December 6, 2013
Ho Ho Ho Met fans. The Mets rang in the holiday spirit by actually completing a deal for a real major league player. I know, you were all nervous that yet another year would pass by with nothing but false promises, leaving us with a quadruple A baseball team to root for. You thought that somehow you were undeservedly placed on the naughty list by Santa once again. Well, not this writer.
You see, outside of the past two seasons when the Wilpons were essentially bankrupt, the Mets were always good for at least one move to wet our appetites. In fact, the Mets could always be counted on to make that one move each and every year to appease the fans. A Token Move of Appeasement, used as a vessel to keep the fans interested in the team. Heck, it may even be enough to get some fans who have had nothing but resentment towards ownership to loosen the purse strings and buy a season ticket package. The theory is that desperate fans will react favorably to any decent transaction if they are starved enough for good baseball. I think we Met fans qualify in this regard. We may be overqualified if you ask me.
This is the typical annual approach of the Wilpons. It has actually been successful and will likely be so again this year. I bet that there have been hundreds of fans that have already purchased tickets today in reaction to this move. However, if you haven’t had that knee-jerk reaction, or haven’t had a moment to pause during your busy work day to go online or call the Met ticket office today, I urge you to pause. Here is why…
Curtis Granderson is a nice player. There are many positives about him. He can handle playing in New York. He can hit for power. He is a lefty bat that has been sorely needed to compliment David Wright. He fills an OF need that the Mets desperately had to fill. He has a little bit of speed. He is a nice guy to boot. In fact, there is little to not like about him. Being 32 with only a four year contract is not necessarily a disastrous scenario in the world of baseball contract evaluation.
So why should you not throw money towards the Wilpons’ coffers just yet? Here is a good reason. The Mets filled a single hole amongst many with this signing. The last time I checked, they are in need of a shortstop, a first baseman, possibly another outfielder, two quality starting pitchers, and an entirely new and effective bullpen. Of the other positions that are not mentioned, only David Wright is a sure thing. Even the established starting pitchers give little confidence going into next season either because of the potential for injury (Niese), or inexperience (Wheeler). Without Harvey to lead this team, that leaves many, many holes to fill. I count approximately ten at the least just to complete the 25 man roster.
If the present is anything like the past for these Wilpon-lead Mets, this will probably be their only splash into the free agent pool this year. If that is the case, then how far ahead are these Mets from last year’s version? Let me enlighten you. Perhaps they are not any better at all.
If the Mets essentially stand pat from here, they might repeat the 74 win season they had a year ago. It might be as easy to assess as simple mathematics. Add Granderson and delete Harvey. In fact, I might be a bit overly optimistic with this assessment. The loss of one of the best pitchers in baseball cannot be replaced so easily, regardless of the star position player that he is being replaced with. They may finish worse than last year if the rest of the roster is once again filled in by band-aid players.
I personally need to see a lot more from the Mets before I can become remotely optimistic about their 2014 season. I know that I have little confidence in the Wilpons doing the right thing, and If history has anything to say about that actually happening, then it may very well be another long baseball season in Flushing.