As I'm sure you already know, it isn't easy growing up a Mets fan. We’re constantly disappointed, whether it’s game 7 of the 2006 championship series, big name free agents not panning out (I’m looking at you Jason Bay), or futile season after futile season. And that’s just the recent past.
The Mets have a history of ineptitude on and off the field. One of the largest attributing factors to our disappointment is the Mets' inability to hang onto their superstars. And at first glance, the Mets' recent trade of their staff ace and superstar, R.A. Dickey, looks to be more of the same. But if you take a long, hard look you’ll realize they’re just not the same poorly-run Mets anymore.
Until recently, the Mets have been run by poor executives who made questionable baseball decisions. Now we’re starting to realize that it’s hard having to support smart executives while they properly build your franchise up from down in the gutter. Watching the Mets fail to execute on the field is much harder to deal with when those to blame for the team's struggles has already been fired. It’s hard to just consider it part of the rebuilding process and not have anyone to use as a scapegoat. As a fan, it’s much more fun to be able to rag on how stupid your GM is for considering trades like David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr. or for signing Luis Castillo to a four-year contract.
As good as the Mets could get with a GM like Omar Minaya or Steve Phillips, they were just never going to be able to sustain that success. They completely neglected the farm system, signed way too many over the hill veterans, and traded away all the prospects they did manage to develop. I can’t for the life of me understand why on the one hand it’s okay to constantly overpay big name free agents, but on the other hand the Mets couldn't go even a cent over slot in the amateur draft.
As a Mets fan, I’ve had to live through the irrational tenures of Steve Phillips, Jim Duquette, and Omar Minaya — thankfully I didn’t have to live through Al Harazin’s brilliant tenure. If you look hard enough you’ll be able to rationalize it, but at the end of the day the logic behind it leaves you with more questions than answers. As Mets fan today, we have the responsibility of ending this negative vibe that stems from the Mets long history of having mediocre players and executives and embrace the fact that Sandy Alderson is very good at what he does.
We have to realize that what we want the Mets built properly without any shortcuts this time around. How do you have the right to complain about management while we are still feeling the effects of Omar Minaya’s tenure as the Mets GM? It would be nice if we could compete this season, but the farm system was neglected for too long and therefore hasn’t produced any impact talent not named Ike Davis in the last eight seasons. In addition to that, our payroll is currently hampered by Johan Santana’s and Jason Bay’s albatross contracts.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely annoying to see Jose Reyes leave via free agency or R.A. Dickey traded to the Blue Jays, but there was clearly sound decision making behind these moves. Anyone who thinks Dickey was the difference between the Mets making or missing the playoffs this year is delusional. The only way championship teams are built is through young, cost-controlled players like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Travis d’Arnaud. I personally don’t remember the last time the Mets had this much young talent at or near the Major League level.
Finally we have a proper system in place, one that doesn’t hurt the future for today. The Mets have a top ten farm system in all of baseball and finally have payroll flexibility. The only payroll commitments the Mets have past 2012 are to David Wright and Jonathan Niese, both of whom are essential parts to the Mets' next playoff team and are locked up long term. All the current decision makers in the organization need is some time, nothing else, and it’d be pretty pathetic as Mets fans not to even give them that. Sandy Alderson will build a successful Mets team and when that day comes, we’ll finally have the infrastructure in place to sustain it for a while.
So whoever wants to continue complaining that the Mets are inept and can’t do anything right should think again. We might not be seeing the results yet, but at least we’re able to witness the Mets practice the proper process in order to eventually succeed. While it was once a smart bet to bet against the Mets’ decision making, that day has come to pass. And who knows what will happen this year? Just look at what the A’s did last year after trading three of their top players for young talent.