The Mets: How Bad Will 2013 Be?

So the R.A. Dickey trade not only removed a 20-game winner from the rotation, it failed to address a single immediate pressing need for the 2013 season. Remember GM Sandy Alderson’s quip about “What Outfield?” Maybe he should skip the jokes and go back to –err what is his job again?

Sarcasm aside, I will give credit where it is due: the trade Alderson made with Toronto for Dickey, Josh Thole and my 2012 “favorite” Mike Nickeas, was much better than the one I proposed and proved that the front office can make trades. Getting two of the Blue Jays’ top prospects could eventually prove to be a great return. Still, my deal (Gose and Arencibia for Dickey) would have patched three and maybe four holes in the 2013 lineup: center field, catcher, leadoff hitter and another right handed power hitter.

Instead, I do anticipate that the Colin Cowgill trade and the Andrew Brown signings will represent all the team’s offseason attempts to address the right handed situation. No re-signing of Scott Hairston, which makes their unwillingness to move him last July even more maddening. For at least the beginning of the season, John Buck, with his 2012 slash line of 192/297/347 and his .991 fielding average are the answer behind the plate. Those numbers are better than what his projected backup Anthony Recker, did last year, but Recker is from my native hometown of Catasauqua, PA so he gets a pass.

All of this makes you look forward to 2013, no?

Speaking of which, just how bad will the Mets be in 2013? A recent ESPN piece projected the Mets to win 66 games in 2013. I wonder if even that is a stretch. This projection doesn’t take in account the paper-thin depth the club has against the inevitable injuries and the inability of many players to adjust to the pressures of playing in New York. The club (mainly thru its online mouthpiece MetsBlog) has done a good job of looking busy this offseason, but the facts are that with less than a month before Spring Training begins, the 2013 Mets will not doubt be bad, probably really bad and perhaps even historically bad, as in this being one of the worst seasons in the past 40 years of the franchise.

Two things stand in the way of an historical season. The first is the presence of the probably even more pitiful Miami Marlins in the same division, who after their massive fire sale this offseason, could actually approach the 1962 Mets (or at least the 2003 Tigers) in terms of awfulness. It is conceivable that the Mets could take 12 of 19 games against the Minnows. So, if the Mets play at a .400 clip against the rest of the competition, that equals 70 wins, still bad, but somewhat north of epic. The other “mitigating” factor could be better than expected contributions from Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Araund and some of the other young players. That would be outstanding, but could it lift them past the level of say, the 1968 team, which also had a collection of young and/or developing talent? That team won 74 games, or the same as last year’s total. The worst part of that type of outcome would be the noise coming from the tools about this being progress. There is also the chance that Alderson could engineer a trade for Justin Up…nah, let’s just stick to only those remotely possible outcomes!

So, when all is said and done, where will this team rank on the all-time roll call of bad Mets teams? Before we go further, two caveats: the first is that I will disqualify the Stengel-Westrum era from this post as I was too young to be following them then and the team was essentially starting from scratch. Also, “bad “is defined mainly by wins and losses and not disappointments like 2007 or 1988. That attended to, here are my choices for the all-time worst seasons in Met history:

1974: This season was both bad AND disappointing. The Mets had a season for the ages the year before, coming from last place in July to force a Game 7 of the World Series. Like many fans, I expected the now-fully healthy team to romp past the National League again and beat Oakland in a rematch. I was wrong. Instead of the clutch hitting they exhibited down the stretch in ’73, the club hit a collective 235 with an anemic 95 homers. Surprise 1973 twelve game winner George Stone suffered a career ending injury, while ace Tom Seaver battled nagging hurts all season en route to a tough 11-11 campaign. The front office traded Tug McGraw, the team’s soul, after the season, the first major step in the dismantling of the 1969 and 1973 miracle teams. No one knew it at the time, but it would be another 12 seasons until the Mets would again reach the post-season. Final record: 71-91

