The title of this article poses a rhetorical question. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the way the Mets are operating, this off-season, and the upcoming 2014 season.
In years past, with the Bernard Madoff situation unsettled, a farm system that was largely barren, a refusal and/or inability to spend on external players, and other ills afflicting the franchise, the Mets were often bashed by both the mainstream media and bloggers who cover the team. Some of it was deserved, some of it was hyperbolic.
This off-season, while the writers who cover the team professionally have had a largely sane outlook toward 2014 and beyond, the majority of those who blog about the team have become at times hysterically reactionary and blindly irrational.
Yes, the Mets have had five losing seasons in a row. That’s a fact, and it can’t be erased. Yes, the Mets failed (likely due to a lack of funds) to spend a significant amount over the last few years on external players. That further angered a fan base that’s understandably frustrated by losing.
Since the 2013 campaign ended, though, every little thing has seemed to set people off. Sandy Alderson says the team has money to spend, and people react by claiming (without facts or alleged insider knowledge) that he won’t spend. A report comes out that the Mets may not be interested in signing Jose Abreu, and fans flip out over someone they’ve probably never seen play a single game. Dusty Baker, who most regard as a poor manager who runs young pitchers ragged, gets fired, and people actually lament the fact that the Mets extended Terry Collins before they were aware of Baker’s status.
The latest excuse to scream incoherently at the sky was given yesterday. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that the Mets were not yet sure what day Matt Harvey‘s Tommy John surgery was scheduled for. Later in the day, Scott Boras, who represents Harvey and was attending the NLCS in Los Angeles, told reporters the surgery would probably be done within the week.
Somehow, this became a #LOLMets moment. Why, though? The Mets learned of Harvey’s torn UCL in late August and immediately shut him down. They then gave Harvey time to decide how he wanted to proceed. Harvey initially chose rehab, and the club supported him. When Harvey decided to have the surgery, it was the Mets who broke the news. Everyone knew Harvey would be having surgery in the near-term and that it would be performed by Dr. James Andrews. Beyond that, who gives a damn? Getting back to 2014…
It’ll be painful to look up on Opening Day and not see Matt Harvey standing on the mound. However, according to those who cover the team and a number of injury experts, there’s nothing the Mets could’ve done that would’ve prevented Harvey from sustaining his injury. It happened, and it’s time to look to the future.
Some of the players who will hopefully be a part of the future in Queens emerged last year – Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Vic Black, etc. Those players joined David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Bobby Parnell, Jeurys Familia, and others. There’s another wave of pitchers coming from Triple-A who will hopefully join the team for 2014 and beyond – Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, etc. The club has a significant amount of money to spend on external players – roughly $40 million, after taking into account those who are under contract and those who are due raises through arbitration. So, why the negativity?
I refuse to believe that Mets fans actually want to see the team struggle in any capacity, so I’ll go with the belief that the majority of the fan base has been conditioned to complain about everything, to spin a positive into a negative, and look the other way when facts disprove their sky is falling narratives.
Fans aren’t obligated to believe that the Mets will spend a significant amount on external players this off-season. At the same time, they have no proof to be able to state as fact that the team won’t spend a certain amount or won’t sign a certain player. It’s a waste of time and energy.
After starting the 2013 campaign poorly, the Mets played .500 ball from June 14th through the remainder of the season. There are people who want to make the fact that the Mets played .500 ball for the majority of the season a punchline, citing it as a small sample that’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Those same people would be calling for an organizational overhaul if the Mets had played .375 ball over that same stretch. You can’t have it both ways.
The Mets certainly have work to do if they want to turn themselves into legitimate contenders between now and Opening Day. However, for the first time in years, it’s doable. The talent base at the big league level is there, there are impact pitchers waiting in the minors, and there’s money to spend to fill holes at shortstop and in the outfield.
Anyone is free to lament things that have happened in the past and things that may not happen this off-season. It’s much more rational, though, to assess what the team has, and wait for the off-season to play out before rendering a verdict regarding 2014 and beyond.