New York Mets: When Will the Mets Reach the Postseason?
With one savvy trade, Mets GM Sandy Alderson changed the complexion of the organization's minor league depth as well as its future outlook.
While it may have come at the price of reigning NL Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey, the team will ultimately benefit from the addition of two future cornerstone players in the long-term.
Remember, this is a team that possessed one of the thinnest minor league systems in baseball when Alderson took over in 2011, and he has quickly transformed it with the additions of Zack Wheeler, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin Plawecki, Michael Fulmer, Cory Mazzoni and now Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.
The advantage of having a deep minor league system is having the option of calling players up to fill immediate needs at the big league level, or using them to acquire players at areas of need.
Clearly, not all of these players will become stars—or possibly even make the big leagues—but just a few years ago, the team was relying on Fernando Martinez to become a franchise player because they had virtually zero elite prospects.
During the Omar Minaya era, the team was always competitive thanks to their bloated payroll and a lineup which featured four perennial MVP candidates—Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.
That group failed to bring home even a pennant after coming within one out in 2006.
Since that time, the team has failed to come close, failing to reach .500 since 2008. It has not been pretty, but the current core of players that Alderson has assembled appears to have the makings of a dynamic team.
2013 will most likely be another mediocre season, mainly because they do not have a major-league caliber outfield or an effective bullpen.
When Will the Mets be a Contender?
That will all change after this season, when the team is finally able to make serious acquisitions with the salaries of Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco coming off the books.
With that added flexibility, the team can add an established closer as well as a legitimate power bat such as Nelson Cruz, Corey Hart or Shin-Soo Choo.
At that point, the Mets' rotation could be among the best in the MLB, led by Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia or Noah Syndergaard.
They would also have David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy in their primes leading the offense with Travis d'Arnaud, Ruben Tejada, Wilmer Flores and potentially Nimmo and Cecchini knocking on the door.
It has been a long, arduous journey for Sandy Alderson, but the man has experience building clubs from scratch.
He knows better than anyone that bullpens are often year-to-year propositions and the Mets could easily feature one of the better bullpens if they acquire a power arm or two.
This team is not currently ready to succeed, but they're close.
Having a number of highly-touted prospects is a recipe for success, especially when they are at premium positions up the middle.
The Mets may not be better today than they were yesterday in terms of their 2013 win total, but 2014 is looking like the year the Mets make their presence known around the league for the first time in the Citi Field era.
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