1982: This was the year it was finally supposed to get better. The Mets had assembled a three-headed offensive troika of Dave Kingman, Ellis Valentine (who cost them Jeff Reardon in a trade) and George Foster. There was talk of changing the air traffic patterns from LaGuardia due to the homers. Instead the trio managed 58 round trippers, disappointing enough, but then consider that Kingman hit 37 of them. The rotation boasted two Cy Young Award winners past and future, however neither of them (Randy Jones or Mike Scott) pitched anywhere near that form in ’82. Some seeds were sown: Doc Gooden was drafted in the first round and GM Frank Cashen had dealt fan favorite Lee Mazzilli to Texas right before the season for a pair of rookie pitchers the press dubbed “The Texas Strangers,” one of whom was right handed stud and future broadcaster Ron Darling, while the other (Walt Terrell) was dealt for Howard Johnson. Future 86ers Mookie Wilson, Wally Backman, Jessie Orosco and Doug Sisk all saw action this year. Final record: 65-97.

2003: From a 15-2 Opening Day thumping at the hands of the Cubs, to Steve Phillips being fired , to Art Howe’s “we battled” statements, to Mo Vaughn’s expanding waistline, to Tom Glavine’s reluctant presence as a Met, to the dramatic selling off of veterans in July, this season was a total disaster. Rumor has the Mets passing on getting either Robinson Cano or Adrian Gonzalez in return for failed closer Armando Benitez because they wouldn’t pick up any of Benitez’ salary. Fred Wilpon had hired Art Howe to manage the Mets the year before because Art “lit up the room.” The only thing lit up this season would be the Mets pitching staff, which gave up a hit and a half per inning and allowed over 750 runs. 40-year old David Cone started four games for them before retiring. The sole bright spot was the debut of Jose Reyes. Final record: 66-95.

1979: You could lump all of the seasons between 1977 and 1983 on this list, but 1979 stands out as a particularly horrible year. Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, McGraw, Staub, Kingman and Ryan are long gone. All of them had big years elsewhere. About all the Mets have left is the late Joan Payson’s daughter, Lorinda DeRoulet, who is now calling the shots. She thought that club could save money by washing dirty balls. (She meant baseballs, keeping them at game quality—jeez). Average game attendance was just over 9,500, so they would have needed to wash plenty of balls to cover the shortfall. The curtain came down on the DeRoulet/Grant regime after this season, a development which we can only hope is mirrored after 2013 (if not, maybe Jeff can start washing some balls). Final record: 63-99.

1993: The sequel to 1992 and The Worst Team Money Could Buy. With the highest payroll in the National League the Mets went 59-103, almost an exact reversal of 1986’s regular season record. There were plenty of embarrassing incidents along the way: Vince Coleman’s firecracker toss at young fans, Bret Saberhagen’s super soaker full of bleach, Eddie Murray’s sullenness, Anthony Young setting the all-time consecutive losses record and what seemed like half the roster’s on-going feud with the press, lead by chief thug Bobby Bonilla. Manager Jeff Torborg, and GM Al Harazin were both fired, Harazin never to work in major league baseball again. New Manager Dallas Green was a total disaster and not just on the field. Remember his comment about beating his wife after loses? The team’s slogan was “Hard Ball is Back.” Hardly. Unlike 1982, where at least some good was started, the Mets would go through yet another GM and another manager and nearly a complete roster overhaul before they would even begin to recover from this disaster. Final record: you read that already.

While I think Alderson’s veneer of respectability and the actual gravitas of David Wright and Terry Collins will keep things from sinking to 1979 or 1993 levels, 2003 and 1982 might be hearing footsteps by the end of this August for their spot on the list. What do you think? Sound off below.

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Communications Coordinator. He is married, lives in Bethlehem PA and has a 10-year-old son who unfortunately roots for the Phillies.
  1. Englishman in Amsterdam January 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm
    The Mets are going to suck, and I’ve more than made my peace with that.

    Here’s what bothers me most about this season to come however. Alderson is meant to be a sabermetric guy, as is DePodesta. Every single sabermetrician will tell you saves are overrated and it’s much cheaper to find a pitcher and make him into a closer. So, with that in mind, WHY ARE THEY GIVING BRIAN WILSON PRIVATE WORKOUTS?!

    I’m fine with losing as long as it has a purpose. I’m fine with trading Dickey if it has a purpose, even though to be honest I’m yet to see what that purpose is. I’m fine with blowing up the team and starting kids all year, as long as there is some genuine perception of a future with them.

