One of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to update my outlook on 2014 here is that I was absolutely convinced that as soon as I would I’d have to re-do it all because there would be a trade consummated before opening day. Not just a trade, but a TRADE: You know, one of those transactions that as Met fans we remember where we were when it was announced (I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike when they traded Dykstra. In Union Square meeting my wife for a drink when they traded Kazmir. Throwing a fit in the kitchen for Seaver and Kingman). Where was I when they announced the big Ike Davis/Ruben Tejada/Whomever for Whomever trade on 2014? I wasn’t anywhere. It didn’t happen.
“How could it not have?” is the question I’m taking with me into the 2014 regular season. Granted it’s better than last year when I was asking “Shaun Marcum? Seriously?” but I mean, geez. Talk about a seeming unmet opportunity. Talk about unanswered questions!
I’m going to presume a deal didn’t get done not because the Mets didn’t sincerely desire one but because Sandy Alderson balked at the asking price for guys the Mets could certainly use (Didi Gregorius and Nick Franklin for example) and that, as usual, Ike Davis screwed up all our plans by being unavailable. I decided at some point last season that if I were running the Mets I wouldn’t give Ike Davis another shot at being the difference between a good team and a bad team but here we are. I know, the alternatives aren’t great. I’m just surprised and I guess disappointed. Ike sure has gotten away with a lot.
In the big picture it’s somewhat disheartening to realize that which went wrong for the Mets last season were not just the kinds of things that had been counted on but also, were legacy Met prospects inherited from the Omar era (Davis, Tejada, Jon Niese, who worries me quite a bit). To that we may want to add Bobby Parnell, whose sketchy recovery from neck surgery (neck surgery?) already appears to be exposing a shaky bullpen.
Other than that though? I’m kind of excited. Accompanying my concern is an undercurrent of optimism resulting from a farm system that at least appears to have turned the corner with regard to analyst opinion. Prospects for the first time in a decade include a few guys who can hit, which is awfully good to know. I feel like the aggressive way the Mets went after Chris Young reveals they saw something worth exploiting in a Marlon Byrd-like way. Granderson is a nice player. There’s guys on the bench who can hit doubles and home runs (Andrew Brown, Anthony Recker, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin) and/or are useful when they aren’t starting (Eric Young). I’m not yet sold on Travis d’Arnaud yet but it’s not like he’s Rod Barajas or Brian Schneider.
The challenge I think for the organization as a whole is to consolidate those gains they’ve made in the lineup, keep the young prospects coming (the starting depth is a real improvement from last year already even without Matt Harvey) and try to act, and play, and market itself in accordance with a team that expects to win 90 games on merit, and not the club willing to cut any and all corners to get by until things improve and say they want to win 90 games because it sounds good, even if they happen to be both of those things at this very moment. And though the Big Trade I’ve been expecting hasn’t happened (yet) this team and my expectations remain subject to change.
And with that, we welcome the following players to the Mets All-Time Numerical Roster:
Chris Young 1
Curtis Granderson 3
John Lannan 32
Bartolo Colon 40
Jose Valverde 47
And wearing new numbers: Andrew Brown in 30 and Omar Quintanilla in 0.
The roster pages at Ultimate Mets Database will be updated as players accrue statistics. Let’s Go Mets!