The mantra we hear so often from managers, coaches, and general managers is Pitching, Pitching, Pitching. You can never have enough of it……..and so it goes. The trouble is that pitchers seldom score runs that you need to win games. And therein lies the problem with the Mets rebuilding strategy to date. No matter how few runs their pitchers allow, it hardly matters if the team rarely scores more than that.
So while the Mets front office (actually all the credit should be given to Omar Minaya and not Sandy Alderson) has done a superb job of signing talented young arms and Met fans have staggered through five years of rebuilding pain – and while three of the five (Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler) have been literally in pain with arm surgeries…….we have to wonder now if their strategy of rebuilding with pitching is going to work over the long haul of a season….and even beyond as these young thoroughbreds work their way towards free agency during their prime.
So where (and when!) will Sandy Alderson get the bats this team desperately needs? He signed Curtis Granderson to a $80 million contract and although he’s one of nicest men in baseball with his commitment to charity in the N.Y. area – he hasn’t hit a lick plus he’s 35 years old. Same with Michael Cuddeyer. Travis D’naurd?…….there’s a reason why Toronto traded him…..he can’t stay on the field and he’s proving it right now. And then, there’s David Wright who turned into a singles hitter overnight while Alderson keeps pretending that he’ll be back in the lineup soon. This is why Met fans have a right to be downright angry.
Meanwhile, in Chicago a GM has taken a different approach to rebuilding the hapless Cubs. Jed Hoyer is amassing position players like slugger Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Soler, with more bats on the way. But except for the signing of John Lester – who may take forever to adjust to the National League – he’s pretty much ignored the pitching side of things.
Which strategy will ultimately work? My thinking is neither will work. What works is a balance between hitting and pitching. To understand this, look no further than the epitome of how a organization and team should (and can!) be constructed………the St. Louis Cardinals. Their team has a balance to it and the front office works hard to keep it that way. It’s easy to stack up one way or the other like the Mets and Cubbies have done. Now, we’ll see if they can dig their way out of the hole they’ve created for themselves. I guess one way to do it would be to engage in a slew of trades between themselves……………..