    What I’m not fine with is willfully disregarding core tenets of what it is the team is allegedly attempting to do. It’s like going on a diet but then refusing to take out your daily trip to McDonald’s for breakfast. What’s the point?

    • Englishman in Amsterdam January 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm
      …And more importantly, how many save opportunities is this team ever going to create in the first place? This team is killing me.
      • Jason Bay January 15, 2013 at 11:11 pm
        You have to take your thoughts beyond 2013 because some things cant be fixed in the time frame we would all like them to be. The idea is to be great for a long time, nit mediocre sooner.

        Arencibia is above average at one thing, home runs, likely blunted at Citi. Gose has exceptional talent but not more so than Syndergaard and has a bigger but potential despite being closer to contributing and he is no leadoff hitter despite having the wheels.

        The situation we’re in blows but settling for less quicker is not the answer and it’s not Alderson’s fault there are no out fielders or catchers in the system. Sure he can give away the store, collect accolades for winning the off season but we’ve already done that a number of times and it’s all we’ve won in 25 years.

        Now is the time to add the high end pieces that are likely to dominate and have them here for a long time.

  2. DaveSchneck January 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm
    Dan,
    From my recollection, the ’93 team was the worst. I don’t expect anything close to that in ’13. There is still plenty of time and available players to improve the ’13 team without sacrificing the future. Unlike the Englishman, I see no harm in pursuing Wilson. He can improve the pen and not block development of anyone. The can use a real closer.
    • Joe Janish January 15, 2013 at 12:26 am
      1977 through 1982 were pretty bad, too.
      • DaveSchneck January 15, 2013 at 9:35 am
        Yeah, I wasn’t or able to follow 62-68, and I hear they were lovable losers, but if you string them together 77-82 they were really really bad. The thing is, unlike today, you could go to a game for like $4, move into great seats, and get an upclose watch. That took out some of the sting. Even with inflation, $63 for the cheapest seat opening day for a 74 win team that has traded its Cy Young pitcher and has yet to sign a FA is downright psychotic.
        • Joe Janish January 15, 2013 at 10:07 am
          That’s pretty much the problem with the Mets being lovable losers today — there’s a disconnect when you overcharge for inferior product.

          I grew up fairly poor, but going to a few Mets games a year was still in the budget. Other than schools and community organizations getting free tickets from the Mets, I don’t know how kids from low-class / lower-middle class families can enter Citi Field. Further, can those families afford to pay a cable bill every month and see the games on TV? Though, there are still a few dozen games on channel 11.

          Citi Field is definitely more family-friendly than Shea ever was — but, I wonder how many families can afford to enjoy that friendliness?

        • DaveSchneck January 15, 2013 at 11:30 am
          Joe,
          Agree 100%…your top sentence really sums it up. I grew up similar to you. The prices are still really high even if the team was good and the payroll $130 mil +. Unfortunately the Wilpons aren’t going anywhere, they had a great 2012 financially. I just hope the resume investing in the team at a proper level, no more $$ excuses.
      • Carl January 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm
        I have to agree with you there Joe…..those were some VERY lean years to be a metropolitan fan. What made it worse for me being from the Lehigh Valley was that I had to listen to all the Phillies nonsense as well. What also angers me is the Mets shouldn’t be in this position at all. You have to question the integrity of Major League baseball when the Wilpons can keep thier team while McCourt had to sell his? Obvious questions really need to be answered regarding all of this. I do know that being a New York sports team should preclude any ownership from spending like a small market team. If you can’t afford to do it right than get out of the way and let an ownership group come in that has the money to spend and will spend it to bring in a winner. There is really no reason the Mets should conduct business and play 2nd fiddle to the Yankees from a fiscal standpoint. They have a new stadium, TV station and New York fan base. Why were the Wilpons allowed to keep their team but McCourt had to sell? I would love to hear what all of your thoughts are. Thanks for a great blog.
        • NormE January 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm
          Carl, I hope you don’t mind if I offer an answer to your Wilpon/ McCourt question. Wilpon is a Selig loyalist while McCourt was an interloper who Bud didn’t like. Thus, Wilpon stays and McCourt goes.
          The bottom line, to me, is that Bud is at the root of the Mets situation. He named the GM. Both believe in the small market approach. The Wilpons are simply happy to have allowed to remain in the game. Winning is not the primary aim.
        • Joe Janish January 17, 2013 at 12:29 am
          Norm – succinct, on-point explanation. It came down to best buddies protecting each other in the old boys club, and the one unwelcome member getting kicked out.
  3. Quinn January 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm
    Wilson won’t cost a closers salary and with 2013 punted it won’t hurt to look at a former all star for cheap. If he is successful that is a player that can help when they are competitive again. Of course that’s why I don’t understand why they are so unwilling to acquire anyone who can contribute now in a major way. It’s not like the player isn’t gonna be around in 2 years to contribute to a wining team.
    • Joe Janish January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am
      The question is whether the Wilpons will be around in two years to contribute the cash necessary for a winning team.
      • Carl January 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm
        The Wilpons can’t leave soon enough for me. My fear is they will never sell. They really need to stop being selfish and get out. For the good of the franchise, city and most importantly for the fan base. They are a disgrace…
  4. norme January 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm
    Dan,
    Good, realistic post. Enjoyed the stroll thru our misery.

