Patience Has Its Price, But Striking Early Has Its Rewards

Outfielder Collin Cowgill - As good as it gets?
Outfielder Collin Cowgill – As good as it gets?

Although finding a power hitter, particularly one who could man an outfield spot and bat righthanded, was one of the Mets top priorities this offseason, the strategy of waiting the market out has proved futile. Unless upgrading the outfield was never the priority that the front office wanted us to believe it was, lets call this a failure of execution.

The irony of it is that according to MLB Trade Rumors, the top available power hitter that is still on the market is old friend, Scott Hairston. Using ISO, MLBTR ranks the remaining power bats as follows:

  1. Scott Hairston – .241 ISO
  2. Adam LaRoche – .238
  3. Luke Scott & Travis Hafner – both .210
  4. Kelly Shoppach – .192
  5. Yuniesky Betancourt – .172
  6. Brandon Inge – .165
  7. Miguel Olivo – .159
  8. Scott Rolen – .153

The list of remaining righthanded outfielders offers no options that one would consider an upgrade.

  1. Jeff Baker
  2. Matt Diaz
  3. Ben Francisco
  4. Scott Hairston
  5. Austin Kearns
  6. Darnell McDonald
  7. Delmon Young

The likelihood of trading for an outfielder that would constitute an upgrade is also very remote considering how dear the Mets consider their prospects.

The other priorities this offseason, as outlined by Sandy Alderson, also included a third bullpen revamp and addressing the catcher.

The bullpen has also seen no activity, and while we upgraded the catcher with a top prospect who has yet to taste the majors, it did cost the Mets their staff ace and the most elite pitcher in the organization.

Coincidentally, Frank Wren, the GM of the Braves, announced to fans a near identical list of offseason objectives for the 2013 season. His mission was to add a catcher, an outfielder and another reliable bullpen arm. Before the end of November he added Gerald Laird, B.J. Upton and traded for Jordan Walden. Mission accomplished.

I haven’t rendered a judgement yet on Alderson’s offseason – with about four weeks remaining, it’s still too early for that. But unless he pulls a rabbit out of his hat in the next few weeks, based on Alderson’s stated goals and objectives for this offseason, his final grade for this offseason may not be a passing one.

In the end it validates what I said back in September and that was to say that fans shouldn’t put any credence into the dog and pony show we heard on WFAN – that there would be no significant changes to the 2012 team  – and that 2013 would probably not see upgrades at outfield, catcher and relief.

The Mets’ GM asserted that after two years of evaluating the team and players, they were now ready to transform the 2013 roster into their vision of a team that would contend for the post season.

It was a riveting interview with a message that resonated with many fans, but as I’ve said many times before, never believe anything an Ivy League lawyer says when his lips are moving.

We haven’t upgraded anything in the bullpen or in the outfield, and it might take a couple of years to see if we even upgraded at catcher – and even so it cost the team their most valuable player and trade chip. So in a best case scenario it’s a wash.

The reality is that the 2013 team will most likely lose more games than either the 2011 and 2012 teams. They’ve lost their best pitcher, and for now, last season’s second best slugger is gone too and has yet to be replaced. Any hope for a post season appearance this season is riding on a wing and a prayer.

About Joe D 7964 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.