New York Mets and MLB's 10 Teams with the Bleakest Future
Major League Baseball sure can be a fickle sport at times.
At the expense of trying to win now, the future can be mortgaged just as quickly. Making trades to upgrade the roster for instant success may sound great for the immediate satisfaction, but oftentimes, it guts a team's minor league system, leaving the future cloudy.
For other teams, it's just a complete mismanagement process all the way through. A series of failed free-agent signings, coupled with inattention to the farm system, and you have a team with no present or future.
Whatever the case may be, there are quite a few teams who just don't have a bright future ahead, regardless of how the picture may look today.
Here's a look at some of those teams.
10. Miami Marlins
Photo courtesy yahoo.com
The new-look Miami Marlins are clearly in win-now mode with a winter that produced the signings of Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. With the move into their new stadium in April, they obviously decided to up the ante considerably and go for it now. It's probably a good thing, because the future doesn't look nearly as rosy.
While homegrown product Mike Stanton has become a huge hit, there aren't many other prospects that are close to helping out at the major league level. While the Marlins did a great job in producing stars in the past, they currently only have one prospect ranked in the top 100 (according to ESPN) and overall their farm system is ranked the third-worst in baseball.
They certainly had better win now.
9. Milwaukee Brewers
Al Bello/Getty Images
With Prince Fielder now departed and current NL MVP Award winner Ryan Braun facing a possible 50-game suspension, the Milwaukee Brewers aren't nearly as likely to repeat as NL Central champions, however they are expected to at least contend. The future, however, may be a different story.
The trades that brought Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum to the Brewers last season cost them dearly in terms of top-tier prospects. If they are unable to sign Greinke, who is a free agent at the end of next season, that trade will really look poor in retrospect.
The Brewers could see some impact in 2013 with some prospects due to a very good draft in 2011, however, overall their farm system is in the bottom third in all of baseball, and if Mat Gamel is unable to hit at the big league level this coming season, they'll be in bigger trouble than previously thought.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates is that they have the eighth-highest ranked minor league system in baseball. The bad news is that it may not be enough to end their professional sports record of 20 consecutive losing seasons.
The Pirates signed a couple of players to help at the major league level (Erik Bedard, Clint Barmes), and A.J. Burnett could soon be joining them as well.
GM Neal Huntington has done an outstanding job in committing effort and money to the draft, shelling out cash over the last four years to revamp a sagging farm system. However, several of their prospects (Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell, Starling Marte) aren't expected to have much impact in 2012, and likely won't lift the Pirates to a more elite status until 2014, in all reality.
7. Oakland Athletics
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Oakland Athletics transformed their farm system this offseason with the trades of Gio Gonzlez, Trevor Cahill, Guillermo Moscoso and Craig Breslow. What was looked at as one of the worst farm systems in baseball suddenly became a system ranked No. 9 by ESPN.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that they're going to have to suffer until those prospects are ready to emerge, which could be a while. Jarrod Parker and Michael Taylor could provide immediate help, but it won't be enough to keep the A's out of the cellar of the suddenly competitive AL West.
6. New York Mets
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
To say that the future looks bright for the New York Mets is definitely more than being just a bit hopeful.
With pending litigation connected to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme continuing to haunt the big club, causing them to get a loan just to fund normal baseball operations, GM Sandy Alderson has been relegated to just signing mid-to-lower level free agents to help out the Mets in 2012 (Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, Scott Hairston).
Combined with the fact that the Mets have only the 22nd ranked farm system, and you clearly have a future that's in doubt.
Oh well. At least the fences have been brought in at Citi Field.
5. Minnesota Twins
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The biggest problem currently facing the Minnesota Twins is that they have $37 million wrapped up in payroll over the next two seasons on their two biggest stars—Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau—and there's no guarantee that either of them can stay healthy.
The Twins do, however, have a decent farm system, currently ranked 14th in the majors, but it will likely be 2013 at the earliest when any of them will provide any kind of impact.
GM Terry Ryan will be tasked with working around the immovable contracts of Mauer and Morneau in order to build the Twins back up again. A tall task, indeed.
4. Cleveland Indians
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Recent trades by the Cleveland Indians have gutted the system, and their top-tier prospects (Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall) have already arrived, meaning the future is in question.
With a current farm system ranked second-to-last, the Indians will need to rely on newcomers Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kipnis, Chisenhall and Casey Kotchman to carry a large load, and Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore will need to stay healthy to help complement Asdrubal Cabera and Carlos Santana.
3. Chicago White Sox
Adam Dunn with his head down was an all-too familiar sight in Chicago last season
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
With a farm system currently ranked dead last, according to ESPN, the Chicago White Sox have many questions regarding their future.
Adam Dunn and Alex Rios make $26 million between them, comprising well over 30 percent of Chicago's current payroll, and both need huge bounceback seasons. The deals that sent Sergio Santos and Carlos Quentin to the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres, respectively, netted a bit of a return, but not nearly enough to help them now.
Their only trade commodity right now is Paul Konerko, but GM Kenny Williams would be blackballed (or Black-soxed?) if he shipped him out of town.
2. Baltimore Orioles
Don't ever let it be said that Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette doesn't enjoy a good challenge, because that's exactly what he got when he signed on as the man to head up baseball operations.
After a 69-93 season that led to the O's 14th consecutive losing season, Duquette is tasked with slowly turning around the fortunes in Baltimore. And we do mean slowly.
This offseason, Duquette largely relied on international signings to bolster the big club, and while the farm system is looking up (17th ranked, according to ESPN), there is no one currently on the horizon that can provide immediate help.
Suddenly, a trade of Adam Jones doesn't look so terrible.
1. Houston Astros
Bob Levey/Getty Images
The Houston Astros certainly have a whole lot of uncertainty in their future, and new GM Jeff Luhnow will be lauded as the next coming of Walter O'Malley if he can actually transform them sooner rather than later.
Last year's 106-loss season aside, the Astros have loads of question marks headed into spring training, as several positions will be up for grabs.
Fortunately, Carlos Lee's monster contract comes off the books at the end of the season, and if Luhnow is successful in dealing Wandy Rodriguez sometime in the next few months, he'll have some cash to play with at the end of the season.
The trades of Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence last season helped a little, but only enough to raise the farm system ranking from 30th to 27th overall, and the Astros don't have much in the way of immediate help.
Good luck, Mr. Luhnow—you're going to need it.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.