    This season, as the team is now constituted, could be a very painful one.

    I would say more but it depresses me too much.

  5. argonbunnies January 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm
    I’d expect more like the ’94-’95 Mets. That’d be 78 wins. Hmm. That does sound a bit optimistic. Still, I think the roster comparison is a good one, with Niese playing the role of Bobby Jones, Wright as the one good hitter in the lineup at any given moment, and lots of subpar OFs.
  6. The King January 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm
    Abandon hope, ye who enter here. Speaking of entering, Citi Field, I shall not. Not even on a freebie. No money for you, Wilpons!
  7. TexasGusCC January 14, 2013 at 11:58 pm
    Folks, hear me out before you have me committed. I don’t think the team will be terrible. They will not contend, but have enough pitching (assuming Santana pitches well so they can trade him) to stay in most games. And, that’s all it takes. Who was the manager that said: “Keep them close, I’ll think of something”?

    Before last year, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was a good hitter in the minors that didn’t have enough pop to play the corner and not enough range to play center. Hopefully the bad season was attributed to injuring himself in May and trying to play through. After all, he was hitting .275 at that time. Keeping an eye on Valdespin, as he did well in winter ball and hope he is ready to grow up.

    Murphy and Wright are solid hitters. Davis deserves a chance to show what player he can be, and he does have a sweet swing. Those guys rarely suck.

    #5: Seeing that he is in his walk year, think Buck can produce like he did when he was in his previous walk year three years ago? Now we are reaching.

    Have no faith in Duda. I expect a left handed Kingman, at best; with terrible defense. On the plus side, he hit .245ish against righthanders and lefthanders. Yippee!!

    Tejada better get alot of two out hits, or Baxter will lead off more at #8 than he will at #1.

    The rest will be bullet points:
    - Saberhagen was using bleach? Seriously? I didn’t remember that. Joe, how strong a name can I call him without getting booted from the website?
    - Applaud Alderson for dragging his feet to not sign Dickey. What is he going to do for us? Help us climb into third? Come on folks. We needed an infusion, not a mirage. Ironically, I also thought Arrencibia and Gose would be great; so did Anthopoulos, probably. LOL!
    - Don’t mind one, but not both of the Cowell or that Colorado Springs phenom Brown signings. [13 players hit over Brown’s .306 on that team, five of them played regularly] Really want to see someone better.
    - Couldn’t understand Alderson not trading Reyes, other than orders from Wilpon to sell tickets. Cincinnati would have given us Hamilton, he was in single A and the Reds felt they were ready to win the World Series.
    - Think Alderson really regrets that joke in November about the outfield, but never fathomed not being able to get anyone better. The only move I think he slept on was not signing Pierre who was perfect for what the Mets need.

    I predict 76 – 86, with being around .500 until mid August when all pretenders drop out. Wishful???

