader and player we ALL hoped he would become. I just hope it’s not too late, and that he is understanding of the Mets need to give him a reasonable contract, and not an over the top one.

David Wright is hitting .459 since coming back from his injury, showing everybody that maybe that injury was the reason for his sluggish start.

Reyes, Murphy, Turner, Wright, Gee, Niese, Beato, Parnell and of course Ike make up a very enjoyable core of young talent for this team to build around. Sure, there is work to be done, but they are in a good place.

This team could make a push for the wildcard, and the fact Alderson will not sell the farm for a longshot is something I appreciate as a fan. Selling for a longshot is exactly why Scott Kazmir was traded. We don’t need to go down that road again. A longshot, is still a shot. Right now, they are playing like that shot is a realistic goal and that’s the best thing possible for fans.

Do I think they are a better team than Atlanta? No. But with the injury to McCann, I think its possible this team can close the gap while he’s away. I continue to root for the team on the field, and continue to appreciate the direction the franchise is going. Isn’t that your job as a fan? What’s the point in being negative about everything?

Nobody really knows what the Mets plan to do in the off-season. A lot of assumptions are being thrown out there, but I see no point in speculating until we see how the Reyes negotiation really goes. For all of the talk about how little Alderson is spending, the guys he obtained this year are playing a very vital role in this team’s success. For every Emaus, Alderson can counter with a Beato. For every Hu, he counters with Paulino. For every Young, he counters with Capuano. To say there was no focus on “today,” is just unfair to Alderson and the Mets.

The idea that this team is winning in spite of anything is foolish to me. Everybody in that clubhouse knew Beltran and K-Rod would be dealt no matter what. They are playing this well because they have a Manager who brings out the best in them every night, and they have a roster that is finally learning to play with one another. Players we had hoped would be leaders years ago, are finally stepping into that role. Players understand the business side of things, and that the money saved on a guy like Rodriguez can be better used in the future to make this team better for years to come.

Ignoring the Mets financial situation this winter, and criticizing Alderson for his lack of spending is foolish. He did the best he could with the funds he had. What more can you ask? Finding affordable talent on a slim budget is something not every GM can do.

I think it’s possible that the Mets go out and add a bullpen arm prior to the deadline, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m not going to walk to Citi Field with a burning torch.

I’m enjoying the 2011 season in every way, and if the Mets are playing meaningful games into September, then I’d consider all of us as Mets fans to be lucky and appreciative for the focus on “now”, while not giving up on “tomorrow.”

About Michael Branda 267 Articles
Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.