The 2011-2012 offseason has brought with it an air of uncertainty. After multiple losing seasons, this time generally provides an opportunity for the franchise to inject excitement into its fan base through the acquisition of free agents. In this instance, the fan base sits on the edge of it's seat awaiting news on their all-star shortstop, Jose Reyes. Waiting...that seems to be all we're doing this off season, as the Mets' front office has changed its tone on multiple occasions.
Last winter saw Sandy Alderson and his new regime offer fans an almost open door policy. Emails and Facebook posts were the norm as Alderson attempted to gain the trust of ticket holders and generally speaking, keep them in the loop. This offseason he has not afforded us that privilege, as the transparency that was once present has been taken away. While I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not, the cross talk that has occurred over the past few months does concern me. Mets fans have seen the potential 2012 payroll shrink on several occasions, as it was first reported, by Sandy himself, to be between $100-$110 million and has recently been rumored to fall in the sub $100 million range. The front office has also seemed to waiver on the approach to Jose Reyes. Originally planning to make "close to" their best offer early on, the team has taken a wait and see approach, declining to offer Reyes a contract at all.
Additionally, changes in the direction of the front office have come to the surface. Last winter saw Alderson and company bring in a variety of players with expansive, and recent, injury histories. This offseason, albeit still very young, has seen the team use injuries as a reason to detract value from Jose Reyes and has also been rumored to be the reason they'll stay clear of free agents like Grady Sizemore and Chris Capuano. Moving forward into free agency, the front office may struggle to find talent on the open market that is both cheap and injury free. This may certainly hinder their ability to fill the holes on this roster moving into the 2012 season.
I'm not saying that either of these changes in philosophy are necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I tend to agree with the latter of the two wholeheartedly. I also understand that the team doesn't want to "show their cards" in regards to free agent signings. However, I suppose it would just be nice if the front office would offer a little guidance as the to direction of the team. If they're content to rebuild and await the young arms the organization's farm system is fostering, I expect many fans would be okay with that. However, without saying as much, fans will be intent on contending next season, no matter how dismal that may seem in reality. As I've said before, I don't envy Sandy Alderson as his job is complicated and often thankless. He has the responsibility to put a product on the field that will draw fans to Citi Field. How he pulls off that feat remains to be seen.
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