City Sports Report

New York Mets at fork in the road


By Marc Rasbury

OK New York Mets fans, we are in the fifth year of our three-year rebuilding plan. Other than pitching, our farm system has not produced much. We have had very little success in the free agent market or with trades. We have been patient. Now it is time for this franchise that has been the laughing stock of Major League Baseball to turn the corner, or in their case, take the right path at the fork in the road.

General Manager Sandy Alderson has been at the helm since 2010. Many are under the impression that he is this Billy Bean-like baseball accountant who depends on sabermetrics rather than his baseball eye. Well, when he was the Oakland A’s general manager he freely spent the owner’s money before Billy Bean arrived on scene. However, since he has been with the Mets, he has been more like a person going shopping armed with a handful of coupons. To say he has been thrifty or frugal is an understatement.  He has not made any trades that remind you of the Gary Carter blockbuster deal of days gone by either. Some feel that Alderson’s hands have been tied from the beginning due to the Wilpons’ issues with the Bernie Madoff financial situation.

The one positive thing that no one can dispute about Alderson’s tenure is that he has stock piled a bunch of talented pitchers. As a matter of fact, the Mets have so many good pitchers reporting to Port St. Lucie this spring they may have to trade some of them for some quality everyday players. The organization is hoping that their ace Matt Harvey will rebound from his Tommy John surgery. Not since Doc Gooden has a homegrown pitching prospect commanded so much attention in Queens. It was devastating to see him go down last year. The Zack Wheeler trade may be one of the good deals that Alderson has made during his time with the Mets. The Kid got off to an unstable start last season but ended the campaign on a strong note. Jacob   deGrom leap-frogged several top pitching prospects in the farm system last season and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. And we are not going to mention the three quality vets, Dillion Gee, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. Then we still have their young stud Noah Syndergaard ready to be called up from AAA.

Jerry Mejia held down the closer spot out of the bullpen last season. If Bobby Parnell regains his old form and takes back his closer role, do you send Mejia back to the starting rotation?

Alderson is in a good position as far as having too many good pitchers. The rotation is like a game of musical chairs but that is a good thing. Perhaps he can trade one of his young studs for a quality bat or glove to shore up their line up.

Alderson and skipper Terry Collins are hoping that third baseman David Wright can rediscover his potent swing and that Granderson lives up to his former power numbers without leading the league in strikeouts.

Up the middle, shortstop Wilmer Flores has some pop in his bat and sports a .292 batting average and second baseman Daniel Murphy is good with the bat, not so much with the glove.

Everybody is high on centerfielder Juan Lagares. He is perhaps the best everyday prospect coming out the organization since Wright and Jose Reyes. This kid can cover the spacious grounds of CitiField and has some pop in his bat.   At first base, Lucas Duda, like Murphy, is nice with the bat but questionable with the glove.

The Mets did sign free agent Michael Cuddyer, who is coming off a severe injury that sidelined him for most of the season. If he is able to live up to the numbers on the back of his baseball card, then he should be able to help the Mets’ weak offense.

Now is the time for Alderson to make some moves with the roster as well as making a move in the division. Enough of this rebuilding mode. Let’s make some moves on and off of the field. The Mets can use that stockpile of pitchers and bring in another quality bat or glove up the middle. The Mets are at the fork in a road. Lets hope that they take the right path.

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