The Mets have always been in an offseason rush to give their fans hope for the next season. Thankfully, the accent now is on an overall plan.
For once, the Mets do not seem to be in a rush to grab the back pages of the New York Daily News and the New York Post. When baseball is highlighted, it’s the Yankees and not the Mets who are featured.
Typically, this would irk not only Mets fans who want to see some “action” that will wipe away the disappointment of another season of despair in gaining a spot in the postseason but also writer wanting something sexy to write about.
It’s different this year, as Mets fans appear to be in a waiting mode for changes instead of giving me a Christmas present right now, even if it turns out to be a Jason Bay mistake.
Still awaiting approval from MLB owners that officially anoints him as the owner of the New York Metropolitans, Steve Cohen is working on strengthening the Mets organization, so sorely in need of attention and repair.
Players can and will come later, whether via trade or signings from the Class Of 2021 Free Agent talent.
Strengthening The Mets Organization
But for now, there are more important things to attend to. Bringing in Sandy Alderson was only the first step. Widely hailed except for a few who cried “retread,” Alderson has a reinvigorated “let’s look everywhere” to see where he can improve spin the tires approach the Mets have been mired in for too long.
It’s an approach that focuses on Mets’ culture and the team’s brand that is easily identified as “Mets” for players, fans, and media.
But competing with the Yankees and taking over the city of New York is not what it’s all about either.
What is significant now is the quest of Steve Cohen to build an organization equal to or better than the hedge fund company he built from the ground up.
There’s attention to detail and the need to overhaul and augment the Mets’ analytics department, which contained only three people in 2018, the lowest among major league teams.
Cohen, a numbers person himself as a hedge fund billionaire, has made it a top priority that begins now – J.T. Realmuto can wait.
Brodie Van Wagenen can wait as well. He may or may not be retained by Cohen and Alderson, but at the moment, there are more important things to consider. Ditto Mets’ manager Luis Rojas, who received plaudits throughout the Mets clubhouse from players and most likely will be retained.
Mets Fans Hold On – It’s Coming
There will come a time when Steve Cohen dominates the back pages of New York newspapers and commands baseball’s attention nationally.
But wisely (again), Cohen needs to ensure his fellow team owners he is not going to be last year’s John Middleton, the Phillies owner who at one point the last offseason said he was ready to spend like crazy, and the hell with it all.
With (literally) billions of dollars in cash at hand, Cohen is capable of making George Steinbrenner’s days as the owner of the Yankees look like kindergarten.
The Mets can fish in the big pond for Realmuto and Trevor Bauer while seeking trades for big-name expensive stars like Francisco Lindor (right) all-day.
But doing so has nothing to do with the need to regain the strength of the Mets once-regaled farm system that produced the likes of Tom Seaver, Pete Alonso, Jerry Koosman, and on and on.
Nor will it give Luis Rojas the intelligence data he needs to constitute a Mets lineup that has the best chance of beating the opposing team that day.
Nor will that strategy filter down to a player like Pete Alonso, who, at this moment, is probably begging for help in deciphering what went wrong this year and intending to learn from the past to regain the magic that was his 2019 season.
The free-agent market opens for business five days after the conclusion of this year’s World Series.
The big boys, Realmuto and Bauer, will make the rounds of interested teams.
The Mets can and will be one of those teams involved, taking care to stay in the game while still concentrating on beefing up the organization’s innards.
That’s called a plan – a strategy – and it’s something the Mets have lacked for too long.
They say, proverbially, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the Mets analytics, and farm system departments achieve the desired results overnight.
But after so many years of neglect and living with so-called empty Wilpon pockets, ya gotta start somewhere.
If You Build It – The Rest Will Come
Mets fans have been called on to exercise patience so many times it’s become the main component of being a fan of the team as a pre-requisite – the happy-go-lucky, wish it were better, but it ain’t – team in Queens.
The joke is no more. The irony is, however, whether or not Mets fans can look behind the headlines to see the progress made in strengthening the organization as a whole.
Adding five analytics analysts does not equal J.T. Realmuto catching the next six or eight years in a Mets uniform. Or, does it?
There’s no “sexy” in analytics or adding two coaches to the Mets Low-A team in the minors, but that’s where the guts of the organization rest.
If you build it, the rest will come.