"I just can't believe how negative some Mets fans have become, scouring the blogosphere I've seen nothing but negative comments about how the Mets are handling the off-season."-Mets FeverWhat Ed says is interesting because it's something I investigate in myself from time to time. Currently, I'm spending long chunks of time in deep meditation with the help of some mind altering drugs in far away caves (code for "too busy playing Bejeweled"). Seriously, it's a daily struggle not to turn this blog into the Rego Park version of "Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn". And if the Mets wouldn't give me so much material, maybe I'd be a bit friendlier and more optimistic.
But I'm trying. For example, here's how low my standards have gotten: The Mets signed Mike Hessman today. If Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I wouldn't know who he was. Then again, if Mike Hessman came up to me and hit me in the head with a baseball bat, I'd be happy just because he made contact (he's a .229 career minor league hitter). And, he's 32 years old. For the Mets, that's a youth movement.
But negativity is unavoidable this off-season, no matter what. Forget what has happened the last three seasons. Forget that this fan base is generally angry. Forget that my seminal moment in person with the Mets this season was turned into a Washington Nationals Christmas card (my constant heckling of the team immediately after this game did not make the card ... now that would have been a Christmas greeting.) But any direction the Mets go, whether it's an actual direction or whether it's just going around in a circle chasing your tail, has negativity involved.
Here are some of the options this off season:
- First tier: Holliday, Lackey, Bay, Hudson
- Second tier: Pineiro, Molina, Wolf, Torrealba, Marquis
- Trades: Hart, Bradley, Phillips, Harang, Matthews, Burrell, Halladay
- The Caulking Gun Strategy: Blanco, Hessman
My ultimate point is this: even the best case scenario for this off-season isn't without its risks. It's not like 2007-08 when there was one end game for off season success in Johan Santana, or even last season when, even though the Mets had a few holes, the bullpen was by far the leakiest faucet. Whatever the Mets do, whether it be sign either Holliday, Bay, Lackey or Hudson and risk that their best days aren't behind them, sign Pineiro or Wolf and risk a drop in production, trade for Hart, Phillips/Harang or Matthews and risk the player they trade away become a superstar, or trade for Burrell and risk having to send a search party to find him in left field sometime during the sixth inning, nothing this winter is a slam dunk.
But that's not to give the Mets an out here. Conversely, this is the type of off-season where the Mets have to show the imagination they've rarely shown or even had to have shown. For example, that John Maine for Corey Hart rumored deal shows some of that. But if you're going to tell Met fans that Corey Hart, and not Bay or Holliday is their left fielder, you had better also tell them that one of the dominoes that need to fall for that deal to happen is John Lackey, or else the negativity is going to be out in full force, rather than the half force that you would get if you just signed, say, Bay and Lackey.
But hell, even Bay, Lackey and Holliday each have their question marks, whether it be an ability to navigate the Citi outfield, or being injury prone. But the biggest question mark would be whether it's worth it to spend big for 2010 when, let's be honest, the Phillies are still pretty much going to dominate the division, while bigger free agents are on the horizon for 2011 and beyond.
So whatever happens, it's going to be hard not to be somewhat negative. The only question is how much so. Are the Mets going to make the risky yet bold moves? Are they going to do just enough to throw out the mirage of competitiveness? Or am I going to have to gently tell the neighborhood Christmas carolers to get off my lawn?