Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
This is a 20 percent drop from the last time I took this poll, before news that Matt Harvey might need Tommy John surgery, which could force him to miss all of next season. That said, I think 68 percent is a larger number than people would expect. I know most reporters and media get their impression of Mets fans from Twitter, talk radio and comment sections on blogs, but I don’t think that’s an accurate depiction of the overall fanbase. If you walk around Citi Field and talk to fans, while they express frustration, there continues to be an underlying sense of hope that these young pitchers, a stable farm system, this front office and an opening in the budget, will all come together and create better days… eventually.
The thing is, when is eventually? Mets fans may be patient — and loyal to a fault — but we aren’t stupid. I expected more improvements the last two off seasons, and subsequent trade deadlines, but I understand why that time wasn’t right, in hindsight. I wanted more, but could rationalize why Alderson didn’t pull the trigger, instead siding with his long-term goals.
However, it’s time to focus on the short-term. We’re here. The time is now.
Alderson has a nice foundation for his rotation and bullpen, and additional pitching on the way. At the same time, he’s got a ton of holes in the field and on his bench, no help in the farm system, and roughly $50 million coming off his existing payroll. If now isn’t the time to start taking significant steps forward, when is it? I mean, what have we been waiting for, if it doesn’t start happening this off-season?
The way I understand it, from people familiar with the organization’s planning, Alderson has been eyeing this winter since the day he took the job. I’ve heard he expected to get more done sooner, but unexpected financial restrictions, injuries and the new CBA put a bit of a dent in his plan. That’s behind him, though. I’ve also heard several baseball insiders speculate that if he’s unable to improve the big-league roster this winter, either because of another budget cut or because the market breaks the wrong way, he may not return after next season, instead, handing the project off to one of his lieutenants, and maybe shifting in to a larger, advisory role, sort of like when he was CEO of the Padres.
In other words, this is an important winter for a lot of people, from the GM down…