    • MikeT January 15, 2013 at 11:39 am
      I don’t necessarily disagree Gus. I’m doubtful, but I watch to see what will happen regardless. I am looking forward to seeing the progress of Harvey, Tejada, Davis, Kirk, Wheeler and d’Arnaud (eventually), etc. Wins mean less to me right now. I think since the Mets have fed me 2014 from the start of Sandy’s tenure as the year they expect to compete, I will start truly expecting results then. Until then if the team gets off to another great start I will be giddy and enjoy every second, instead of dreading the inevitable doom that awaits.
  8. norme January 15, 2013 at 1:27 am
    “Keep them close, I’ll think of something” was from Charlie Dressen as I recall.
    Wishful? Yeah but, without guys like you the gloom of reality would be daunting. So we’ll hear you out and not commit you——yet.
  9. MikeT January 15, 2013 at 11:12 am
    Dan, was hoping you would explain your dig on Metsblog. I read this, Amazin Avenue, and Metsblog regularly. Matt Cerrone seems a bit of an optimist, but he is consistently like that and has been since before Metsblog was owned by SNY. I don’t buy the conspiracy that Metsblog is a mouthpiece for the Mets. I just don’t think I’ve seen much a difference from before it was an SNY blog. Maybe I’m wrong…
    • Dan Capwell January 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm
      Mike:
      Metsblog is the Wilpon’s transparent attempt to influence your thinking. Matt (who is a terrible writer IMHO) is on a very short leash and there is an obvious push to garner clicks by the onslaught of non-stories masquerading as news. It used to be fun to read about trade rumors or possible free agent signings, when there was a chance that something could actually happen. Now, the editorial bent from that site reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s character at the end of Animal House: “relax all is well!”

      Speaking of movies, maybe you saw the movie Almost Famous? There’s line by the Lester Bangs character to William Miller about being taken in by the friendship and perks from the people he is supposed to be brutally honest about. That is what has happened to Matt and the boys. I was going to expand the ball washing gag to include them, but thought better of it at the last minute.

      A winning season (or two) would cure all these ills.

      • MikeT January 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm
        As an aside, you probably thought the ball washing gag was funny or clever but I found it sophomoric and inappropriate. When I read the line, I had to go back and reread the previous sentence to realize you were making the joke at the expense of Lorinda DeRoulet being a woman. How old are you? This is the type of joke a high school boy might use.

        Back to the point, isn’t it possible that someone close to the Mets is reassured by how professional and on point the front office seems when compared to the chaos of Minaya? Also, are you just ignoring the posts that exclaim the frustration from Matt on the lack of action by Sandy? Or are you going to explain that as a clever ruse to throw people off the sent of the Metsblog propaganda machine? Hiding in plain sight, as it were. I know the types who think this way (my brother for example) and I just don’t share this viewpoint on the world. So sorry I won’t take the bait. Metsblog is a blog with a different tone than this one, that is all as far as I’m concerned.

        • CWet January 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm
          This is right on. I’m tired of this grumpy douche spewing hate. I’m stumped as to why joe let’s this clown on here. I read lots of Mets blogs just to try to get the different flavors. The only thing I can’t stand is righteous windbags like Dan. Get over it already! The wilpons suck, you don’t own the team and sandy is smarter than you. Cross your fingers, hope for some wins and stfu because you contribute absolutely zero to the equation.
        • Joe Janish January 17, 2013 at 12:34 am
          Dan Capwell writes here for several reasons, among them (but not limited to):

          1. I like proving a broader perspective

          2. There are many, many Mets fans who share Dan’s pain and thus feel consoled they’re not the only ones feeling that way

          3. Regardless of whether you agree with his opinions, Dan is a very good writer — and there aren’t enough good writers in the Mets blogosphere

