Monday, February 18, 2013

What would define a successful 2013 season?

Wendy Adair

How long will Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins be part of the Mets picture after 2013 will be a burning question until this team, as currently configured, becomes successful for more than a half of a season, especially similar to 2012.

The infield appears to be the teams greatest strength, anchored by David Wright and Ike Davis at the corners, and Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada as the middle infielders.

Needless to say, the outfield is the greatest concern at this time, but Spring Training is a time for young outfielders to audition for spots and last minute deals could possibly be made in time for Opening Day.

Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas are no longer with the team, but Travis D'Arnaud and John Buck will be closely watched in the next few weeks to decide how the every day catching responsibilities will be handled by Collins.

There is no doubt that the last few years have been an incredible disappointment, both on the field and in the front office for the Mets.  The beginning of 2012 showed such promise, David Wright was playing like an MVP, Johan Santan and RA Dickey were virtually unhittable and the word underdog seemed to be on everyone's minds.

While Wright and Dickey were both participants in the All Star game, neither really played a role in the outcome, but regardless the National League still won and once again has home field advantage for the World Series.

The All Star Break proved to be the turning point of the season, injuries to key players and the lack of action by the front office to make mid season acquisitions only hastened the downward spiral of the team.  Wright went into a slump and the rest of the team could not pick him up, it was only a matter of time before the law of averages hit and he was neutralized.

 He did have a good September and ended up surpassing Ed Kranepool in franchise hits and will be looked at to carry this 2013 team, but the Mets need Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and the rest of the lineup help the team and take some of the burden off of Wright.

Fans are having a hard time believing the reassuring words from both the Wilpon family and Sandy Alderson regarding the state of the team, both in the present and future.  Terry Collins can only work with the roster  he has been given, and he is not considered to be the long-term solution to this team, only a stop gap until a forward thinking manager is put in place by senior management.

Johan Santana is another high priority for this year, does he have what it takes to complete a season? Since 2008, his first year as a  Met, he has yet to be on the roster in September and October.  RA Dickey is now a Toronto Blue Jay but Shawn Marcum has been added to the roster and Matt Harvey will continue to be touted as the future ace of the team.

In order for 2013 to be considered a success, veterans such as Wright, Buck, and Santana will lead their teammates and prove excellence over the course of the long season.  Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will need to show that they are every day players and the outfield will need stability.  The pitching staff will be fine as long as Johan Santana, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Shawn Marcum pitch anyone near as expected as the starting rotation.

The bullpen has been a major weakness for many years, but in order to be successful, Bobby Parnell will ned to be a formidable closer.  He has been given many chances, and has done well in short spurts but the "closer by committee" method has not worked effectively.  Pedro Feliciano has been given another chance in Queens and he could prove to be an extremely valuable addition to the bullpen.

Most importantly, the front office will need to show the fans that they are not afraid to make changes, subtle or drastic, in order to impove the team.   That is the only way to gain and keep the fan's trust, Mets fans are very knowledgeable and passionate, a competitive team on the field is what matters most to all fans.

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