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