After an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the lowly Miami Marlins and a loss to begin the Nats series, the Mets find themselves on pace for just 66 wins and 96 losses which would amount to their worst season in a full decade. Certainly there is time for such grim propositions to change, but with fans already checking out at the idea of yet another lost season, the Mets’ problems are much deeper than their record to date.
Two months into the 2013 campaign, Sandy Alderson’s patchwork roster has yielded many more questions than answers. By all accounts, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Bobby Parnell and maybe Daniel Murphy have secured their spots on the roster going forward. Thought to be roster locks before the season started, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada now find themselves in a special sort of limbo that would have seen each demoted long ago if better options were available. Everyone else, to include Jon Niese and Lucas Duda, finds themselves expendable.
You see, the biggest problem with the Mets right now isn’t their record, its the fact that they’re not progressing. The 2013 season wasn’t supposed to be about winning the World Series or even winning the division, it was about simply taking the next step towards relevance. The blueprint called for playing out the season, allowing the youngsters to arrive when it was their time, and then supplementing the roster with free agents when the books cleared this upcoming winter. That was the plan, but yet again things have changed.
The Mets unfortunate start to this season has done more than open holes to fill going forward. Thus far, the team has averaged more than 1,300 fewer fans per game and SNY viewership is down over 20%. We can only expect those numbers to worsen as the situation grows more dire. In fact, with nothing but the promotion of prospects to draw fans to the ballpark, it should make us wonder what impact this season may have on ownership’s ability to spend this winter, regardless of how much money is coming off the books.
Is this speculation? Sure. However, as things continue to get worse instead of better, so too does the possibility of Sandy Alderson turning this ship around. While he has excelled when it comes to maximizing value via trade, he is yet to show the ability to draw the big free agents to town. Should our high hopes for the likes of Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and others fall flat, the onus will turn to free agency if this franchise hopes to stop the bleed.
Asking Mets fans, who have enjoyed only five playoff runs in the previous twenty-eight years, to remain vigilant for yet another season is not only unreasonable, its foolish. While the season as a whole may be lost, the franchise needs to turn the corner in the coming months. Perhaps the promotion of Zack Wheeler and eventually Travis d’Arnaud nudge things in the right direction, but if that isn’t the case it all falls back on Sandy Alderson. Both he and the Mets are reaching a breaking point. Progress is necessary, for it not only hints at the idea that a plan is in place, but it also provides fans with hope. Hope at this point, may be all we have left.
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