Signs the Mets Actually Have a Much Brighter Future Than the Yankees
Aside from gloomy predictions for the 2013, the baseball pecking order in New York has been well established in New York for a long, long time: The Yankees can do no wrong, while the Mets can do little right.
Outside of the Miracle Mets of '69 and the juggernaut group of the mid-late 80's, banking on the short- and long-term future of Mets over the Yankees is an exercise in futility.
Times are changing, though.
Due to a concrete vision, ownership demands, differing views of high-level minor league talent and a wave of revenue around the game, a case can be made that the brighter New York baseball future belongs to Citi Field's tennants.
As far as 2013 is concerned, New York's best baseball team plays in the Bronx. In 2014 and beyond, that may no longer be the case.
While the Yankees vision is now a commitment to moving payroll under $189 million, thus hitting a reset button on the luxury tax, the Mets are years into their process of acquiring and developing young, power pitching.
It's anyone's guess as to how the Yankees can and will use their flexibility, as well as if they can get there while still fielding a competitive team. Sure, $189 million is still a gigantic figure, but it becomes more daunting when looking at a list of nearly dead money that could be owed to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
Meanwhile, a future core of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Travis d'Arnaud can be young and cheap for Sandy Alderson's bunch.
It's fair to point out the major debt issues that Mets ownership faces. After all, anyone that agrees to partner with Amway can't be the most savvy business mind. That being said, the type of team Alderson and Co. are building might not need more than a modest payroll to win.
When it comes to minor league talent, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been attempting to piece together a great system since wielding full power following the 2005 season. While there have been some successes—Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes and David Robertson—they've been overshadowed by more recent failure.
What the Mets now have in Wheeler, Harvey, and Niese, Cashman envisioned from Manny Banuelos, Michael Pineda, and Dellin Bettances. Pitching prospects are fickle; any Met fan enamored with Generation K from the 90's can attest.
Rebuilding or retooling in the New York can be an arduous task. The Yankees have chosen to try and stay atop the AL East while getting younger, cheaper and more flexible. Despite the doom on the forecast for 2013, they've done a pretty good job of winning recently.
On the other hand, the Mets have used massive debt, new upper management, and the promise of a brighter future to gut the team and start anew.
Moving forward, the success or failure of New York baseball may have more to do with farm systems, decision making, and shrewd deals than cash.
When the Yankees tried and failed to incorporate the trio of Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain into the 2008 rotation and win 90-plus games, the plan was scrapped. A new stadium had to be filled, thus a winner couldn't wait. The next offseason brought about major spending on Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.
In the coming years, those kind of free agent possibilities may not be available.
The increased revenue around the game, coupled with pressure to win now with an extra postseason spot available each year, has forced the hand of small and mid-market clubs. The Joey Votto's, Evan Longoria's and Felix Hernandez's of the world simply aren't jettisoning for the biggest dollar. Instead, they're getting that dollar from the only team they've ever known.
Years from now, the same might be said for Bryce Harper, Jason Heyward, Buster Posey and Mike Trout.
If the future of winning in New York is about money, revenue, and lack of ownership debt, the Yankees remain the favorite to dominate the back pages and standings.
If developing a young core, fielding a team in their collective prime and cultivating talent through under-the-radar trades and signings, it might be worth investing in the future of the New York Mets.
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