There’s not one among us who didn’t want the Mets to replace Bobby Abreu with Kirk Nieuwenhuis, or Chris Young with Matt den Dekker. Or even Ruben Tejada with Wilmer Flores. However make no mistake that it’s not because we believe either of the three are the answers to our prayers and will fill our two biggest needs in left field and shortstop.
Given the team’s current circumstances it was prudent to at least try and find out what we have in these three players. And on top of that, there’s a sense of satisfaction in replacing the old and overpaid veterans with young and thirsty players who will likely outproduce them. There was a sense of being able to touch that future we keep hearing about even though it was based more on a hope than anything tangible.
That said, there’s a growing fear in some Mets circles. Here’s one example:
“What if den Dekker hits just enough to warrant a full one-year look in left field for 2015 rather than going after a more proven commodity and a known power source?
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post touched on that issue somewhat. Agreeing with the Mets decision to play the younger players, he says that the worst-case scenario would be having them perform so well that the Mets “go into the winter convinced they’ve found their answers and they needn’t spend significant money to upgrade their roster.”
The signing, and subsequent failure, of Young stood out because the Mets have such little room for error thanks to their $83-ish million payroll. Every team makes Young-sized mistakes. The majority of clubs can absorb just an error with ease more than the Mets can.
Established players almost always come at a high price, be they dollars, prospects or both, and look: The Mets’ biggest disappointment of all this season might be their most established player, captain David Wright.
Nevertheless, the Mets need to assume the risk on an established player in an attempt to lengthen their lineup and show their fan base they are serious about contending and climbing back to the salary stratosphere they used to occupy in better times.
Davidoff concludes that the Mets have lost all benefit of the doubt over the last few years and that he wouldn’t be surprised if they open next season with the same team they end this season with. It gives them another year to keep their sub-$85 million payroll and they can paint it under the guise that they are on a renewed dedication to youth.