We shouldn’t expect any last-minute Christmas gifts from the Mets in the form of additions to the current roster. Nor should we expect anything for Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Except for possibly a couple of minor tweaks here and there, what you see is what you get.
This is the roster that will compete in 2012, with a payroll of $90 million to $95 million. It is a roster that has far more question marks than sure things. In fact, the only sure things are R.A. Dickey and David Wright, and Wright is coming off a season in which he missed two months because of injury.
The rest of the starting lineup is one big question mark. Can Ike Davis come back from his injury? Who’s on second (no, who’s on first)? Can Ruben Tejada handle shortstop? Is Josh Thole any good? Will Jason Bay thrive in a smaller Citi Field? Can Lucas Duda fulfill his promise? Who is Andres Torres?
The rotation is no better. Will Johan Santana be the Santana of old, if he can come back at all? Can Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee continue to grow and improve? And Mike Pelfrey? Actually, Pelfrey isn’t a question at all — we know he will stink.
Can the rebuilt bullpen be any better than the 2011 version? It’s a better group on paper, but games are played on grass, not paper.
Sandy Alderson was brought in to answer such questions, but thus far he hasn’t done so. He might be hamstrung by owners who are on the fast track to the poorhouse and demanding that cuts be made. That certainly seems to be the case, as the payroll is on track to be some $50 million less than 2011’s $142 million.
That is a welcome Christmas gift to the Wilpons, but a big middle finger to Mets fans.