        • CWet January 17, 2013 at 1:29 am
          I fired off abruptly at this article because I too feel the pain as a passionate Met fan. I also appreciate “different” perspectives but muckraking and bashing other sites doesn’t validate a good writer. Nor does hate monger-ing against a wayward team that is trying to build a future after years of blundering. There are some like able guys on this team and I’m rooting for them.
          Where should money be spent? If the Mets had a billion $ I wouldn’t want the FA on the market so now is the best time to sit tight and hope the roster turns into something better than expected.if not then root for the youth to develop into an exciting team to watch. This sense of entitlement because it’s NY has to stop. I’m as tired of the wilpons as anyone but they own the f’ing team and it ain’t changing. I’d like to see the Walton’s cure cancer but they are still going to run Walmart and sell crap for cheap.
          The point is, I’m not going to stop being a fan and if I still lived in NY I’d go to as many games as i could afford. Even if the sky is falling. And when and if it does,I hope it falls on Dan.
        • NormE January 18, 2013 at 1:28 am
          CWet—–a bit over the top!
          We’re all “passionate” Met fans. Let’s not lose perspective, even when we disagree. And if the sky is falling we know that Lucas Duda probably wouldn’t catch it.
      • Carl January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm
        Again I agree. The Wilpons are the problem. They severely edit and censor what can be said on SNY by the announcers and post game shows. They want to control any information that is dissemminated from the organization. It is really disgusting and until the fan base cuts off the funding of this sub par product they continue to push off on us we will have to endure being lied to and made a fool of. The current GM is a moneyball guy and is here to run this ballclub like it is from a small market. Well this is New York. No excuse for this nonsense. the Wilpons gotta go. Stay away until they go away. As long as Fritz and company own this team they will never tell us the truth and will continue to make fools of one of the greatest fan bases in all of sports.
  10. Dan B January 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm
    To me, the difference between other bad times and this is that then, the Mets really wanted to be good but they were incompetent. Now, the leadership is not only incompetent, but they are more concerned in fighting to keep the team then they are in winning. This whole “rebuilding through the farm system” is a scam to hide the fact that they will not be investing in the team on the major league level nor the minor league level. I feel lied to and cheated and insulted. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wright is traded before he starts making big money as part of the rebuilding. I wouldn’t be surprised if our young players such as Davis are traded once they hit arbitration as part of rebuilding. I wouldn’t be surprised if Santana is traded not for the best prospect but for the biggest salary relief. Same for our closer. Three years into rebuilding and our farm system has one decent prospect in AAA and ranks below average.
  11. norme January 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    Dan B, as one who was there from the Mets’ inception I find that your statement “they are more concerned in fighting to keep the team then they are in winning” is right on point.
    The Wilpons are simply being untruthful about the team and their intentions. Ownership of the team is their defining cause.
    A psychological study of Fred Wilpon would be a most interesting (to me) undertaking. It would have to look at such things as the bogus creation of his son’s athletic career, his dealings with Doubleday and of course his relationship (both personal and financial) with Madoff.

    Bud Seelig, in the name of loyalty, has perpetuated this
    sham/scam.

    • TexasGusCC January 15, 2013 at 7:57 pm
      Norme, thank you for your response and I have a response, too. As fans, we don’t want to see the Pittsburgh Pirates, which you described. I am also a Dallas Cowboys fan and have that ego maniac wanting to be GM/President/Owner/Coaching Supervisor/Public Relations Guru. What can I do? He owns the team. I’m just a sucker that yells for him. So, I do as The King says, no money from me to him. Same thing for the Wilpons. When enough people force them to care, they will. Hopefully, sell. But, I hope Mark Cuban buys them, not Jefferey Loria.
  12. Steven January 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm
    I predict 75 wins for the following reasons:

    1. Outfield is better than last year by means of simple subtraction of Bay
    2. Buck behind the plate with some power and his ability to call a game is better than Thole, even if Buck hits just .220.

    3. If he stays healthy, Davis will challenge for the NL homefun title.
    4. I am optimistic that the Gee/Niese/Harvey and Santana will improve enough to make up for the loss of the Dickey innings In fact, if healthy Gee will win 15 games. You heard it here.

    • Kanehl January 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm
      Uh-oh. If these predictions coming true gets us to 75 wins, we may be sub-70:

      1. Subtracting Bay (and Torres) was necessary. But I don’t buy the “addition by subtraction” argument since we’re left with a collection of 5th OFs and AAA guys. Not an MLB starter among the bunch (unless Duda and Niewenheiss surprise us; and I’d give them the full chance to play because might as well find out).

