As the Mets play out the rest of their schedule, many fans (myself included) have started to think about the future. For some, that means wondering what will happen with Jose Reyes. For others, that means pondering what transactions Sandy Alderson and the front office will make this offseason. And for others, that means fantasizing about how prospects will contribute in the future. Ultimately though, looking towards the future boils down to this question: when will the Mets be good? I believe the answer is 2013.
That’s not to say I’m already giving up on 2012. In any year, there is a possibility a team could surprise its fan base (see: 2011 Cleveland Indians) and be in the thick of the playoff race. It’s just that with the current cast of characters, rising prospects and some other off the field events, I just see 2013 as being the Mets year. Here are some reasons why in two years from now, the Mets faithful could be looking at another playoff run.
The Core Offensive Players: Building a team from within should be the goal of front office, and the Mets are setup to do just that if some things fall into place. Reyes, David Wright, Ike Davis and potentially Lucas Duda could be a huge part of the team’s offense in 2013. Of course, that depends on if the Mets are able retain Reyes and if they trade Wright before his 2013 option year, but these players are part of the long term solution, not the problem.
Generation K 2.0?: I don’t want to give an official nickname to the crop of Mets pitching prospects coming up, seeing as how it didn’t work out so well the last time, but there is reason to be excited. Matt Harvey is likely to start at triple-A next season, with Jeurys Familia joining him, priming each one for a mid-season or September call-up, assuming they continue to pitch well. Zack Wheeler, acquired in the trade for Carlos Beltran, has pitched well since joining the Amazins and could start at double-A Binghamton next season, meaning he could either be a September call-up in 2012. And don’t forget about Jenrry Mejia, who will be working his way back from Tommy John surgery but should get some pitching in next year. When all is said and done, these four guys could all be competing for rotation spots in 2013. Throw in the final guaranteed year of Johan Santana, Jon Niese and possibly R.A. Dickey, and the Mets might actually have the problem of trying to fit all these guys in (or one or two could move to the bullpen). It’d be a good problem to have.
Reese Havens: Let it be known that I am a big Reese Havens fan. He’s battled injuries throughout his career, but always hit when healthy, and this season has been no different. At Binghamton, Havens is batting .295/.379.454 with five homers in 211 plate appearances. He’ll be 25 next season and will probably start at Buffalo, but could be called up next season and should be in the second base mix in 2013.
A Second Wild Card: There has been some talk about adding a second wild card team in each division. Given the toughness of the National League East, it would certainly behoove the Mets if this idea came to fruition. After all, good teams don’t always make the playoffs despite having a good record (just ask Tampa Bay).
Piazza In The Hall: This reason, like the next few, has nothing to do with the players on the field, but rather positive events surrounding the team. In 2013, Mike Piazza will be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time, and I have to believe he’ll get in on the first ballot. Once that happens, the Mets would be remiss if they didn’t announce his jersey retirement and arrange a ceremony. The team has retired the number of just one of its own players, and Piazza needs to be the second, further cementing Piazza’s place in history as the greatest hitter in Mets history.
The All Star Game: It was reported that Citi Field will likely host the 2013 All Star Game, which would make the Mets the host for the first time since 1964. As far as I know, there isn’t a correlation between hosting the All Star Game and winning percentage, but it’s still cool and would put more attention on the Mets (hopefully for the better).
Blue Uniforms: The Mets blue debuted “Los Mets” uniforms this season to much fanfare. While unable to be in regular rotation next year, Executive VP of Business Operations Dave Howard said that is the plan for 2013. How can the team not win while wearing those fantastic uniforms?