The Met fan has felt beat up the past few years and rightfully so. The record on the field has not been where it should be and the future was cloudy. I stress the word was because I firmly believe this team is on the rise. Are there unresolved problems? Absolutely---but Sandy has the ship steering in the right direction and in 12 to 24 months I think Met fans will be happy campers.
The biggest reason I say that is that there is a plan and there always has been one. The plan always focused on the year 2014 when the Met contracts were set to expire coupled with the arrival of young prospects that would become the future of the organization. We have already seen players like Ike Davis, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, and Ruben Tejada contribute and show great promise.
We have also seen Sandy Alderson trade for blue chip prospects in exchange for players like Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey. Come next off-season, the Mets will have more payroll flexibility than they have had in over a decade. In many ways, the Mets have used the blueprint the World Champion San Francisco Giants use.
Accumulate top-level pitching prospects either via trade or the draft, sign one offensive player long-term that is home grown, and the rest of the lineup can be assembled as you go. When you look at the '12 Giants, their lineup is vastly different than the '10 World Championship team aside from Buster Posey and Pablo Sandivol. Their entire outfield is different and their infield is almost entirely different but core starting pitchers remained constant with the bullpen being tweaked year to year because of injuries and performance. This is the plan Met fans will begin to see in earnest this year.
In sports, nothing is guaranteed. But I personally like what Sandy is doing here. It creates a solid foundation and provides the flexibility to add players in position of need. I have seen a marked improvement in the level of players I see in the minor league complex every spring training and I like the fact the entire organization has a unified approach on how it develops players.
I know most media types do not share my optimism but I have spent time with Sandy Alderson, JP Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta as well as John Ricco. They are great baseball people and they live, eat, and sleep the game. The Met scouting department has been significantly upgraded and those professionals are also making solid contributions towards carving out a great future for Met fans.
I know Met fans are being given a much different story from other people and I am not promising a World Series or even a playoff appearance in 2013. But this team is on the rise and will make you proud in the coming years. And the first steps towards that journey will take place in 2013.