As the New York Mets continue to make the second half of the 2012 season a fiasco, it is time to turn the attention to the future.
It is obvious this team has many holes that were covered up in the first half of the season as this team grossly overachieved heading into the All-Star break. Now the Mets have been exposed for who they are.
Instead of dwelling on what could have been, here is an opportunity to take a look at the problems of this team and assess solutions to fix them.
Here are the five biggest weaknesses the New York Mets must fix if they want to compete in 2013.
Coming into the 2012 season, the Mets thought the bullpen would be a strength after they revamped it last offseason.
They signed Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. They also traded for Ramon Ramirez, having to give up Angel Pagan in the process.
Add holdovers Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak, and this group looked to be solid. Oh how wrong the Mets were.
Collectively, this could be the worst bullpen the Mets have assembled in recent history. It has the worst ERA in the league at 4.98 and has accounted for 23 losses to the team's record, which is third most.
Francisco cannot close out games. Ramirez seemingly left his pitching ability back in San Francisco. Byrdak now is on the disabled list after Mets manager Terry Collins admitted the overuse of his key left-handed reliever.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson needs to address this unit first and foremost before doing anything else if they want to compete in 2013. Scrap this bunch and move forward, but instead of signing a bunch of relievers in free agency, he should look from within.
Guys like Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia deserve a chance to make their contributions in the big leagues. With September call-ups coming soon, that would be the perfect time to give those guys a shot and to evaluate what they can do.
At any rate, the Mets cannot continue to keep guys around that grin all the way to the bank when they admit the control of their fastball is terrible.
Maybe the picture says it all, but the Mets outfield is a mess.
That move will handcuff the Mets in trying to fix this weakness.
After saying goodbye to the likes of Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan, the outfield has gotten progressively worse.
The Lucas Duda experiment failed. Jordany Valdespin is making the conversion from the infield. Kirk Nieuwenhuis swings at everything while he is in the batter's box, and hometown hero Mike Baxter is nothing better than a platoon bat.
One thing Alderson should do is extend the contract of Scott Hairston, who has been the lone bright spot for the Mets in the outfield. The pop he provides in his bat has saved the Mets time after time this season.
It is tough to say what the Mets will do with this group, but something needs to be done if they want to compete in 2013.
The ideal situation is to have Bay live up to his contract and perform like he did in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox. Sometimes dreams never do come true.
The Mets recently addressed the catcher position with the acquisition of Kelly Shoppach from the Boston Red Sox.
He basically is auditioning the rest of 2012 for a job in 2013.
"It gives him an opportunity to see him for the next few weeks," Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. "And help us make a decision on whether to pursue him in the offseason." (h/t The Star-Ledger)
While the defense behind the plate has not been the problem, the production at the plate has been for the Mets catchers. Shoppach looks to help that.
He posted a .471 slugging percentage with the Red Sox this season and so far has carried that over to the Mets already hitting a home run in 12 at-bats with the team.
He will platoon with Josh Thole for now and the Mets hope that continues on into 2013. If this union does not work, the Mets will be scrambling for an option to pair with or replace Thole.
The injury to Dillon Gee and the recent concern over Johan Santana makes the starting rotation for 2013 a question mark.
R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey can be penciled in the rotation right now for next season. Chris Young probably will not be back with the team and prospect Zach Wheeler will most likely not be ready until the middle of next season at the very least.
If the questions surrounding the health of Gee and Santana turn into real problems, the Mets will have to find some starting pitching at least until they feel comfortable with the progress Wheeler makes in the minors.
The Mets cannot make mistakes like Miguel Batista again, and Jeremy Hefner is more suited in a reliever role.
Time will tell whether there will be a real concern over the rotation in 2013, but if that happens to be the case, the Mets could be in for another long disappointing summer.
Plain and simple, the New York Mets do not have depth.
Once injuries started to riddle this team, they could not get out of their own way as mistakes and miscues started to pile on one after another.
The lack of depth was evident at the beginning of the season and it has come back to bite them in the behind.
There really is no sure-fire way to fix this, especially in time for 2013.
One could hope that the farm system could provide some depth and competition, but that remains to be seen and signing quality free agents without a guarantee to a roster spot gets more difficult each season, especially with the financial issues the team still faces.
It seems like the best way the Mets can fix this weakness is to just get lucky, but with the way the their luck has ran in recent history, do not anticipate this team winning the lottery anytime soon.