Do the Nationals and Braves challenge the Mets’ long-term plan?

Michael Baron , Contributor

In a post to MLB.com, Anthony DiComo says the Braves acquisition of OF Justin Upton could, “come to define one of baseball’s most challenging divisions for years, adding:

“It makes for a particularly tricky situation in Flushing, where the Mets are concentrating on a long-term plan built around Wheeler, Harvey, Travis d’Arnaud and the rest of their vastly improved farm system. … Tricky because the Nationals and Braves, perhaps already the two best teams in the division, are also built to last.”

According to DiComo, Sandy Alderson did express interest in acquiring Upton and described his talks with Arizona as “more than casual,” but not extensive, during which he was unwilling to meet the their asking price of Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey.

Justin Upton 3 polaroid

The Mets are clearly trying to build themselves to to compete over the long term, as both the Nationals and Braves are doing. That is done through the draft and player development. The Mets want to build their farm system to a point where they can have a continuous influx of talent to the big leagues (under long-term and inexpensive control), and both augment that talent and fill their gaps through external markets. This is pretty much what the Nationals and Braves have been able to do. Alderson’s plan is clearly taking time. In the case of Upton, he clearly passed on a player who could have made an immediate impact, but it would have been a deviation from his plan.

If the Mets wanted to join the party right now, they would almost certainly have to acquire most of their tools from the outside. As they’ve proven in prior years, that’s an expensive (both in dollars and prospects), risky, and less probable method of succeeding over the long-term; I am not interested in pockets of success with the Mets. Yes, they are a New York team in the biggest sports market in the world, and it’s important they find a way to have a consistent winner on the field year after year. In addition, at some point, the building needs to end, and the augmentation needs to begin. But I think this is the way to do it, especially since the other way failed miserably.

I’m sick of the losing. There’s no doubt about it, and I am certainly a weathered Mets fan as a result of it. But I’m more frustrated with what led to this problem, and I am onboard with what is going on to try and fix this. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, even though I sometimes wish Alderson could snap his fingers and correct the issue. But while the scaffolding is still up, the building is starting to take shape, and that’s pretty exciting. I am glad Sandy Alderson is not only dedicated to fixing the problem, but is sticking with his plan, even if it means he has to pass on immediate fixes now. If the Mets can get their organization to the point both the Braves and Nationals have been able to, it’s going to be a lot of fun these three teams for many years to come.