Vision a beautiful stadium, sun shining, Division Pennants and World Championship banners rippling in the air. On either side of the field is a door located between the infield and the outfield wall. The LF door leads to the Mets locker room of the past three years, the RF door opens to the Mets farm system. At the entrance of each door is a threshold, it is the threshold to the playing field of the future and of those who will sweat, ache, bleed and excel in this arena.
We enter the LF door leading to the Mets locker room; it is a gloomy place with the shadows of the past three years hanging in the air. Yet the some of the future of the team that will compete, succeed and revel on that field in the sun are here.
All players fall into one of three categories; potentials, unclassified, and space keepers. We will not be spending time with the space keepers who are short time getting the team to the threshold but are not part of the future.
The unclassified are players whose potential is identified, but may be sliding into a space keeper role.
The potentials are the youth, the younger players who will at some point soon determine if they are crossing that threshold or their replacement is waiting in the wings and they have become space keepers.
The Rotation; I am defining Johan Santana as an unclassified, he has two years left on his contract and will be 35 when he reaches FA unless he converts the option for 2014 which would pay him another 25 M. Very unlikely that he will win a Cy Young and finish 2<sup>nd</sup> or 3<sup>rd</sup> in the other year or pitch 420 innings in the next two years or 215 in 2013. If Santana does perform decently 28-30 GS 170+ inn. ERA of <4.00 he could be a short term pick up at 2yrs 6 M per in 2014.
R.A. Dickey is also an unclassified, he will be 38 next year and the Mets hold a 5 M option on him that will likely be picked up.
On the Field; The only unclassified I will mention is David Wright the longest tenured Met. Whether he is a space keeper or a potential may likely be the result of his first 250 PA of this year. A good start could put him on the deadline trading block or ensure that the Mets pick up his option for next year. A poor start pushes him into space keeper with either a trade of limited value or as a FA next off season.
The potentials in some capacity as a fixture at their position or on the bench are Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, and Justin Turner. For some, as the economics of arbitration out weight their value they will move in trades. Other may have a long and indeterminate run at Citi Field.
The Bullpen; Pedro Beato, Bobby Parnell and Chris Schwinden are the only members with potential. Schwinden, if he goes north it will be as the long man out of the pen and as the heir apparent if injury strikes the rotation. None has made the first step toward that threshold of the future but time is on their side until it isn’t or they fail expectations.
That door down the RF line controls the overall health and future of the team, as long as that door keeps opening and players continue to step into the sunshine, our future will be secure.