Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Orlando, Fla. -- It was at this very property, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, where the Mets introduced Curtis Granderson four years ago. This was a seminal moment for the Sandy Alderson era, a signal that the rebuild was winding down, and the team was ready to be relevant again.
The giddiness was so pervasive that day that Granderson even slipped out of character for a moment and offered a usable quote: "A lot of the people that I have met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans," he said, to considerable surprise among reporters accustomed to his bland avoidance of most questions.
Two playoff appearances, one National League pennant, and a 92-loss season later, the Mets are in a different phase of their cycle. In the same room where Granderson once donned the blue and orange, the Yankees introduced Giancarlo Stanton, baseball's most charismatic star, and the Mets … well, the Mets were trying to decide if they wanted to trade for Ian Kinsler, or maybe sign Bryan Shaw. This is a tough contrast -- or bad optics, as they say in the PR business.
There's no point in sugarcoating: The beginning of these Winter Meetings have been brutal for those back home who root for the Mets. Less than two years ago, the team's fans enjoyed a rare moment as the best and most compelling baseball team in town. They played in a World Series, then signed Yoenis Cespedes twice.
Now, they are watching while other clubs have all the fun. "These are exciting times," Brian Cashman said, and he wasn't talking about the Metsies.
As this goes on, it's not easy for fans to hear that Shaw or Addison Reed are asking for too many years, even if avoiding those commitments makes the most sense from a baseball perspective. This is an entertainment business, and offseason action is part of the product. So far, the Mets' product has been lackluster.
It's far from over yet, of course. With Alderson likely in the homestretch of his tenure, he knows that this winter will play a significant role in determining whether the team can enjoy another bright moment before their window closes.
This is a GM who has always expressed disdain for the idea of reacting to what other clubs do. And he's right that the point of his job is to win games during the season, not headlines in the winter. But there is no avoiding the fact that fan morale is down, and for understandable reasons; it's not easy to watch Stanton become a Yankee, while Alderson says that he knew he could not even consider taking on that monster contract.
There is plenty of time left in the coming weeks, and the offseason overall, to change the conversation. The Mets could check in on Josh Donaldson. The Royals are willing to move Whit Merrifield. Maybe Jay Bruce returns (the sides have talked regularly).
None of this would be as exciting as what transpired today with Stanton. The Yankees are back in the spotlight, and the Mets face a tough challenge in trying to recapture our attention.
Check out SNY's Winter Meetings 360 coverage, presented by DIRECTV 4K, on all of SNY's digital platforms -- with a running feed of news, rumors, and live video updates from on site in Orlando.
Steve Gelbs and Andy Martino answered your questions live on SNY.tv and SNY's Facebook page, which you can watch here. And tune in to Mets Hot Stove, tonight at 6 p.m. on SNY, with special guest Mickey Callaway dropping by the set.