This organization has spent the last year or so talking about turning corners and being "close." This is nice. But, as Terry Collins said Sunday, "Talking is great, doing is the difference."
The Mets finished 2014 with their sixth-straight losing season.
They have been to the post-season just once -- once -- in the last 14 years, during which they have a .486 winning percentage since 2000.
"The expectations we have on ourselves should be pretty high," David Wright said last week, when asked about this year compared to next season (Vorkunov, Sept. 24). "I think there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic," he said Sunday before packing up for the off season.
He's right. However, there is still plenty to address...
For starters, I don't know how a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons can justify bringing back its entire coaching staff. Nevertheless, it looks like that is exactly what they're going to do (MetsBlog, Sept. 29). So, if it's not the coaching, it has to be the players, which is why the overall roster has to improve.
Alderson does not need to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, nor should he, considering the cost (MetsBlog, Sept. 12). However, he does need to add more people who can put the ball in play (even if those balls do not land over the wall). Look, I'm all in favor of drawing a walk in the absence of a good pitch to hit. But, eventually, a team has to move runners along if they want to score more runs. The Mets were among the leaders in opportunities to score this year, they just did very little to capitalize on it or continue the rally. In this case, they can aspire to be the Cardinals and Giants, who pin people down with their pitching and needle them to death with their hitting.
Lastly, this isn't Quadruple-A. I can only speak for myself, but I'm pretty certain almost every Mets fan alive is tired of spending time watching extended Spring Training games in August. The auditions and learning curves need to end in 2015. Alderson and his staff have had four years to decide what makes a big-league caliber player. It's time to draw the line. Yes, there are always going to be injuries and rookies breaking in to the roster. This happens for all teams, even those legitimately contending for the playoffs. However, it should happen on the edges of the roster and not in a third of the starting lineup.
As a Mets fan, I've operated with a certain level of tolerance and forgiveness the last four years, mostly because I understand the complete scope of what Alderson was asked to do when he accepted his current job. It was daunting. So, I said things like, "The goal this year should be to just get better," or, "I hope they end the season with momentum." Those days are over. The team's business is more or less stable, albeit not generating as much revenue as it once did. The farm system is a well-oiled machine, not just producing real pitching prospects, but sitting on a crop of really talented young hitters. And there are smart and talented people throughout the entire organization, including parts of the 25-man roster. In other words, it's time to expect more. It's time to target October. And it's time to build up the on-field product, because the best way to get to the MLB playoffs is to field a complete and talented MLB team.
Again, in the word's of this team's manager, “Talking is great, doing is the difference.”