There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately about whether the Mets should just hold a fire sale and trade much of their roster and start all over. Supporters of this plan say the Mets are far from being a contender, so why not trade players for quality prospects to gear up for a run in a few years? I say this is a horrible idea.
Mets fans are a fickle bunch. Sure, there are die-hard loyalists, the ones who watch every single game regardless of where the team is in the standings, and read blogs such as this. But then there are many, many others who abandon the team when the going gets rough. The Mets cannot afford to alienate these people, even if they are fair-weather fans.
The past two years have been bad enough, but at least fans had David Wright, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and other familiar faces for whom to root. Take them away and what’s left? An anonymous, losing team. Who but the die-hards will care?
The Mets are going to drastically reduce their payroll for 2012 — that is a given. Sandy Alderson has already said he is not comfortable with the current roster’s $140-$150 million price tag. They have $65 committed for 2012. Given the Wilpons’ financial mess, I’ll bet the payroll next year won’t exceed $100 million.
That means Jose Reyes will likely be gone. That will not sit well with the Mets faithful. If the Mets decide to deal Wright as well, there will be a full-out revolt. If the Mets want to rebuild, that’s fine, but they have to keep Wright and build around him. Joel Sherman wrote in the New York Post on Monday that the Mets have “been unable to keep any special players from soup to nuts.” Wright should be the first one. Fans need someone with whom to identify. Wright is that man.
It’s pretty incredible how quickly things have turned around for the Mets. In 2009, Sports Illustrated predicted that the Mets would win the World Series that year. Instead they lost 90 games. Just two short years later, the Mets are considered an also-ran — an overpriced, under-talented roster with ownership on the brink of collapse. Who ever thought it would come to this?