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Retool, Not Rebuild

Mike SteffanosTuesday, April 29, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

In a long piece I wrote yesterday on the fan booing, I also wrote a bit at the end in agreement with something that Matt Cerrone had written at MetsBlog. Based on a comment and some e-mails it's apparent that I need to clarify what I said.

I personally don't believe, nor do I believe Cerrone was saying, that the Mets need to do a rebuild in the manner that small market teams have to do. There is no need for a complete tear-down and a 5-year plan. I think they need to retool and I think it will happen next year. The net result, similar to what happened to the Red Sox in 2006, will be a club that is perhaps less equipped to compete for a season -- at least as far as winning a championship -- but better suited to compete going forward.

You might choose to start a Fernando Martinez in LF for the entire year and live with his growing pains rather than replacing him with a veteran when he endures his first slump. You might give a couple of young power bullpen arms like Eddie Kunz a chance to establish themselves as relievers, even if it costs you a couple of games in the process. You might decide to give Jon Niese a chance to start games rather than signing a mediocre veteran.

The Red Sox did a lot of this in 2006, and got killed in the Boston press for not making moves that would make them more competitive that year. Now, 2 years later, they have a championship and a roster that's a nice mix of kids and vets. They also have a payroll lower than the Mets, yet are better equipped to win another championship going forward. If you're interested, I touched on this a little more in the comments section of yesterday's article.

The idea that large market teams have the resources to import the vast majority of their talent ignores the fact that there just isn't as much quality talent available. Revenue sharing has made it possible for teams to keep most of their talent, making what talent there is available overpriced and problematic -- whether it's guys with a history of underachievement, attitude problems, or guys like Delgado and Castillo who are past their prime.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (4)

You just pointed out a very glaring weakness in the Mets organization there Mike . In a Big Market city like NY , the Fans demand , and exspect to see the Team be competetive EVERY year . As a result , Management has made some very questionable moves in the last decade in reguard to trading away their somewhat exceptional Minor Leagure talent in order to acquire Veteran experience , in a irrational effort to show their Fans a Win Now Mentality to appease them . As a result , most of the Mets young talent down on the Farm has been depleated . When , if Ever , will that Mindset be realized as counterproductive ? I do not know , but I guess coming just Close enough to Winning a Championship year after year is OK for Mr. Wilpon , and unfortunately for we Die Hard Met Fans , that won't change until he somehow does...

Mike I believe you had mentioned this before, about the Mets taking a stance and drafting quality players, sure up their player development program, hire better scouts, and have a crop of Major League ready players(that you can plug in) in a couple of years. To me that seems like the way to go, you have a core of Beltran, Wright, Reyes, Santana, & Maine, your bring along some young guys( just to say Martinez, Carp, Kunz, Parnell), and some capable vets to fill some minor need/role players. The Indians, D-Backs, Brewers, and to some extent Rays are reaping the fruits of developing players. Mets need to give it a try.

Hi Mike, I felt when we got Omar that he had a plan of rebuilding everything from the ground up. New scouts, new farm system reaching new areas for talent,new playing fields in the minors and majors. new manager ect. It seems we have drifted from that plan and got traped into building for "now". I was excited with the old plan of buiding, and hope we would get back on that plan.

Stem50 - I hope and think it will change. Given how expensive even decent free agents have become, it will be difficult to buy even respectable finishes year after year.
LJ - And again, they don't have to completely tear down and lose for several seasons as the small market teams do, they just have to be willing to accept a year here and there where the club is not a playoff contender.
Al - Me, too. I do think the plan has been somewhat derailed, and I'd like to see them get back to it.

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