Curtis Granderson is not the kind of player you sign because you're saving him for 2016. He'll be 33 next year. His OPS went from the 9s to the 8s to the 7s, with the last season coming with a bonus wrist injury.
Bartolo Colon is not a win-later pitcher. He's 40, and he looks like an H.R. Pufnstuf puppet. It's a minor miracle that he appeared in a single major-league game last year.
No, you pay $80 million for those players to help your team win immediately. The New York Mets paid that money to win in the near future, not the distant future.
It's too easy to point fingers and chuckle. The Nationals look scary, and the Braves were fantastic last year. The Marlins have a surprising amount of talent, and the Phillies remind me of Mike Schmidt, who was famous for a virile mustache. The Mets gunning for a win-now season is odd, at best.
But I'm in. I want to see what the Mets are thinking. I like and respect Sandy Alderson. I want to don Wright-colored glasses and see what Colon and Granderson can do for the Mets in 2014. To the projected roster!
Chris Young - RF
Daniel Murphy - 2B
David Wright - 3B
Curtis Granderson - LF
Ike Davis - 1B
Juan Lagares - CF
Travis d'Arnaud - C
Ruben Tejada - SS
This is as-is, of course. There still could be Stephen Drew. Both Murphy and Davis have been the subject of trade rumors. This is unlikely to be the final lineup.
Still, rank it on a confidence scale from 1-to-10. If you're going over a 5, you are literally Mrs. Met. You are typing on a computer with giant foam hands, and you are so mad right now.
There are good things up there, for sure. Wright's a star, Granderson has pop, and Lagares is a supernatural defender. d'Arnuad is a nifty prospect, and Young, Granderson, and possibly Davis all have places in legitimate major-league lineups. As a collective, especially compared to the rest of the teams in the division, it's a 5. And that's generous.
I like all of those pitchers. It's a damned shame Matt Harvey isn't there, as that would have been the easiest way to slap a win-now label on the Mets. But while I like those pitchers, I don't like them like them. Wheeler in the future, sure. Niese and Colon in the present, okay. But it's not a rotation that makes me think the Braves or Nationals have to respond, make panic moves, or think about the Mets for more than a couple dozen times every year.
I'll give the rotation a 6. Maybe a 7 if you're a believer in Gee or Wheeler's ability to command the strike zone. But then you add it to the lineup, and ...
There's no way. There's way you're so confident in this team that you think Young, Granderson, and Colon are going to push the team to the next level.
That isn't to say the Mets have no chance, no way, no how. Baseball likes attention. It does things out of a need to be seen. And teams like the Mets start contending every year. Whoops! d'Arnaud is a 40-homer catcher now. Whoooops! Zack Wheeler is a rich man's Matt Harvey, but without the pesky downside. Whooooops! Juan Lagares has a .400 OBP and 80 stolen bases because baseball who cares dunno whatever.
But for every team that does that each year, there are 18 or 19 that don't. Considering that, I'll just assume the Mets are creeping back into the market, spending money because it would look gauche if they didn't, rebuilding confidence in the brand.
And if it works out, hot damn. Granderson and Colon are good players. They should help the Mets win more games than they were projected to win a month ago. Other than that most basic level, though, I'm not sure what the Mets are doing. They're incrementally better, so let's see what the rest of the offseason brings. But it's hard to see where this is going.