This year didn’t quite reach the potential I thought it had back in June and early July. Since the All-Star break the Mets have lost 22 of 31 games and fallen way out of playoff race, even with the addition of the 2nd wild card.
We over-achieved for the 1st half, which brought excitement to the fan base and proved how good of a manager we have in Terry Collins. The starting pitching and 2-out clutch hitting were surprising strengths but injuries and the bullpen helped the team revert back to the mean. Coming into this season, the storylines were dominated by the team’s financial problems and lack of recent success. A fast start with a resurgent Wright, a healthy Johan and an upstart group that was never out of a game had me believing that this was the team that was going to prove everyone wrong and have a season to remember. It didn’t turn out quite like that but this season was far from a failure.
Johan Santana gave Mets fans a night that they will never forget by throwing the franchise’s first no-hitter. R.A Dickey is in the race for the NL Cy Young and has become one of the best sports stories of the year in the process. Ike Davis struggled early but has come on strong of late and proved he is the power-hitting first-basemen the team thought they signed. Tejada, Murphy, and a handful of young outfielders showed encouraging signs of life and they will only get better with age. As we play out the rest of the 2012 season, Sandy and Terry are focused on getting a look at our young pitchers (Harvey, Wheeler and Familia) and building for 2013.
The pieces are there and the Mets have a good young nucleus of position players to build around. But the team needs to ensure that both David Wright and R.A. Dickey sign long-term deals if they are serious about being contenders for the next 5 years. Wright is the face of the franchise and his comeback season has raised his value to a level the Mets might have a hard time paying for. Wright will likely use Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman’s recent 7-year, $100M extension as a model but he could be worth even more. No matter what Wright demands, the Mets need to pay him and ensure that he stays in New York. It will be tough negotiating because David knows what he is worth on the open market, but he also has said he wants to remain a Met for the remainder of his career. If the franchise lets it’s franchise player leave, I don’t know if the fan base will forgive them.
Dickey is an amazing story and his dominance in the middle of June (4 straight starts without allowing a run and 3 complete games) has not been seen in Queens since Doc Gooden. His story and success gained national attention and more importantly, it seems as he has really come close to perfecting the knuckle ball, meaning he can be effective for another 5-7 years. He became the ace of the staff this season and just as I can’t see the fan base letting ownership lose Wright, I can’t see them taking too kindly to losing Dickey either.
Both Wright and Dickey will be under contract in 2013 (the final year of both of their deals). Wright has already been in talks about an extension but it looks like if anything is going to get done, it will happen in the offseason. Sandy seems to be leading this team down the right path and I hope he continues that progress by making sure Wright and Dickey have long-term deals to remain in the Big Apple.