The clock is winding down on 2013, which, if you’re a Mets fan is a good thing because it was another fruitless season at Citi Field.
Before we kiss the year good-bye, or as Gary Cohen would say, “It’s outta here!’’ let’s go back and look at the top ten Mets stories of this very forgettable season:
1. TRADING R.A. DICKEY: My argument for it being the top Mets story is it defines and underscores what is going on with this franchise.
Dickey had arguably one of the most remarkable seasons for a Mets pitcher in winning 20 games and the Cy Young Award with a knuckleball, and as it would turn out, pitching hurt.
Dickey was a feel-good and inspirational story, and despite roughly a $5 million difference, the Mets dealt him for prospects – the key one coming off an injury – that are two or three years away.
The message sent wasn’t Happy New Year, but this team is still not ready for prime time.
2. RESIGNING DAVID WRIGHT: They were supposed to sign both Wright and Dickey to tell its disgruntled fan base that the Mets were building for the future.
Wright was imperative because he’s the most popular Met and the face of the franchise. We shall see how the Mets will build on extending Wright. The first move was to deal Dickey.
3. DICKEY’S INCREDIBLE SUMMER: Once thought of as a stop-gap fifth starter, Dickey pitched to elite status this summer in winning the Cy Young Award.
However, Dickey was more than a pitcher, but a symbol of persistence who could identify with the common fan. More than any other Met, Dickey is us and showed his guile and grit every fifth day.
4. JOHAN SANTANA’S NO-HITTER: Perhaps in other seasons it would rank higher, but it came with several asterisks.
First, it was tainted, preserved by a blown umpire’s call that ironically robbed former Met Carlos Beltran. Then, there were the 134 pitches as the game was extended by the bad call.
Santana followed the no-hitter with a career-high six straight losses and again ended the season on the disabled list.
Santana has pitched well in spots, but it will always be remembered that for the $134 million contract he never pitched in a playoff game for the Mets and frequently was injured.
The last three years was a matter of merely counting down to the end of his contract.
5. JASON BAY BOMBS OUT: Santana’s contract might be arguably the worst FA deal doled out by the Mets. If not him, then definitely Bay, who between injuries gave the Mets no production.
The Mets were eventually able to buy out Bay on a differed basis, which considering what he gave the team, really doesn’t leave them in a hole for 2013.
As with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, it was best to move on.
6. ALDERSON SITS AT THE BREAK: After letting Jose Reyes leave without an offer, GM Sandy Alderson vowed the team would have the resources to add pieces at the trade deadline if it were competitive.
Before the break the Mets once were eight games over .500 and 46-40 at the break. However, cracks in the bullpen were forming and Alderson did nothing. By the time he was inclined to make a trade, the second half-collapse had begun and it was too late.
7. SECOND-HALF COLLAPSE: At one point the Mets went 15 games at home in which it scored three or fewer runs. Hard to fathom, but true.
Dickey and Ike Davis’ strong second half is what the Mets needed to struggle to finish 14 games under .500.
The second-half collapse included Santana’s six-game losing streak, Dillon Gee’s season-ending injury and the bullpen’s implosion.
8. IKE DAVIS HITS 32 HOMERS: It was frequently written Davis has 30-homer potential. Now, it is true and he’s the singular most power threat in the line-up as Wright’s homer production has dropped and Lucas Duda is still a question.
There were trade rumors of Boston having interest, but with the Mets basically void of power, Davis isn’t going anywhere.
9. METS SURVIVE REYES’ DEPARTURE: One of the more overriding issues with the Mets entering the season was how it would adjust to losing Jose Reyes.
Ruben Tejada more than ably filled the role as the Mets proved they could lose with or without Reyes. Tejada won’t become an offensive match to Reyes, but he was more than adequate and definitely was on a par defensively.
10. TEAM DOES NOTHING AT WINTER MEETINGS: The Mets didn’t counter losing Dickey with anything productive.
In fact, the Mets end 2012 in worse shape than it started the season. In addition to the normal injury-related questions to their pitching, the Mets now need to add a starter to replace Dickey.
The Mets aren’t likely to bring back Scott Hairston, who was a role player for them in the first place and have three questions in the outfield. There’s also concerns in the bullpen and at catcher.
So, the biggest story for the 2012 Mets is they’ve gotten worse.