There's an underrealized benefit to the way the Giants have sucked all the oxygen out of the room over the last two months.
No one has had to pay any attention to the fact that another Mets season is going to get underway pretty soon. After an offseason that saw them shed $50 million in payroll, thanks in large part to Jose Reyes' uncontested decision to walk away and sign with a division rival, while the rest of the teams in the NL East either improved or stood pat on winning hands, the thought of actually watching the Mets is one best put off as long as possible.
And that's just on the field. The never-ending mess that is the Mets ownership situation lurches onward with news that SNY, owned mostly by the Mets, is the long rumored buyer of minority shares of the Mets. No wonder they are denying members of the press the right to cover the team.
Alas, football season is over and that means pitchers and catchers are going to be reporting to spring training before you know it. That's normally a moment full of hope and promise, but it figures to be something considerably less than that when the Mets gather in Port St. Lucie.
Don't expect any last minute additions to the team to make things look shinier, either. G.M. Sandy Alderson told the Post that he doesn't think there are any players on the landscape that fill a specific need -- for the record, Roy Oswalt is unsigned and the Mets rotation could use him badly -- while also downplaying the idea that the Mets are in any kind of trouble this season.
"There are unanswered questions on every team. It’s very important that they not be discouraged and they shouldn’t be. Some teams improved themselves on paper, like the Marlins and maybe Washington, but we can’t let that affect us."
It's all well and good to not let what other teams do affect them, but let's be honest about the situation. The Phillies and Braves, who didn't make any big moves this offseason, were already miles ahead of the Mets and it would take a total disaster for one of those teams for the Mets to breathe the same air as them.
The Nationals, whose moves Alderson sneers at although they finished ahead of the Mets last year, added two quality starting pitchers to go alongside Stephen Strasburg's return and Bryce Harper will be up at some point this season. Down in Miami, the Marlins added Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell to a team that finished five games behind the Mets last season.
So, it's true that not every team in the NL East made marked improvements this offseason. The problem is that the Mets were the one team that could afford standing pat the least.
But the Mets scored the most runs in the NL East last season despite injuries to David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, right? True, but they lost Reyes and traded Carlos Beltran two-thirds of the way through the season which makes that a pretty specious argument for doing very little to get better over the offseason.
And, if that run scoring were really something the team believed was a product of more than those two players, would we really be watching them move the fences in at Citi Field? Runs weren't the problem last year, no matter how hard the Mets try to make it seem otherwise.
We get the budgetary constraints and we get how the Mets would like to sell a few tickets, so Alderson is mostly forgiven for his fairly disingenuous comments about the state of the team and the division. But it would be nice if someone associated with the Mets was honest about the fact that the one thing they did to improve this season involved moving in outfield fences and that it is likely to hurt their pitching as much as it helps their hitting.
The Mets have tried to run from the facts off the field and in their bank accounts for years now. Now they're trying to do it on the field as well.
What are the chances that's going to work any better?