Finally, the end is in sight. Baseball fans have suffered through the grueling winter months, filled with sports highlights consisting of basketball and hockey long enough – Spring Training is about to begin.
There’s a funny thing about Spring Training; regardless of their place in the standings the year before, every team enters March with wide eyes and hearts filled with optimism of what the upcoming season may bring.
The Mets are no different, and even before camp officially begins, fans are being tantalized with quotes from players who are asking “why not us?”
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t falling for it a little bit. There is just something about the new season beginning. Teams have a chance to wash away the sins of the previous season and correct them, it’s cathartic in many ways.
While I can’t say I’m expecting the Mets to be this year’s version of the Baltimore Orioles or Oakland Athletics and jump to the top of the standings while defying all baseball odds, I can see a fairly decent season unfolding.
More importantly, this season will truly be a transition into a new era.
The 2013 season will offer the Mets a chance to watch the transition into a new identity begin. Gone are the days of Jason Bay, and soon the days will be numbered for Johan Santana and his overly-bloated contract. With their departures comes a crop of new and young players who, the Mets front office hopes, will usher the Mets into a new decade of competitive baseball.
Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has received an unprecedented amount of flack for his trades and lack of major offseason signings, but when looking at the Mets’ larger picture, it makes perfect sense to operate the way they are.
The Mets are waiting for Matt Harvey to sync-up with prospects like Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnund and create a core of young players that will rival other teams across the league.
Spending frivolously on players such as Micheal Bourn would have been foolish. The Mets are not going to contend for a playoff spot this year, and allotting any significant money to any player would only be weighing down the flexibility the team will have by the end of this season in terms of their financial situation.
The Mets will have less than $40 million committed to players on the 2014 roster, opening up almost $60 million in flexibility to tinker with the roster around the team’s developing core players. It’s a slow process, but one that has the greatest possibility of success moving forward.