Punting 2014 Is Not an Option

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Mike:

Okay Jimmy, we are progressing through the stages of grief since Matt Harvey went down. So I’m there now, I’ve gotten to acceptance. Take a deep breath, Mets fans, this team can still be good again, in 2014, even if Matt Harvey cannot pitch. Matt Harvey is great, any team would miss Matt Harvey, but Harvey is not the only bright spot in 2013. And one of those bright spots continues to be pitching.

Considering he just joined the team in July, Zack Wheeler looks fantastic, everything we could have hoped he would be. Jon Niese has rebounded tremendously after his stint on the disabled list, pitching brilliant ball, and Dillon Gee has had a great second half. As the news this week proved, you never have too much pitching, but this team still has a lot of good, healthy, young arms.

Jimmy:

Let’s start with Rafael Montero, who has proven all that he can prove in Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah, St. Lucie, Binghamton, and Las Vegas. If they put this guy on the Super 2 train, I might lose my mind. Let him start contributing this Spring.

If Harvey’s injury shows us anything — and there’s so much to learn from it, frankly — it’s that most of these guys have a limited amount of bullets in the chamber. You can’t look five years down the line, can’t assume anything. It doesn’t help the Mets if too many healthy years are spent on the farm. Once a guy can help the big club, he’s got to come up. Here’s my pitching philosophy in a nutshell: “Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.” That said, I can see Noah Syndergaard on the Super 2 track, because he’s younger and it’s not ideal to install two rookies into the rotation at the same time. Come July, Thor will be capable of making the same impact that Zack Wheeler made this season.

Mike:

There is no good reason Montero can’t be on this team Opening Day. DeGrom as well, if needed. And an investment in a starting pitcher can be added to the shopping list as well.

Jimmy:

Yes, they are going to have to bring in some kind of veteran, that’s the cost of losing Harvey. Shawn Marcum money, but hopefully with a better result. Of course, Matt Harvey has tweeted that he’ll be ready this April 1st. That’s wishful thinking. Meija’s recovery could be important, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Look, I believe the Mets pitching depth has been wildly overstated in some parts. Some folks love counting eggs; I want chickens. Without a healthy Matt Harvey, I can’t see trading either Montero or Syndergaard.

Mike:

People need to keep their eye on the ball. We were told for years that 2014 was the target because at that point all of the old contracts would have expired. That is still the case. I love Matt Harvey but it’s never about one guy, not even Matt.

Jimmy:

In 2011, the Cardinals season looked doomed before it started because of Wainwright's injury. They went on to win the World Series.

In 2011, the Cardinals season looked doomed before it started because of Wainwright’s injury. They went on to win the World Series.

Injuries are part of the game. Tough cookies. And the job just got harder, no doubt. But before the injury, I strongly felt that the club was poised to take a big leap into playoff contention, provided management was willing to make key moves with the resources available. There’s financial room to bring in Abreu or Choo, for example. There’s room to take on salary in order to upgrade at shortstop. The club can’t fold up the tent because we lost one guy. The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright in 2011 and won the World Series. They lost Chris Carpenter in 2012 and fell one game short of returning to defend the title. You regroup, you reassemble, and you get back to it. The Mets organization cannot continue to bleed out into the drain for another year. It’s time.

Fred stood up in February and claimed that the team’s financial worries were “in the rear-view mirror,” and that Alderson had the financial flexibility to make major free-agent signings. That needs to be part of the solution. Ownership has to get back into the game.

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Mike:

Exactly. The narrative for years was that the combination of Madoff and non-productive contracts made investment imprudent. The goal of the last three years has been hang out, hang on, and build the farm for when those contracts expired. At that point, we were told, the Mets would get serious about competing again. Let’s remember, the 2013 team is more than ten games under .500, as we lose game after game for lack of offense. Use the proper resources to address that and this team can still win a lot of games in 2014.

The story was never we are waiting to build a team around Matt Harvey. We have had a setback, one that will have a ripple effect on the organization. What it should not do is derail the goal. Playoffs or bust in 2014.

When it comes to that, I’m not ready to accept anything less.

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Patrick Boegel says:

    The Mets are so frightening bereft of positional talent of consequence at the minor league level is what makes hopes of contending in 2014 hard to fathom.

    They are overloaded with role players and bit parts. I just don’t see enough answers out there to net a playoff team without making a trade and the only asset they’ve got is arms.

    The last couple of year I’ve listened to some who follow the Mets often compare the “plan” to the 1984 Mets, which has yet to come to fruition in any real sense. Sadly I think this is starting to look like the 1997 Mets is the next logical step. When Generation K imploded and the Mets had to begin the task of putting the mercenaries around the bits and roles.

    They can be that hap hazardish bunch that played meaningful games in September for two years under Valentine, perhaps, though I’d guess Collins is not going to be able to mastermind that plan.

    All we need is a 1B, SS, RF, LF and an entire bullpen

  2. A couple of things, though, that the Mets have going for them are that 1) They don’t play in the A.L. East and 2) That they don’t play in the A.L. at all.

    There are no great teams in the N.L., just some good ones. As MLB increasingly resembles the NHL (with now two Wild Card slots), there are more opportunities than ever to go for a playoff spot. Every team in the N.L. (except, perhaps, the Cubs, Marlins and Astros) should have as its goal to make into the playoffs in 2014.

    Raise your hand if you thought the Pirates would be so good this year, or that the Nats would be so bad? Even minus Harvey, if the Mets are aggressive and creative in the off-season this year, there’s no reason to punt 2014. Remember, we don’t have to win 95-100 games anymore to make the playoffs. An 85-90 win team could very well be enough. Hell, even the ’73 Mets got to the World Series with fewer wins than that, and that was long before Wild Cards even existed.

    Do we have some holes? Obviously. Virtually every team in our league, certainly within our division, does. The Braves have survived injuries, a horrible year from B.J. Upton, and the loss of Chipper Jones, and they are going full speed ahead. It can be done. Let’s not give any excuses to Mets upper-management to avoid once again making hard decisions, or seriously investing in the product on the field.

    • Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I humbly submit to you this afternoon’s Mets-Phillies contest as further evidence in support of William Miller’s contention.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      The Nationals I believe are guilty of believing their own poop smelled like roses, which was a mantra delivered loudly from the GM down when they shut Strasburg down last year. Nothing says hubris like announcing we will be here forever even though we’ve never been here before.

      That said, it comes down to talent. The Braves have it, which is why they can weather some storms, the Nats have it which is why they can come back with some changes, even the Marlins have better talent on the horizon than the Mets.

      So yes, anything can happen, but the Mets have to make trades to get better and I just don’t see them ever being on the side of trading young talent to get an established star, it is just not this groups comfort zone. They ALWAYS want to have the “win” when making a deal.

  3. Eraff says:

    Lagares….d’Arnaud….Flores…. 3 players who have made MLB debuts this year. Some of the young Arms that have been pushing up over the past year or so— in reality the system has been pretty productive over the past year. Like any farm system, it is unbalanced….THE TRADE needs to be a bigger tool going forward. The roster also cannot be ONLY young guys cutting their teeth. Note the mix that the Braves have of both Home Grown and external talent. Your young players look better when they are PART of a quality mix.

    It’s not in their comfort zone….. and it hasn’t been part of their Wallet. They need to choose and trade and take a stand on WINNING. I believe their first need is tio locate a professional LH Bat. I don’t know if that’s BRian McCann as a Free Agent First Base Conversion or Ethier as a RF’er or Cargo….. or Choo. Opportunity needs to dictate….they have a place for a bat.

    The Harvey thing is a gigantic hit—it’s not a death blow.

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