Ed. note: This originally posted late in the day Friday and we feel it’s important enough to be re-posted today. If you’d like to read comments from the previous post, click here.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
“It typically takes five to seven years for a team to rebuild after totally bottoming out,” Peter Gammons said Friday morning, talking about the state of baseball on MSNBC.
He cited the Braves, who needed to bottom out in the mid ’80s, after which they rebuilt their farm system, re-hired Bobby Cox and went on a significant post-season run during the ’90s. He cited the Pirates as a team that struggled, reaching multiple bottoms with failed rebuilding efforts before adjusting their draft strategy in 2007 to finally get where they are today.
I’m typically a patient fan. However, I’m starting to see this winter as a make-or-break off season for the Mets. I know that’s hyperbolic, and I don’t speak for everyone. And, I know they’ve had rebuilding phases before that eventually ended up in October. It’s just, this move away from WFAN, plus poor attendance, an apathetic fan base, a dwindling payroll and blurry goals, it all comes together to make the Mets seem very distant, irrelevant and vague.
Sandy Alderson has talked about 2014 for so long, it’s burned into my brain as the year this team gets significantly better. The thing is, I’d say they really only hit bottom these last two or three years. So, if what Gammons said is accurate, it will be at least another few years before Mets find the top of the standings at a consistent rate. I’m OK with this, as long as they’re actually heading in that direction…
They’re now going to be out of the city’s broadcasting zeitgeist, WFAN, so there’s a good chance that — if they continue to lose — they become about as relevant as the Islanders used to be. (By the way, I hear there is close to a zero chance the Mets end up on ESPN Radio in New York, mostly because of conflicting interests and existing partnerships and ESPN not really caring about it’s local products. So, expect to hear Mets games on WCBS or WOR, neither of which carry any other sports programming.)
In other words, the Mets can’t really get worse. They HAVE TO take steps forward here, for fear of losing more fans to apathy. Alderson has money to spend this winter. I don’t care if it goes against his principles to spend it all. He should do it.
I’m not saying he needs to give absurdly bad contracts to guys who will burn us years from now. However, he has just a few roster spots locked down for next year, he has very few position prospects on the near-term horizon… He has to spend the remaining money to fill out a complete roster. It’s been years since I’ve seen a Mets roster with 25 players all qualified to be in the big leagues. It has often looked like a minor league team as early as May. This is the least he could do in an effort to keep clinging to relevance.
Do this, and I’ll feel better. I believe in Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. I think Noah Syndergaard is going to be special. I’m confident in Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. I like this front office’s approach to the bullpen. David Wright is one of the most productive players in the league. It’s not all doom and gloom. There is reason to be optimistic, but only if it’s built upon, again and again, until the bottom is finally behind us.