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.