OK, so this point is more easily made after Dillon Gee’s nice outing last night, but it’s less about any one game and more about reiterating something I’ve been saying for a long time: I don’t think the Mets are in as bad shape as we all think when we’re crying ourselves to sleep at night.
I wrote about this at length in February. For the first time in recent memory, the Mets actually have a crop of young players that appear to be decent and near-ready to be cost-controlled Major League contributors. Not necessarily stars, mind you, just guys.
I’ve been railing for years about how the team mismanages and overspends at the margins of its roster, and here — and I’m not saying this is on purpose, mind you — we see the makings of a low-cost complementary unit that might actually offer the team some youth, upside and flexibility.
The Mets currently have Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, Nick Evans, Jonathon Niese, Jenrry Mejia and Gee on the Major League roster and contributing in some fashion. All are under 25.
Not all those players will develop into Major League regulars, of course. Some won’t even be Major Leaguers. But all have at least something promising about them — some more than others, naturally — and so at least some of them will likely be a part of the next good Mets team, assuming the next front-office regime puts together a good team.
And that’s the thing: I don’t aim to defend the Mets here. The Mets are a poorly run operation that seems to have stumbled into a crop of decent young players. I have no idea if they intentionally chose not to trade any prospects the past couple of seasons or just couldn’t get their act together to do so, but either way, they mishandled Mejia and even Evans this season.
All I’m trying to get at is that there might actually be something good brewing here, we’re just having trouble seeing it because we’re so bitter about everything that’s happened with this club over the past few years. Things can turn around quick when a team has a good core of young players — look at the Padres.
It might take the Mets a while to get unburied from all the bad contracts, and who knows what else might be done to screw it all up. Plus I’m not saying the young players alone — even with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Mike Pelfrey and the other locked-in elements of the Mets — are nearly enough to guarantee a winner. They’re just elements of a winner is all, and elements that could allow them to go out and acquire the big name players without having to commit millions of dollars — and hundreds of at-bats — to the Marlon Andersons and Alex Coras of the world.