Around the corner …. a brick wall.

Pitchers and catchers report to St. Lucie in three weeks and where is the sense of optimism that comes with the approaching baseball season?

SANTANA: Contract weighs down Mets.

In the past three years the Mets entered spring training without realistic hope save wishing they could muster a competitive season to keep their dwindling fan base interested and enthused.

This year included.

It is not healthy when the fans’ biggest hopes are for the owners to sell and not trade their marquee player. The core three of David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran is down to Wright, and nobody would be surprised if he got off to a fast start and the Mets dealt him in July. Believe me, the vultures are calling.

In scanning the Mets’ roster, if you look ahead to next year, there is a handful of players I can realistically see coming back for spring training 2013.┬áThe list begins with Jason Bay and Johan Santana, both because they have contracts that make them nearly impossible to trade. In Santana’s case, add the injury element.

Not included is Wright because the odds favor a trade. He’s the Met who can bring the most young talent in return, despite being a young talent himself.

Young and cheap is the Mets’ refrain to give us a list of Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda. Perhaps Andres Torres if he has a good year.

Niese and Dillon Gee are the only young starters in the current rotation with hope of being productive. Mike Pelfrey? Please. His is a make-or-break season. If he doesn’t progress to show signs of 2010, there’s no reason to bring him back. He is closer to becoming another Oliver Perez than being the answer.

The bullpen is a mix-and-match set of castoffs, hardly a group a progressive team builds around. I was optimistic about Bobby Parnell, but he’s like Pelfrey with a foot already out the door.

This is the time of year for optimism and enthusiasm for the summer ahead. Every team is the same heading into February. But, that’s just fantasy theory. The Mets aren’t on equal footing with Washington, let alone Atlanta or Philadelphia.

In reality, the Mets cut payroll to where they can’t add enough talent to compete in their division. In reality, Pelfrey and Wright are the only holdovers from the 2006 team that came within a strike of the World Series.

That’s stark reality.

I previously wrote the Mets are paring costs in preparation for sale. This is their only hope to remain cost efficient because ticket sales are down, and with little hope of being competitive, the forecast is for an increasingly empty Citi Field.

When the Wilpon’s financial problems surfaced and Sandy Alderson was brought in as caretaker, we knew this would be a long process, and with it years from resolution we’re not even in the homestretch.

5 thoughts on “Around the corner …. a brick wall.

  1. I agree.

    David makes $15M a year. We shed $50M. If you add the $15M that takes us to $65M, which is $5M short of what we lost last year.

    Killing David from the team will almost make us a break even team. Now we can focus on the motto.

    Ya gotta believe ( in this untalented, uncompetitive team )!

  2. dave (1): I don’t want them to trade Wright, but I am beginning to think it is the only way for them to be able to take the next step. It will be a long road to recovery.-JD

  3. John(2)

    I have been waiting since 2007.

    When the Mets walked away from the post season in September of 2007 I started the wait. The next year they collapsed again but less spectacularly.

    In 2007 it was not the talent it was the will. They did not want to win badly enough and so they gave it away.

    I am impressed that the team was playing hard last year but they just don’t have the talent.

    It starts with pitching which we don’t have.

    Our starters will be a year older. So hopefully Gee and Niese can build on last year. We lost Beltran and Jose which we cannot replace. That is half our offense right there.

    It will be a long road which is made longer because of ownership.

  4. dave (3): I am not sure a lack of will was the root of the Mets’ collapse as it was the lack of a strong bullpen. After 2006, the Mets’ bullpen was dismantled as they let Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver get away. The 2007 collapse was all about pitching, both starters and relievers. If there was a lack of will, it was with management’s refusal to make substantial improvements in the offseason. One of biggest mistakes of the Omar Minaya era was thinking the Mets needed minor tinkering after losing in the 2006 playoffs when a lot more work was needed.-JD

  5. John(4)

    I respectfully disagree.

    The team which had a record of 88-74 could not win half their games at the end. Yes the pen was shot and the starters gave it up. It is a team game. Sometimes you have to just suck it up and will yourself to win. This team game after game seemed to lay down and die.

    I am not saying they didn’t try or that they did not want to win. But if you want to win badly enough you do. This is what sports is about. In the end it is not about talent, but the guts and determination to win. We liked players like Nails because he hustled and left it on the field. That is also why I like Johan. When he doesn’t have the stuff he figures out a way to win or at least give his team a good chance to do so. Pedro did the same. He did not have his fastball when he came here, but when he did make it on the field he did everything he could to win.

    As a fan you see that. I did not see that with this team in 2007 and 2008. After Willie was fired we had a manager that would make jokes with the press when they lost. That shows the winning spirit!