Archive: January 13th, 2014

Are the Mets Better Off Than They Were a Year Ago?

THIS IS A POST BY DAVE BERG, so address your comments to him. Enjoy – Joe

It’s been a long wait, hasn’t it? When Sandy Alderson & Co. took over, Mets fans were already itching to get back in the playoff hunt. 2009 was the year that woke us all up to the fact that the dominant team from 2006 was dead and buried. However, we still had enough stars that a quick fix seemed plausible. We began 2010 with some hope that Jason Bay would put us back on track, and although he struggled, the team was 10 games over .500 and 2 games out of first place as late as July 6. After the collapses of 2007 and 2008 and the disappointment of 2009, Mets fans had learned to fear, but not to despair. Could the team actually over-achieve for once, replacing the entitlement and choking of 2007 and 2008 with a plucky underdog success story in 2010? Nope. The team took a nosedive and finished under .500. It was time for a change.

Alderson took over with a message of sustainable building while also competing. Some fans thought “competing” meant “for the playoffs” and have been sorely disappointed. Others knew it was just spin for “we won’t act like the Marlins and Astros,” and settled in patiently for a subpar team during a hopefully brief rebuilding process. If a true rebuild means drafting a player out of high school in Year 1 and then having him make a difference in the majors in Year 7, then we’re still a ways away. But Alderson knew from day one that a seven-year wait was not acceptable to the fan base, and he seems to have gotten the message that our patience is up. 2014 is the first year that he’s publicly said, “Now competing is more important than building.” He didn’t promise a playoff appearance, but I think he knows that fans need to see a clear path from here to October as soon as possible. He spent some Wilpon dollars on free agents, and you can bet that spring training will be filled with optimism for 2014 and “when we get Harvey back” for 2015.

So here’s the burning question: what sort of progress have the Mets actually made?