Greetings Mets fans: the 2012 Mets are brought to you by the letter “P.” What are some words that start with the letter “P” Pitching, Perez (Oliver) and patience. In fact, patience is going to be the theme for the 2012 Amazins, and it’s a concept that all Mets fans are going to have to live with.
They say it’s hard to rebuild in New York, and that attitude is partially responsible for the Mets’ current state. Impatience and band-aid fixes led to the acquisition of players like Jeromy Burnitz, Mo Vaughn, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay and others. Now, the team has a youthful core to build around and for the first time in seemingly ages, there are some promising prospects in the farm system across all levels. The fan base seems pleased to run nearly all home-grown lineups out on the field every day, but also at times is upset at the miscues and mistakes that come with such a young team, myself included. That is where the patience comes in.
Patience with the young starting pitching prospects: Sandy Alderson has already stated that Matt Harvey won’t be up any time soon, and neither will Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler or the rehabbing Jenrry Mejia. That is perfect, because the Mets have a history of rushing prospects, which didn’t turn out well. Harvey and Familia will still likely debut late this summer, but plugging them into the rotation now won’t do anyone any favors.
Patience with Lucas Duda: He’s still learning right field and getting more comfortable, but I’m still going to cringe at every ball that is hit his way. He will get better defensively and the offense will make up for any defensive deficiencies.
Patience with Ike Davis: I’m a big Ike supporter and not just because I own his jersey and want to get my money’s worth. It’s true Ike only has one full season under his belt, but it was a solid rookie season and he was off to a blazing start as a sophomore, so he has to be better than this. That being said, sending him down the minors isn’t really an option-like Terry Collins said, he needs to work it out in the Majors. He also did miss nearly all of last season, so there might still be some rust. He will come out of it.
Patience with Jon Niese: Niese has been great so far before hitting a hiccup in Houston. He’s with the Mets for the long term now, and there will be other rough starts. But as time goes on, the rough starts will become fewer and further in between, making him a legitimate front-line starter.
Patience with the bullpen: The Mets bullpen has been a source of concern since 2008 and despite the additions of Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez, the pen has still coughed up leads and made life stressful (it doesn’t help that Miguel Batista and Manny Acosta are part of the relief corps as well). Ramirez is better than he’s pitched, and I hope Francisco is as well, but Mets fans might have to be patient for relief prospects (Josh Edgin, Elvin Ramirez and others) are ready before the bullpen becomes a strength.
Patience with Daniel Murphy: The Irish Hitman is a polarizing figure among Mets fans. He’s gritty and fiery, but makes mistakes that cause gray hair. His abilities may be limited, but Murphy is a smart player who will get better at second base the more he plays. If he can avoid getting hurt this season, he should improve at the position by September.
Patience with Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Captain Kirk has already impressed with his clutch hits and highlight-reel catches, but eventually the strikeouts will catch up to him and he might hit a slump. At that point, the fans’ patience will be tested. Niuewenhuis is a guy who should be on the ball club, but like any young player, his success will ebb and flow.
Patience with Sandy Alderson: Mets fans want to win now, and after seasons of disappointment, it is understandable. But Alderson has a plan and it will take some time to develop. That includes, for now, bypassing some free agents and letting younger players make mistakes as they develop.
It’s hard to be patient when the team has so much youthful potential. Indeed, during last night’s loss to the Diamondbacks, it was all I could do not to throw my chair against the wall after the bullpen coughed up the lead. But as the season goes on, the players will improve via gained experience, talented players will be promoted in the minors and wins will come. If fans can maintain that outlook, the losses will become less painful and when everything comes together (because I’m an optimist) there will be a great feeling of satisfaction.