There is a temptation to say that the Mets' off-season has gone poorly, but it hasn't really, at least not in relation to past off-seasons. They didn't lose their most valuable player to free agency like they did with Jose Reyes; in fact, they assured that David Wright will end up holding every Mets record, probably forever. Sure, they lost R.A. Dickey, but in a smart trade that, while sure to cause short-term pain, brought in one of the top twenty prospects in baseball. (ESPN's Keith Law ranks catcher Travis d'Arnaud as the No. 14 prospect in the game.) It really hasn't been that terrible. But it sure feels that way. We suppose, as a Mets fan, it always does.
Considering pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp next week (!!!), it's a bit disconcerting how much more work the Mets have to do. For example: They still don't have much of an outfield. Right now, the starting outfielders are Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a.k.a. three people who have never been in Cliff Clavin's kitchen. Which is why the Mets are still sort of kicking the tires on Michael Bourn, the free agent who thought he'd be at the top of everyone's off-season wish lists but wasn't. The Mets would like to sign Bourn — who is a bit of a risk as an aging player reliant on speed but would still fill several holes for the team — but don't want to give up their first-round draft pick, which would be required as part of MLB rules. The Mets are trying to appeal that rule, but they're unlikely to have much luck. Which makes signing Bourn less of a good idea; the Mets, after all, are supposed to be building up the farm system, and giving away the eleventh overall pick in the draft (or, more accurately, the cash allotted for teams to spend from their draft slot) is precisely the wrong way to do that. In other words: They're likely stuck with the three fellows not in Cliff Clavin's kitchen.
This is the sort of thing one would love to ask a general manager about, and lo and behold, Mets head honcho Sandy Alderson will be taking questions from Mets fans at 1 p.m. today, in a sort of video chat thing. Though it's not really much of a Q&A: You're just supposed to ask your questions on Twitter, with the hashtag #asksandy — in case that's how you would like to spend your morning. Alderson, of course, is famously active on Twitter himself, but mostly uses it as a megaphone rather than a conversation, so this might be your only chance to get him to respond to your Twitter entreaties. There is no better example of open, free discourse and exchange of ideas than a moderated video chat at Mets.com. The Mets 2013 season is almost here. We're sure this one will be different.