In Sandy We Trust?

Despite all of the offseason moves and despite all the talk of being a 90 win team, at 37-48, the Mets are now 11 games under .500 on July 3rd for the second consecutive year. At this point last season, the Mets were the same 37-48 featuring a lineup riddled with minor league players such as Omar Quintanilla, Josh Satin and Andrew Brown.

Alderson has a plan, but fans are quickly running out of patience.
Alderson has a plan, but fans are quickly running out of patience.

Well here we are one year later and though there are plenty of new faces out on the field for the Mets, the results remain unchanged.

Of the Mets 6,207 plate appearances last season, 2,627 of them were taken by players not currently on the Mets roster. That’s 42.3 % of the team’s total PAs. I, like most fans, find it disconcerting that there has been absolutely no evidence of progress despite all the moving and shaking of the front office.

Obviously there have been some major injuries that account for this lack of progress. This is the MLB though, and everyone has to deal with the same type of adversity. Just ask the Texas Rangers who will be rolling into Citi Field on Friday with all kinds of issues.

Terry Collins has had a horrendous year, as is well documented by my colleagues and Mets Twitter. I think his inability to settle on a lineup or anything resembling a steady playing schedule has done immeasurable damage to the team and our young players in particular.

However, the dismal turnover to progress ratio ultimately falls on the general manager. He has had four years to build this team up, and in that time the team on the field has actually regressed. Since being hired, there are only 8 players on the major league payroll that have survived Alderson’s rebuilding process (David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia). Frustratingly, the team has not seen its record improve at all in that span of time.

What I can say about Alderson is that we will not know the extent of his success or failure as the GM of the Mets until we see how the prospects that he has acquired develop. He has certainly revamped the farm system, which will be important if the Wilpon’s financial woes continue.

Alderson is an investment banker. He sees players like Dickey, Reyes and Beltran not as keys to immediate success like Brian Cashman for instance. Rather he sees them as bartering chips that can help him acquire high ceiling ventures. While this can eventually lead to success, it requires a great deal of patience and runs an even greater risk of never panning out at all. For all of Billy Beane’s commercial success in implementing this “Moneyball” strategy, it has never won him a World Series. In the MLB, the teams with the most money are going to win the most games.

Prospects like Noah aSyndergaard will ultimately determine how Alderson is remembered by Mets fans.
Prospects like Noah Syndergaard will ultimately determine how Alderson is remembered by Mets fans.

I can’t fault Alderson for lack of trying. Dismissing 42% of your team’s plate appearances from one year to the next indicates that he has certainly tried to mix things up. However, he just does not have the funds to acquire any big league ready players beyond what he already has. We won’t see the true result of his efforts for several more years.

Coming out and saying this team could win 90 games was foolish and blatantly incorrect. He is under pressure to win games, but he was not forthright with the fan base entering this season. That may prove to be his greatest sin of all to this point.

The fact of the matter is that at the major league level, the Mets have regressed and plateaued during the Sandy Alderson era. However, his revamped minor league system may ultimately become the saving grace of this franchise. At this point though, it is hard to root for a team with nothing more than a “plan” for the future. It would be nice to see some returns on all those investments.

We can jump up and down and scream all we like but I don’t see any sign that the Wilpon’s are leaving or looking to invest more money in this team. So while it is awfully tough to stomach, patience is the only place where we can find solace. We just have to trust that Sandy knows what he is doing.

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