Question: Has 2012 been a successful season?

Derek R said in an e-mail: “With the season basically done, has 2012 been successful in your eyes? It feels like the other seasons: second half collapse, bullpen issues, lots of question marks, etc. There’s more question marks than answers. … I would not feel positive if Sandy brought back the same team for 2013, which suggests to me that 2012 was a disappoint more than a step in the right direciton.  Even Sandy admits we need better talent on this team, which will likely have to come from outside the organization. Had 2012 been truly a step in the right direction, front office and fans would feel way more comfortable with the team, position by position.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I mostly agree with all of this, Derek, though I don’t feel as bleak as you. I do agree about the outfield, which I’ve already written time and time again. Worse, Lucas Duda did very little to show what he’s capable of (and I think that is something the team was hoping to know before the end of 2012). Also, there was nothing learned behind the plate and, though it seems Daniel Murphy can hold down second base, it’s also obvious he will make lots of mistakes.

However, in the Legit Steps Forward column, we did learn this year that Matt Harvey can pitch in the big leagues and he can be counted on to be a mid- to front-of-the rotation type guy. We also learned that Zack Wheeler is worthy of his top prospect status, and he can be seriously considered in future planning. We learned that Ruben Tejada is certainly a big-league middle infielder and he will keep working hard to be better. We learned that there is nothing to be concerned about with David Wright, who once struggled to hit in Citi Field, but now looks healthy, confident and very capable. Lastly, we learned that RA Dickey is not a gimmick, but the real deal with plenty of mileage left on his 37-year-old arm.

The point is, while there were clearly some side steps and new holes created, I do think there can be progress in simply knowing what isn’t working and what needs to be done. I think that’s what this season was always going to be about. As I’ve said before, 2010 and 2011 were about cutting the overpaid, veteran fat and creating roster space for young, less expensive, internal options (like Duda, Harvey, Mike Nickeas, Josh Edgin and others) to essentially audition in 2012. The thing is, the team won early and raised expectations, but I don’t think the roster goal ever changed. As such, though losing again prevailed, management should have a good idea at this point about who is legit and who isn’t. In other words, as I said in this post a few weeks ago, Sandy Alderson has done his due diligence and demolition, now it’s time to start building around the players he wants to keep.

By the way, I’m reposting this because (for some reason) the comment section wasn’t working on the post from earlier today… and I’m sure people have plenty to say on this topic.