Here's a bold statement: the Mets lie to their fans. The Wilpon ownership group and Alderson management team have developed the knack of saying things, then backtracking, then backtracking even more. What they tell us (or allow to be leaked) in September is usually totally different from what we're hearing from them in December.
Let's try to track this year's pack of lies by subject.
The Shortstop situation:
SEPTEMBER - We recognize that we got less production at this position than any team in baseball. It must and will be substantially improved. We will look diligently in the free agent and trade market. Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew are definitely on our radar. Maybe we can put a package together to land Troy Tulowitzki.
OCTOBER - We're finding the prices for top shortstops quite a bit higher than we expected. Maybe Peralta/Drew are beyond our means. Perhaps an ever-rehabbing Rafael Furcal could be the answer.
NOVEMBER - We've noticed that other teams are in on Furcal. You know Ruben Tejada is only 24 and really wasn't all that bad last year. And he's under contract at a price we can afford.
DECEMBER - Ruben. We never stopped loving you.
SEPTEMBER - Assuming that Juan Lagares can hit enough his superior defensive skill warrants his being given the CF job. We need two corner outfielders who can provide power, a high on-base percentage, and defensive skill to handle Citifield's large outfield expanse. We are looking at people like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson, and maybe a reunion with Carlos Beltran.
OCTOBER - We're finding the prices for top outfielders quite a bit higher than we expected. We're setting our sights down a bit lower - maybe Chris Young (the OFer, not the gangly pitcher we tried in the past).
NOVEMBER - We've signed Young whose best skill is defense in center. So naturally we'll play him in right or leftfield. We have given him a one-year deal for $7 million which eats up a third of the money we actually have to spend. If he has a good year then he'll surely be worth $10-$15 million per year on his next contract which, naturally, we couldn't afford so we'll trade him a la Marlon Byrd. And if he has a bad year then we've tossed $7 mill down the proverbial toilet. Who says we don't know what we're doing?
DECEMBER - Maybe we don't really need a second outfielder. Does anyone have the cell number for Collin Cowgill?
SEPTEMBER - There has been quite a bit of interest in our "glut" of firstbasemen. We'll likely trade Ike or Duda so as to fortify elsewhere.
OCTOBER - Still looking. Keep the faith, fans.
NOVEMBER - The teams that say they're interested in our firstbasemen don't seem to be offering very much.
DECEMBER - Ike, Lucas? Which one of you would like to start the season in Las Vegas?
SEPTEMBER - We feel great about the starters we have and those moving through the pipeline. It would be nice to have a veteran innings-eater to add to our staff which might free us to trade from our pitching excess.
OCTOBER - We're finding the prices for solid starting pitchers quite a bit higher than we expected If Mejia and others stay healthy perhaps it will buy us the time until Montero and Syndergaard are ready to join the rotation.
NOVEMBER - We're now scouring around for a Shaun Marcum type - a guy who's good when he's not injured. One who will pitch for a lower-than-market-value salary.
DECEMBER - Does anyone know if Matt Harvey can throw lefty?
SEPTEMBER - Having gotten past the onerous payments to Jason Bay and Johan Santana we are now free to bring the payroll up substantially from the approximately $93 million it was the past two years. This should allow us to add four or more significant pieces to the team.
OCTOBER - Did we say $93 million? Ooops, silly us. We paid out about $84 million last year and probably can up that number a bit in 2014.
NOVEMBER - We got you Chris Young and hope to perhaps get another player or two. What else do you want?
DECEMBER - You'll be surprised how competitive we can be with $84 million. And just wait until the money frees up even more next year!
SEPTEMBER - Our fans (the greatest fans in the world, you know) have had to wait while we rebuilt getting ready for the big push in 2014. We'll be ready to compete for a playoff spot in 2014. Trust us.
OCTOBER - We seem to have a few more holes to fill than we appreciated. If things break right we can still be a .500 or better team and play meaningful games in September.
NOVEMBER - The free agents we had hoped to sign seem to be going elsewhere for prohibitive prices. No one seems to value the things we're willing to trade. (Damn, we thought we could get something for Jordany Valdespin). So perhaps .500 will be a bit of reach. Still hoping to play meaningful games in August.
DECEMBER- We're determined to win more games than the Marlins. So there's that. 74 wins - here we come again.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at @dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.