Like he has so many times over the past month when talking to the media, Sandy Alderson once against stated that the Mets should be buyers as the trade deadline continues to creep around the corner next Tuesday. However, instead of being confident in what he was saying about his club, he decided to take a different route, one that he hadn’t heard yet this year.
If you missed exactly what the Mets GM said, here it is:
"“It’s not a question of what we see on the field to make us buyers. It’s what we see on the field that causes us not to be buyers. The presumption is that we are buyers. And, it has been. But, realistically, the next seven, eight, ten games become important for us.”"
Earlier in the season, when the Mets were playing much better, Alderson said that New York would be buyers at the trade deadline, without any hesitation. Now that they haven’t been playing very well, he’s going to wait even longer to see if the team can turn it around before he decides to make a move to help them out, which they so desperately need.
I understand that the 2012 New York Mets weren’t built to be World Series contenders when they broke camp in Port St. Lucie. However, I did think that if players performed the way they were capable of, this team would be a lot better than expected. Throughout the first half of the year, that’s exactly what they did. It can be called overachieving, but their performance through the first 86 games of the season was what I was expecting, if Terry Collins’ players performed close or at their career norms.
Since the heartbreak of 2006 and watching Carlos Beltran get fooled by Adam Wainwright‘s nasty curveball, it’s been tough being a Mets fan, mostly because when things go south, they go south faster than a fat kid eats his birthday cake. We all know the stories; 7 game lead with 17 games to play vanished in 2007, while a 5 game lead in September also disappeared in 2008. Once they were done blowing leads late in the season, literally the entire team spent time on the disabled list at some point in 2009. The 2010 season looked promising, as Jerry Manuel had David Wright and company 10 games over .500 going into the All-Star break, but that quickly faded in July. In 2011, we saw a new regime (Alderson and Terry Collins) take over, but be confined by the Bernie Madoff scandal, which ended in watching Jose Reyeswalk away from the only organization he ever knew.
That’s a lot of crap to happen to one team in a span of six seasons. Throughout 2012, it’s been apparent what the Mets have needed the most: some bullpen help. No matter how you slice it, the relievers for the New York Mets on the whole, have been atrocious. It puts extra pressure on the offense to score more runs because it seems as if no lead is safe, and forces starting pitchers to try and be perfect all the time. A prime example is the 9-5 win against the Nationals this week. That game was in the bag after the 3rd inning, but the bullpen slowly kept letting the Nationals back into the game, and it was almost another nightmare for fans to watch. However, Alderson has been steadfast in saying that the Mets are buyers and will continue to be buyers, and they plan on buying some relievers.
During the All-Star break, we heard that the front office felt that they “owed it” to Terry Collins and his players to get them some help as a reward for how they’ve played thus far this season. Also, we heard that Bernie Madoff’s name hasn’t been floating around Citi nearly as much anymore, and New York was willing to open their pockets a bit to get some reinforcements for a playoff run. Alderson did made it clear that they weren’t planning on giving up any of their top prospects (mainly Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey), which makes complete sense, but they’re still planning to be buyers.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone flat out tells me they’re going to do something, then blatantly neglect to follow through on said promise. It’s getting to the point in the season where the snowball is picking up speed; the team was able to get past losing Mike Pelfrey for the season and avoid losing David Wright to the DL because of his fractured pinkie. However, now we’ve lost Dillon Gee for the season, Johan Santana is on the DL, Frank Francisco is still far from a return, and the bullpen still can’t get anyone out consistently. It’s been getting to the point for a few weeks now that this team can’t hold on by themselves much longer. The players have heard their front office say that help is on the way, but have seen no trace of it yet.
Just within the past two days, the Astros traded away Brandon Lyon (0-2, 3.25 ERA, 35 K’s in 36 IP) to the Toronto Blue Jays and Brett Myers (0-4, 3.52 ERA, 19 saves in 30.2 IP) to the White Sox. Once these two relievers were traded, we heard that the Mets had no interest in them. We’ve also heard within the last week or so that Francisco Rodriguez and Huston Street were “too pricey” for New York, yet they’re still rumored to be talking to San Diego about Street. Also, New York has been “interested” in Jonathan Broxton since ‘Nam.
It’s not so much the lack of action from Alderson that makes me angry, it’s with how he’s changed his story. He’s gone from saying that the Mets will definitely be making moves, to needing to wait until after the All-Star break to see how the market forms, now to saying how the results of the next few games leading up to the deadline will dictate whether they will make deals or not. That’s not fair to this team or the fans, and that’s partially why the stadium is half full. This lack of action while the trade market for relievers is active and developed leads me to believe that the front office doesn’t have faith in this team, and they were just waiting as long as possible to see if the ship would start to sink to justify not spending money or prospects. The players should feel betrayed- I do.
Fans and writers have been saying for weeks that the Mets need bullpen help immediately (which is the understatement of the century) and we haven’t seen anything. What Sandy has been doing is typical lawyer speak from someone with a Juris Doctorate. Sandy, if you never believed in this team and was never planning on making a deal since you don’t want to part with any prospects, that’s fine, just say it from the start. It’s like diagnosing a disease; once we all know what it is, it’s a lot easier to cope with. However, saying that we’re going to be buyers and not doing anything is much worse.
For all I know, the Mets could swing a deal five minutes from now and my entire argument would become moot, but I won’t believe it until I see it. This team needs help and is sinking fast, and we’ll see if the captain decides to do.