December 5, 2012
It is that time of year once again Met fans. As we bask in the afterglow of R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young Award frenzy, we turn our sights towards the 2013 season. Just as we do every off-season, our minds wistfully follow the Hot Stove reports and Winter Meetings with the small shred of hope that the Mets will suddenly act like a large market team by making an unexpected splash or two. You know, the type that would actually improve our team by signing a player in his prime for some meaningful dollars. Someone for Met fans to hang our hats on. Someone that gives us a touch of amnesia and makes us forget about the recent years of non-competitive misery. Someone to give us some warmth during this long, cold winter.
Alas, what have we learned in recent years? Mets management executes only what absolutely needs to be done in order to show us that they are trying. They do not offer the educated New York baseball fan true hope. No, Met management offers only The Token Move of Appeasement, or TMOA. Yes, ticket sales are on the minds of the Wilpons. Make no mistake about that. Met ownership is banking on this tactic to lure the desperate Met fan into purchasing a season ticket plan, or perhaps a partial plan as a consolation prize.
This year’s version of TMOA is David Wright. Not even the Wilpons could be idiotic enough to let their franchise face walk away from the team. It is of no concern that the contract offered by the Wilpons will be backloaded with a significant amount of deferred money to be paid off through the 2020 season. Whatever it takes to accomplish their one goal of selling tickets to cover the their massive debt and perhaps make some semblance of a profit. Winning? That is not part of the equation.
Let us look at this from another perspective for a moment. If you want to measure the quality of the player David Wright truly is, he first needs to be removed from the Met roster. This is because he is a superstar on the Mets in comparison to any other position player currently under contract. The truth of the matter is that Wright is a very good player, but he is not a superstar, nor an MVP caliber player. He is not a player that can carry a team on his back for sustained portions of a season. In other words, he is not a Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and perhaps not even a Mike Trout. Of course, I am listing the elite here. However, if we move down the line just a bit, there is a second tier of talent in the majors that Wright may still fall short of placing within. Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, and Andrew McCutchen all come to mind as more productive offensive talents than Wright. If DW had the benefit of playing alongside one of these talents, well then the Mets would have something cooking.Part of me feels bad for David Wright. He will never get the opportunity to be a part of a winner here if he has to be the number one guy. I wish better for him. The other part of me sees it this way. He did sign on the dotted line, and I believe he knew what he was getting himself into. He is getting paid a king’s ransom. Why should I feel bad for him?
My feelings for David Wright aside, the major concern is whether or not the Mets made a sound baseball decision here. It is clear that Sandy Alderson was under direct orders to sign Wright at any and all costs. However, we have learned that the Wilpons would not know a sound baseball decision if it slapped them in the face.
What do we know about the current state of this Met franchise? We know that they are banking on the young pitching that they developed or acquired through trade. If we are lead to believe that this is the direction they are headed in towards potential future success, wouldn’t it make sense for the Mets to grab some young position player talent as well? Outside of Wilmer Flores (a third baseman subsequently blocked by David Wright’s presence), the Mets do not have anyone in the minors worth speaking of. That being said, who do the Mets expect to win with in the coming years to go along with all of that young pitching talent? The last time I checked, teams can not win championships losing by 3-2 and 2-1 margins. We have heard whispers of the Mets looking to find some outfield talent on the cheap this off-season. Do the Mets truly believe that they can get by this way and legitimately compete going forward? Will they suddenly wake up and spend adequate money on some offensive talent in the coming years?
These are all great questions that will never be asked to the general manager nor ownership, and if it were asked, it would be left without answer. I do know this, David Wright might have brought back some nice position player talent if he had been traded previously. I know there is no guarantee that prospects bring future success, but how does our alternative look right about now?
There is one undeniable truth here. David Wright being flanked in the middle of our order by the likes of Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis does not excite me one bit. This much I know without any hesitation, and I know all Met fans feel the same way.