A GOAL FOR THE 2013 SEASON: A Strong Finish

Jimmy:

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.

Mike:

Yes, and if we rip out our eyeballs in April and we do not improve, we will not know!

And come late April, he may be the lucky one.

And come late April, he may be the lucky one.

Jimmy:

Ever the optimist! But in this case, the optimist might need an optometrist.

Mike:

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.

Wilmer Becerra.

Wilmer Becerra.

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 –

Jimmy:

– 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.”

If the Mets were lucky enough to have this guy, would he be "working on things" in Nevada?

If the Mets were lucky enough to have this guy, would he be “working on things” in Nevada?

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.

Mike:

doomsdayHold 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.

Jimmy:

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:

half-hate-like

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.

Mike:

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.

Jimmy:

In the meantime, I could see this team limp off to a record of 32-48 and be fortunate. The only direction is up!

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14 comments

  1. eric says:

    My hopes for a second half surge is focused ONLY on a surge of new players. I’m hoping that the roster looks very different in August—— the “fills” will have been traded at outstanding value….. some prospects will have been packaged for an actual player…… Wheeler, d’Arnaud will be regular features……

    The on-field team on August 1 may have 8-10 different CORE faces. that’s my hope

    • While I would like to share your optimism on the fills, the guys like Marcum, Buck, Byrd they are simply not going to get anything of significance in a trade. If EVERY THING broke right for Marcum perhaps we get something because of the need that always exists for pitching, but would you trade anything of value ever for Buck or Byrd?

  2. I think that by Memorial Day the Mets are hurting, limping and a back page laughing stock. I think the faux feel good notions of David Wright as Captain will be replaced with a crew of guys insufficient to take on the heat of losing in New York.

    It will cost Terry Collins his job because for the first time in his tenure Alderson will be pressured to not preach patience as the scene gets uglier by the day.

    The worst case scenario is that this team pulls a 2011 or 2012 first few months, defying gravity and getting myopic Sandy backers to say “see, see, see I told you!” completely ignoring the finishes of 2011 and 2012.

    The first scenario would be preferable because it will force this front office to be more aggressive in two places, the draft and how they sign their players (which I know helps no one in 2013 or 2014) and ultimately their earnestness in pulling together a major league roster.

    Not looking for recklessness from Sandy and his Golden Retriever, just looking for a higher degree of urgency, maybe a pulse.

  3. eric says:

    Yes…a Contender with a Catcher Injury MAY provide value for Buck….. 6-8 Starts from Santana could do the same… BYRD—NO….I believe the Mets should Cut Byrd NOW—without trading away a younger player to preserve the 40 man roster.

    They are a MESS….. The ownership sucks

  4. [...] Link: 2013 Goal for the Mets should be to finish strong 2 Guys talking Baseball [...]

  5. Bill Kelley says:

    Love that finally someone has pointed out the Mets collapses after the all star game. It is a terrible record and needs to be addressed. How can you be optimistic on their chances with an outfield as currently constructed. Basically there is no hope of improvement from the farm. The Mets have the same holes in the starting 8 as the last 3 years. Where is the 2014 improvement coming from? Don’t think buying pieces for the outfield is necessarily a successful formula. You can have good pitching but you need to be able to catch the ball in the outfield, particularly in Citi Field. Agree it is a mess

    • I’m disappointed that progress has been this slow, and right now it’s very, very difficult to see 2014 as a playoff year. But this is Sandy’s final “free pass” season, so I’m willing to watch what transpires.

      We drink bourbon here at “2 Guys,” not Kool-Aid.

  6. Peter says:

    Thank you for going off on the service time issue. I am sick and tired of hearing about it. It makes it seem as if the Mets are a small market team. I agree with the Twins GM…if the guy is good enough to make the major league roster on April 1, then go for it. On the other hand, I don’t think Wheeler is quite ready. D’ Anauld might be ready, but a month in Vegas is not going to hurt him. By the way, the worst were all the people worried about him getting injured in the last week of spring training with the big club…

    • Peter, it’s a tricky issue, but at a certain point you’d like to see management put a premium on winning. Bringing in fans isn’t the worst idea in the world. A lot of fans and experts are killing Ryan for bringing up a terrific, young player, but I happen to love it. Terry Ryan, incidentally, started out as a scout for the Mets — during possibly their greatest period in draft and player development, 1980-83. Since 2001, Ryan’s Twins made the playoffs 6 times. If you reread his comments above, you’ll notice his total focus on THE PLAYER. What he has earned. How they don’t “do that” to players. In general, and in part due to the rise of statistical-based decision-making, we are seeing more CONFORMITY of opinion than I can remember. So I do root for the iconoclast. You get the feeling that he’s sick of losing these past dreadful seasons in Minnesota. Lastly, Ryan is a minor league guy, and their system is loaded — much better than the Mets.

  7. Philip harris says:

    This organization will never be a winner again as long as the Wilpons own this team.they traded away strawberry because of money

  8. Eric says:

    Santana OUT for the season…. I believe this should be a reason to push d’Arnaud and Wheeler forward NOW—- Cut Byrd—preserve as much youth as possible and Move ahead—their is simply no model for Interesting baseball EXCEPT young players—Competing is now a full blown myth.

    Get your young guys up and let them grow

  9. FL Met Fan Rich says:

    Went to the game yesterday and have decided that this team is UNWATCHABLE! They are a disgrace to the Mets uniform.

    I can’t wait for them to get out of Florida! I would tell them to take their trash with them, but they are the trash.

    Get the April plan and get there early and often! This team might be mathematically eliminated by Memorial Day!

    You know it’s going to be bad when they have to bribe you to go to opening day with another free ticket to watch this train wreck, and they still won’t sell out!

  10. [...] said it before, I’ll say it again, it starts the clock Sandy has dreaded all along. The clock on Sandy. Alderson has had this tremendous period (for him) where no matter what happens to this franchise [...]

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