I have a new goal for the Mets in 2013. I want the second half to be better than the first half. Just look at the last four years (I used a July 1 cutoff date because it was easier for me, no other reason):
- YR 1st Half 2nd Half Final
- 2009 38-39 32-53 70-92
- 2010 44-35 35-48 79-83
- 2011 41-41 36-44 77-85
- 2012 43-37 31-51 74-88
So, there you have it. For the past four years, we’ve started out okay. But usually because of a lack of organizational depth, combined with an absence of new acquisitions, we take a plunge in the second half. In two seasons under Collins, the Mets have gone 82-78 before July, then 67-95 after it. Fans are ripping their eyeballs out of their heads come October.
Toward that goal, I’m pleased to announce that I think we’ll suck pretty hard right out of the gate. So, you know, it’ll be easier to get better . . . later on.
Yes, and if we rip out our eyeballs in April and we do not improve, we will not know!
Ever the optimist! But in this case, the optimist might need an optometrist.
April is a time to be optimistic, and the fact that things should feel better in October is very tangible. Right or wrong the team has decided they are holding prize prospects Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud down in Las Vegas for the beginning of the season. Barring injury, however, all indications are that we will see them in the second half of the year. This creates a number of positives.
First of all we can finally see these two guys with those eyeballs, so long as we can get them re-attached. That will be fun, no? We traded Carlos Beltran for Wheeler about ten years ago (or does it just feel that way?). We traded our Cy Young Award winning pitcher, R.A. Dickey, for d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, and Becerra. Once we are finally allowed a glimpse of Wheeler and d’Arnaud our mood will lighten.
Another major positive to that is that their eventual promotion will begin the clock. No, not the service time clock that has become all the rage around town, as everyone worries about Fred’s wallet —
— it’s out of control! I’ve never seen so many fans keen on saving money for Fred Wilpon four years down the road. It’s like asking for less costly special effects in the next “Hobbit” movie. You know, poor Peter Jackson and the cost of doing business. Every morning we should all just put another nickel in a milk carton. On that note, did you see the comments from the Twins GM in Buster Olney’s ESPN “Insider” piece? It’s an extra $3 a month, so I’m guessing no. In addressing his decision to bring up prized prospect, Aaron Hicks, at the start of the season, Twins GM Terry Ryan said:
“The guy has earned it. I find it almost humorous that people are talking about service time, starting the clock. We didn’t trade (Denard) Span and (Ben) Revere to stall the next guy. I don’t know in the last 20 years or however long Bill (Smith) and I have been in the general manager’s job that we have put a guy back because of service time. Who have we done that to? I don’t recall it.”
In that same piece, I read about how the lowly Brewers — who do not play in NYC, by the way — just signed Kyle Lohse. Maybe not the smartest deal in the world, the Brewers minor league system is a mess, but I can’t fault the Brewers owner, Mark Attanasio, for trying. And the fans have responded. The Brewers last season were 6th in attendance in the NL; the Mets were 11th. The Brewers averaged 34,955 a game. The Mets drew 27,687 — better than Miami, Arizona, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Houston.
Hold on, Jimmy. What I was going to say was, the clock on Sandy. For some reason Alderson has been given the situation he inherited from Omar as a shield since day one. There has always been a lot more talk about the bad contracts he inherited, and not enough about the assets. Where would we be right now if Beltran and Dickey weren’t part of the inheritance? Or Harvey?
Well, that worm is going to turn. When d’Arnaud and Wheeler get here fans and the media are going to want to see progress. Alderson has worked in an incredibly low-pressure environment. By the end of the year the excuses will be gone. All the contracts will have expired, and there will no longer be any service time excuses left to use to delay the arrival of our two crown prospects. This should begin to create a very different atmosphere for Alderson, as he will be judged like a normal GM.
I hope so. Joe D at Metsmerized — who is easily one of the sagest Mets observers out there — had a good piece yesterday where he offered up this observation:
I commented that folks can believe both things to be true: the present team sucks, but the future will include championships. But here’s the thing. The present is here before our eyes. It is concrete, measurable, real. Belief in the future is an act of faith, involving hope, trust, and luck. It’s not real, not yet, and may never be. We’ve been following the Kansas City plan. It doesn’t always work. Ask the folks in Lawrence.
Pressure is good. Alderson has a lot of work to do and needs to shift modes from deconstruction to building. And he needs help from his owners. Our payroll is laughable and has no relationship to our market. That is not Sandy’s fault. While waiting out the building of a new foundation this was all reasonable but beginning mid-season 2013 it is time to see some financial commitment from these owners. Pressure will clearly rise in this regard as well, I view this as another positive. Madoff was years ago and Fred told us he is fine now. Prove it. I’m not saying go crazy, but if we have a chance to get a good major league outfielder at the deadline and he will be more expensive in dollars than prospects, we better be all in.
In the meantime, I could see this team limp off to a record of 32-48 and be fortunate. The only direction is up!