The Transition Year.
- Updated: February 11, 2013
Every year when Spring Training rolls around we see a wave of articles written by beat writers, bloggers, and fans alike about the upcoming Mets season. When I came to write my very own thoughts down the first title I thought of was: “Hope Springs Eternal.” I gave it a few seconds and realized how cliche it sounded– so I decided to google it followed by the word “mets.” The results were just what I expected them to be.
So what is the point in writing about something that others have already written about? This year is different. This year is special. This year we witness promise.
To many, the upcoming season is just another lost and wasted cause. The Mets will lose 100 games! The Mets suck! The Mets shouldn’t have traded R.A Dickey! Who the heck is Travis D’Arnad?! (Spelling error was intentional).
I’m sure that by now we all know who Travis d’Arnaud is and what he is believed to become. Travis d’Arnaud can symbolize what makes this year so promising. The past couple of seasons the Mets didn’t have much promise. Sure, we had some stars on the roster, but did we really have promise? After all of the collapses and injury plagued seasons, did any of us feel confident in what the team could accomplish beyond our biased “new year, new season” excitement? The group that in 2006 could have won it all, was little by little dismantling. It became clear after the collapses of 2007 and 2008 that something with the assembled group wasn’t going to work. We blamed Carlos Delgado, we famously #BlamedBeltran, and finally Omar Minaya was relieved of his duties. Jose Reyes was allowed to walk, and Carlos Beltran was traded to the Giants for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
Amongst the other trades and acquisitions, the Mets decided on a path. They were rebuilding– however, I’m going to say they were rebuilding big-market style. Imagine the fan backlash had the Mets decided to completely overhaul the roster by trading every one they could possibly trade, including David Wright and Jon Niese, for prospects. I know that to many fans it appeared at one point that that was going to be the only way to improve the weak farm system, lower payroll, and fill some holes in the depth chart. Sandy did just what I was hoping he would do, sell selectively, keep selectively.
He didn’t completely tear the team apart, he sold one of our hottest commodities and killed two birds with one stone. The R.A. Dickey trade netted the Mets a solid pitching prospect, a very young outfield prospect that some scouts believe could be the steal of the trade down the road, and most importantly the top catching prospect in baseball. To make matters better, this catcher is ready to contribute to the big leagues come Opening Day if need be.
So now the Mets have a projected rotation of Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, Shaun Marcum, and Dillon Gee. Zack Wheeler is close to ready to join the rotation and can make a case for himself with a solid spring. Ike Davis slugged 30 homers in a season when he did nothing through the first half and was admittedly exhausted– he’s now healthy and ready to go. David Wright had an unreal first half and was locked up for nearly the rest of his career. Despite his decline in power he’s still a top 5 third baseman in the game both offensively and defensively. The catching duo has pop, promise, and veteran presence. Ruben Tejada is only twenty-three years old and plays a very solid short stop. The Mets have an infield and starting rotation that has a wonderful mix of veteran presence– some very successful, young flamethrowers and impact hitters.
Is anything certain in baseball? No. I make that an important point in anything I write about this team because it’s the most important truth in the game. This season is exciting because we once again have promise to look forward to. The power arms knocking on the big-league door, the impact bats waiting to unleash, the pitching depth developing in the minor leagues, the revamped bullpen that also includes a wonderful mix of veterans and young guys with good “stuff”. All of it is promise. Everything in baseball is promise. The teams that win are the teams that fulfill their promise together.
If you’re thinking, “yeah this is all nice but the outfield is beyond terrible…”
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Mets championship team wasn’t going to be built in an offseason. Have faith, the Mets are going in the right direction. Have fun watching the young guys in the minor leagues and the big leagues develop.
It’s a transition year.
Our time is near.