The Mets overall mindset has been what has held the organization back and it was never more evident than in the fall-out from the Giancarlo Stanton trade to the New York Yankees.
The 2017 Yankees arrived early based on prognostications. A bunch of young kids and some useful veterans helped the Yankees to climb within a game of the World Series.
Despite the achievement, and despite already having one of the most feared lineups in the league, the Yankees went out and acquired yet another slugger – and they did it in a matter of hours, while all the Mets have done is ‘talk, talk, talk.’
Similarly, the 2015 Mets arrived a bit early. New York’s “five future aces” combined with some timely trade additions, and took advantage of an underachieving Washington Nationals team to win the NL East and take the NL pennant.
Since that run, there was a playoff appearance marred by injury in 2016.
The belief is that ‘unlucky injuries’ cost them in 2016 and bringing back the same team would garner different results in 2017.
It was different results, but very bad results. Instead of making the playoffs, the Mets finished 70-92.
Now, Mets’ ownership and Mets’ brass seem to be falling into the same trap again: A belief the team was better than its record, and the players’ stats were better than what shows on the backs of their baseball cards, particularly with regards to the pitching staff.
The team’s stated goal is to win the World Series and that this is not a time of rebuilding, but the actions don’t seem to match the words.
While Stanton was never coming to the Mets, as the player held all the cards with the blanket no-trade clause in his contract, Dee Gordon could have been acquired.
Seemingly, the only thing that held the Mets back from even offering a trade for the second baseman – a position of major need for New York – was money. The team seemed unwilling to take on the roughly $35 million owed to Gordon.
Money was what forced a fire-sale during the summer which didn’t bring back the types of prospects it could have were the Mets to have taken on some, if not all of the salary they were already scheduled to pay the players they traded.
Now, as the Winter Meetings continue, word has come out that it is possible that the Mets are working with even worse budget constraints than first reported at the start of the offseason.
The fans were told the Mets were ‘going for it’ and they were in ‘win-now mode.’ However, the actions are those of a team caught between as the Mets have been for years.
The Yankees are never satisfied, neither are Mets fans, but the organization seems to be satisfied with playing second fiddle. There is a reason the Mets never have sustained success and it’s that the team always go into a season hoping for the best while never preparing for the worst.
This isn’t new.
When the Yankees danced all over Shea Stadium in 2000 after predictably winning the Subway World Series, in that offseason, the Mets lost Mike Hampton to ‘better school systems’ in Colorado while the Yankees went out and got the best pitcher on the market, Mike Mussina.
While Sandy Alderson is not going to “jump into the inferno,” The Yankees dive in head first.
Yes, the Mets do not directly compete with the Yankees, but the mindset of the two organizations, though separated by just 10 miles, is seemingly thousands of miles apart.