I don't think anyone has a crystal ball, Mike. Regardless of any plan any team lays out, there are a ton of factors in play and they need things to break right in order to be successful. I like the Mets' plan - they are clearly building the future of this organization around the likes of young pitching. But those pitchers need to continue to develop and stay healthy in order for the plan to function. If the pitching continues on this track, it will be fun to watch unfold in 2013 and hopefully a part of better times beginning in 2014.
I also don't think there's any evidence to suggest the Mets are going to be operating with a "smaller payroll" in future seasons, either. They may, or they may not - only time will tell. But even if the Mets were to (hypothetically) invest $80 million in their payroll in 2014, their roster would likely be way more balanced than it is today. Why? Because they have such an imbalance of resource allocation on their roster now, and much of that (in the form of Johan Santana’s and Jason Bay’s deals) won’t exist at this time next year. And, free agent classes are getting worse and worse nowadays, and so it wouldn't be wise to invest solely in that market anyway. As I always say, it's not about spending and bringing in overpriced free agents - that's part of what got the Mets into this mess originally. It's about developing from within and creating a foundation - which they are clearly trying to do - and maximizing that value in each roster spot they fill from outside the organization to supplement that foundation. Going forward, the Mets should be able to do that more efficiently.
Remember, the Mets payroll was still around $100 million in 2012 - that's a lot of money to spend on 74 wins and hardly what I'd call a small payroll. Don’t misunderstand that as my advocating for the Mets to spend less: it’s a call to spend wisely and restore the ability to fix problems with quality solutions as they arise.