Sometimes it’s easy to spot a seller. The Cubs clearly want to escape from a few bad contracts, the White Sox stink, and the Marlins are in a total rebuild mode. But what about the New York Mets? They’re tied with the Minnesota Twins for the sixth worst record in baseball, and heading towards an impressive fifth straight losing season. ESPN gives the Mets a 2.5 percent chance of making the Playoffs. Yikes, shrikes.
Despite all the damning evidence, the Mets need to be buyers. GM Sandy Alderson first said 2013 was the goal. Then earlier this year he backtracked and told fans he expects to be competitive in 2014. They have some pieces, and despite their record, they aren’t THAT far away from a wild card spot.
It starts with David Wright. Bless his loyal heart. What would the Mets be with out him? Unwatchable.
He’s halfway through another great season, and his batting average, OBP, walk rate, strikeout rate and BABIP are all nearly identical to last year’s.
Thanks to his uptick in stolen bases and power, Wright’s 155 wRC+ (which measures how many runs a player is worth to his team compared to league average) is good for second in the National League.
This is it. He’s 30 years old, and entering the back half of a fringe Hall of Fame career; the Mets can’t afford to waste the rest of Wright’s prime the way they wasted his late-20’s. The team finally has money coming off the books, and just in time too, because there are too many dead outs and quadruple-A players in the lineup. They have the pitchers, it’s time to reinvest in some new bats.
After Wright, the Mets’ future is about their power arms. Alderson and Co. made the bed, now we’re all sleeping in it. Omar Minaya drafted Matt Harvey, but this front office developed him. It turned Carlos Beltran into Zack Wheeler, and scouts rave about Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero.
Lesser names like Leathersich, DeGrom, Fulmer and Tapia are making frequent appearances on analysts’ sleeper prospect rankings everywhere.
This offeseason, the front office will likely add one or two veteran leaders for the rotation and bullpen, but most of the pieces are already in place. If they doesn’t reach any innings limits, Montero and Leathersich appear good candidates to see late-season action in Flushing.
The rotation will be ready soon. The lineup is only two or three solid, consistent bats away from respectability. Now is the time to buy. Sandy’s employment status can’t afford to wait another season. His contract is up after the 2014 season, and his approval rating is dangerously low. Right now, fans are angry and tired of losing, but another 75-win season could lead to something much worse: apathy.
Once fans stop caring, it can take years to bring them back to the stadium. It’s time to turn rebuilding into winning, and prove to a dejected fan base that all the losing was worth the wait.