Let’s get a few things out onto the table right now. You can’t necessarily spend your way to a pennant. If so, the Dodgers would have won the World Series instead of getting bumped off in the Divisional round and the Yankees would have made it to the postseason.
Also, spending and investing are two very different things. Spending is giving a broken-down 35 year old best suited to be a DH (if wearing a baseball uniform at all) a two year contract for $22 million that costs you a first round draft pick. Investing is giving legitimate shots to cost-controlled players who could help your team for 4 or more years without breaking the bank.
Do you remember the infamous fan loyalty letter sent by the tone-deaf Mets to their fans, imploring them to come to the ballpark and remain faithful despite putting an inferior product on the field? It came on the heels of the Sandy Alderson proclamation that the team would spend once it began winning.
Towards that end, I do have to say Alderson lived up to that promise as we saw more activity in reconstructing the roster between the end of July and the end of September than we did in entire off-seasons of the past. Brought in were Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard, Yoenis Cespedes, Addison Reed, Eric O’Flaherty and Eric Young, Jr. For the most part, what Alderson spent was prospects and pro-rated salaries, most of which were paid for the majority of the season by each player’s former team. With the exception of O’Flaherty, the moves mostly worked.
So now that the team has gone to the World Series, what are we hearing now regarding the players available on the free agent market or allegedly on the trading block? They’re too expensive, they want too many years, they’re over the hill or we don’t want to give up what is being asked in trade.
Huh? Wait a minute…isn’t this team the same one that said they would spend once they smelled success? Granted, they were indeed pretty stinky at times during the World Series, but they finished as the BEST in the National League. How much more success was meant in that definition of the word?
Also, wasn’t this the team about which Jeff Wilpon said multiple times, “GM Sandy Alderson has room in his budget to make additions through trades and free agent signings this winter.” Didn’t Daddy Fredbucks, regarding the financial troubles of the team, also say, “It’s all in the rear-view mirror”?
Given these facts, explain to me why Mets fans are buying into the “No Upton”, “No Cespedes”, “No Heyward”, “No Gordon” mindset of the early Wilpon/Alderson era. Why are people not out rallying in the streets with pitchforks and torches when they hear that the big off-season acquisitions might be the likes of Gerardo Parra and Tony Sipp. While these complementary players are perfectly acceptable when you have a strong core, the fact remains the Mets are now without two of their leading offensive weapons in Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy. Where are those doubles and home runs coming from to replace what was lost?
A lot of people are pointing to the stellar pitching rotation which is cost controlled by arbitration maximums until 2018 or thereabouts. Does that mean you’re punting the 2016 and 2017 seasons before you watch the parade of pitchers heading to greener pastures and paydays elsewhere? If not, you’d better do something to fix the offense which was worst in the league prior to the late season acquisitions who, save for Addison Reed, are all on their way out the door (plus Murphy).
Now the Royals did indeed show that you don’t’ need future Hall of Fame caliber sluggers in order to win. You do need some contact hitters to balance out the free swinging ways of David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and others. Your best contact hitters were Daniel Murphy (gone) and Wilmer Flores (benched until the Chase Utley incident gave him a chance to play again).
What’s equally frustrating is that they let the Juan Lagares elbow situation linger all year long and now are going to squander another year of production by trying “rest” as a cure rather than addressing what needs to be done.
I’m heading out of the country for a few weeks and when I return I hope to hear more than the Mets decided to go all-in to spend on a fading 34 year old Ben Zobrist because there was no draft pick compensation tied to signing him. When you see the lackluster package the Braves got in return for the stellar-fielding and cost controlled Andrelton Simmons, you’d have to think someone was asleep at the wheel (or not empowering his assistants to make deals at the GM meetings).