      2. I agree, but don’t see this adding up to many added Ws.

      3. We’ll see (especially since there’s no protection below him). And, while 30-40 HRs will help, he’s been a 1 dimensional hitter so far. Not really the 850-950 OPS guy you want in the cleanup spot. Happy to have him, but we’re still left with half a lineup at best.

      4. I’m guardedly optimistic that Gee will come back healthy (but 15 wins on this team? remember, Dickey was lights out all year and got 20). I will be very surprised if Santana is effective; after the 134 pitch “no hitter” last year, he looked finished. Until Wheeler comes back, we look to be a starter or two short of a rotation.

      Having said all that, I am hopeful that Wheeler, Niese, Harvey, Gee, the SP we got from Toronto can make us competitive in 2015. We need to grow past a decade of inept drafting and player development under the last 3 GMs (and Capn. Jeffie, the Idiot Son), as witnessed by the fact that our top three (and only top-end) minor league players came from 2 recent trades.

      • argonbunnies January 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm
        1. I think a lot hinges on Duda. If he can get back to who he was in 2011, the organization is in much better shape, talent-wise. In he repeats 2012, our OF is a complete black hole. Based on his age and prior MLB experience, I can’t write off 2012 as growing pains, so I’m pessimistic.

        2. Anyone (including Thole 2013) would be better than Thole 2012. But Buck’s at the very, very low end of that.

        3. I’m with Kanehl.

        4. I love watching Gee pitch, but his fastball command hasn’t been that precise, and when he misses with it it gets hammered. He’s an asset, but not a difference-maker who’ll turn the team around. On a team that isn’t crushing the ball or fielding every grounder or locking down every lead, I couldn’t predict he’d win more than 9 or 10.

        Santana was fine after the no-hitter, it was the sprained ankle that did him in. He tried to be a tough guy through it, and in classic Mets tradition, no one noticed or intervened when it utterly screwed him up. His motion looked different, and I assume he hurt his arm pretty badly throwing like that, or he would never have been shut down with so little fuss. It’s 2006-2008 Pedro all over again. I expect that his days as an effective pitcher are done.

        There is no way we’re replacing 233 Cy-caliber innings. NO WAY.

        As for our last 10 drafts, at the time, some have looked good, others bad, overall about average. It’s afterward that things really start to slip, with a really awful rate of converting minor leaguers into useful major leaguers. I suspect a minor league overhaul is in order, but few teams ever do that.

        • Kanehl January 17, 2013 at 12:41 am
          I agree with argobunnies on Duda. In the second half of 2011, he looked like he could become a guy who could hit 20-25 HRs with a 340 OBP. In 2012, the wheels fell off. If he can get back on the track he seemed to be on, he could give us another mid order bat (though I wish we had a RH bat between him and Ike).

          Also agree on Gee. He’s been a pleasant surprise, but his stuff makes him a solid 4 or 5 starter. Good quality for that spot, certainly way better than the scrap heap remainders like Chris Short we’ve recently had, but not a 15 game winner.

          If Duda and Murphy (who backslid from a line drive doubles hitter to a sla singles guy) come back to strength, we may have a decent 5 hitter lineup. But that’s about it, and the rotation is really thin, at least until they bring Wheeler up.

        • Joe Janish January 17, 2013 at 12:53 am
          In about two weeks, Duda turns 27. In 2013, he’ll become either Corey Hart or Jason Botts. If the former, the Mets OF will still be far below average. If the latter, well, ugh.

          I heard someone on the radio say, “even if the Mets signed Josh Hamilton, their outfield still would be a disaster.” That’s pretty much true.

        • Kanehl January 17, 2013 at 2:54 am
          Ouch. But that sounds right. BTW, don’t you ever sleep? I’m 3 hours behind you (transplanted Garden Stater) so that’s why I’m still up.
        • Joe Janish January 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm
          Sleep is for babies.

          ;-)

  13. Carl January 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    Dan, I am also from Catasauqua…class of ’80…Met fan since ’68….You must have been around when Pat Kelly was playing for the Roughs…what years did you patrol Opportunity Field?
    • Dan Capwell January 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm
      CCHS grad 1978. Late 60′s in Op Field. I knew Pat’s sister.

