Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our Pride and Joy

How about this guy? 18 wins against 4 losses with a 2.64 ERA. He also has 195 Ks in 198 innings. And he's doing all of this on a team that is 7 games under .500. It will be interesting to see how the Cy Young plays out, with RA and Gio Gonzalez leading the NL contenders. There's an interesting word, "contender". Will the Cy Young vote be skewed by the Nationals' presence among the elite, while the Mets slug it out with Miami for fourth place? The type of season the team is having really should not matter, but I think we all know that it may. If it does, that'll be a shame. Our guy deserves it.

In looking back at the St. Louis series, I have two primary observations. First, no one can convince me that the whole "Sandy Alderson/Umpire Union" matter has not impacted the Mets on the field. I think the umpires have been looking for ways to hurt the Mets (TC blew a gasket earlier over the willingness for umpires to confer on calls that ultimately go against the Mets, but not the other way). The call on Torres at first on Labor Day is another example of umpires settling a score with Alderson. I've seen that play 25 times, and I'm still not sure if Torres touched the bag. If that's the case, how can umpire Rackley be so sure? How could the play be egregious enough for Rackley to make that call, and influence the outcome of the game? Observation two- I like Familia. Of the "big 4", he's the one you hear about the least. But he throws hard, and he seems confident and determined. He kind of reminds me of Harvey. I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by what I saw from him.

In other news, there's a report out that the Mets will lose $23 million this year, less than the amount the lost last year (estimated at around $45 million). Naturally, this is due to a lower payroll this year. I wish this could be good news, but if they're still losing money with a lower payroll, do you think they'll be encouraged to spend more in 2013? If you do, you're quite an optimist. The report also suggests that the Mets may have $21 million to spend this winter, though Metsblog places that figure at $10 million. These assumptions also assume that the big ticket guys are still with, or being paid by, the club. If salary relief can be had by shedding any combination of Bay/Santana/Francisco, then there may be more to spend. But in any case, the reality is that the Mets need 3 outfielders, new relievers, and a catcher. $10 million or $21 million will not fill these needs adequately, and internal help may not be coming for position players. Even if the Mets re-sign Shoppach (I think they should), he's going to cost some of the money referenced above.

The moral of the story is something that should not surprise us, but we all hoped would not be the case. Building a contender is going to be a lengthy process. It may be expedited after 2013 when the payroll commitments subside, but we're going to have to be patient. Yes, I know Sandy says they can get better right away through trades. I think that's wishful thinking. Maybe I'm just not an optimist.

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