Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
This is it. This front office has frequently adjusted payroll projections, in-season expectations, etc., but they’ve never wavered on 2014 being their goal for turning the corner. Sandy Alderson & Co. have long identified next season as the year they begin to make meaningful additions, reap the benefits from the farm system, start winning and compete for a playoff spot. Here we are. it’s about to be the off-season they’ve been waiting for…
In the days after he signed his contract extension last winter, David Wright told media he was excited about the plan presented to him by Alderson and Jeff Wilpon detailing how the two men intended to improve their franchise.
This year, the Mets are about to win roughly the same number of games they did last season (74), which is less than they won the year before (77), and the year before that (79)… This level of losing rivals the low points in the early ’80s and ’60s.
Nevertheless, Wright still has confidence in his bosses.
“I’m all in for this organization,” Wright said Thursday. “Everybody has said with the money coming off the books, with the job that our minor-league development has done, we have some valuable pieces and some money to spend. I’m obviously expecting this team to be a lot better next year than we have been in previous years.”
In the last MetsBlog Right-Track, Wrong-Track Poll, 68 percent of roughly 5,000 Mets fans said they feel the organization is heading in the right direction. It was the same result the week before.
I feel the same way, but this winter is my last stand.
If things don’t change in six months, I’m going to lose my mind. It’s starting to happen already, in posts like this and this, but ultimately my pragmatism and patience take over. However, that restraint can’t go on forever.
“Hopefully the front office got everything they needed to see with who they want to move forward with and those tough decisions to either trade or not sign or whatever those tough decisions that need to be made,” Wright said.
Yes, decisions need to be made, action is needed and it’s needed now.
Alderson told the New York Post in June that next year’s payroll will start at around $55 million. In other words, if the Wilpons keeps the budget around $100 million, Alderson will have roughly $40 million or so to spend on 2014 acquisitions.
I know they can’t sign every free agent and make every trade. Also, there are other teams with money to spend and prospects to deal, so there is always the chance Alderson gets left at the altar, despite trying to get hitched. This is not the winter to let that happen, though. If it means overpaying a bit for a free agent, compromising on principals about long-term deals, or giving up on a prospect he’d rather retain, Alderson has to do it.
I think Alderson was right to let 2013 season play out. He spent his first two years here working to demolish the team Omar Minaya had given him. This year could be spent evaluating the talent he was left with, while trying to fill in the gaps and get by. That’s fine. He was right to ‘let it bleed,’ so to speak.
Now it’s time to start bringing in better players that will be consistently entertaining and successful. Trial and error can no longer be his on-field strategy.
I’m not ordinarily a believer in teams having to “make a splash,” as WFAN’s Mike Francesa often calls it. But, if ever there was a team that needed it and a time to do it, it’s these Mets and right now.
I can handle losing. (I’m also a Jets fan, so I’m used to it.) But, despite the farm system and talking points, it often feels like this franchise is in a holding pattern or wandering in the wilderness. That has to stop. It has to stop now. There needs to be an uptick soon or people are going to start jumping ship, if that hasn’t started to happen already.
I’m no longer willing to believe the Brad Emaus‘ of the world can substantially help a major-league roster. These players have value, but I’m done with trying to see them as important. I need more than that, and so do most Mets fans.
Bring it home, Sandy.
Make the Mets matter again.