      Small world.

  14. Dan B January 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm
    1) In 2012, by the last third of the season, Bay and Torres rarely played. The outfield didn’t get better by subtraction then. I usually associate “addition by subtraction” with clubhouse cancers. Bay and Torres were consider positive additions despite their production. What happens if a couple outfielders get hurt or fail and have to be set down? We could be looking at a historically bad outfield by mid August.
    2) I never have high hopes for players coming off of injuries, but at least Gee’s isn’t pitching related. Santana will either not pitch well or pitch well and be traded. Either way, we can’t expect much from him.
    3) As much as it scares me how little protection Wright will have behind me, it bothers me more how little opportunities he will have in front of him. With Reyes, he was a 100 RBI machine. Last year, even with a good year, he missed 100 RBIs. Wright will have a huge walk total.
    4) I worry about injuries to our infield. Who would play short or second?
    5) Catcher spot is a wild card. Buck could bounce back in a walk year or he could hit .175. D’Arnauld could play like the highly rated prospect he is or he could struggle since he would be a rookie catcher with a lot of pressure on him. If Buck does play well he would mean more to the Mets as trading value then wins and losses.

    I don’t want to make predictions now since the roster could still change, but I will be surprised if it does in any signficant way. Right now, I see another year of regression over last year.

    • Carl January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm
      I think the only thing that keeps this from being the worst team in Mets history is that they are in the same division as the Marlins and should pick up 12 cheap wins from them. It is a disgrace what went on this offseason from this organization. I couldn’t have ever imagined myself saying this but if you truly love the Mets you need to stay away from the ballpark til the Wilpons sell. As long as they are the owners this franchise will go nowhere. They are certainly one of the worst owners in all of professional sports.
  15. Joe January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    More Mets are horrible posts. Negative is the theme as it was last year. This page didn’t even deem the NO HITTER worth it. At some point, this becomes schtick.

    Seriously, what will ’13 be like? The team is not noticeably different than it was except for Dickey. Dickey gave you 20 wins. Dickey wasn’t going to give you that many even if he staid. Replace Dickey with some journeyman type you might get, what, 10 wins? That would get you around 66.

    That is, if nothing else changes. For instance, Santana gave you nothing much after June. Let’s say he gave you something, you know, a middling number of wins. This can give you as much as a +5. Let’s same the team didn’t totally collapse after the All Star Break. etc.

    I think the team will give you about the same amount of wins, give or take, next season. Somewhere in the 70s.

    • Joe Janish January 17, 2013 at 12:43 am
      That sounded a lot like a “Mets are horrible” comment.

      The irony!

      By the way, the Mets WERE horrible last year. If you go back to the archives of this blog when they had winning records, from ’06 to ’08, you’ll notice that the tone here was somewhat different.

      Don’t shoot the messenger. The attitude on this blog mirrors reality. You know where to find the pom-poms and Kool-Aid.

    • Kanehl January 17, 2013 at 12:53 am
      Don’t blame the posts; they just reflect reality. I’m hopeful that these things work to make the Mets truly competitive n 2015: (1) Wheeler, Niese and Harvey form a strong trio, the SP from the Jays comes up as a quality rookie and Gee remains a solid back end guy, (2) we fill in the Of corners with a trade and/or FA who are reasonably good #5 and 6 hitters, and (3) D’Arnaud becomes a Brian McCann. But as our payroll goes up (FAs, trades, Davis, Niese and others getting seniority), this heavily depends on Ferdie and the Idiot Son giving Alderson some of the $40 million plus of dead money coming off the payroll after 2013 (Johan, Bay, Frank Frank). But this requires our sucking up a painful (as fans) 2013 and a so-so 2014.
    • Kanehl January 17, 2013 at 12:58 am
      P.S. I love Johann, and he pitched a wonderful game. But the line drive down the line clearly hit the chalk (clear on the replay, which corrected what our hungry eyes “saw” at first). I have no problem booking it as a no hitter, since fortuity has a lot to do with getting a no hitter or perfect game. But the line drive did hit the line.