Other than Johnny Damon, there aren't many players of note still looking for work at this point in the baseball offseason. That's a good enough reason as any for the Mets to be done tweaking their roster before the start of Spring Training, but there's just no way they can sell that at this point in time.
Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted Monday that "The expectations within the Mets' [front office] is that the team is finished spending money for now. These are your pre-camp '10 Mets." That leaves the offseason additions list at Jason Bay, Gary Matthews Jr., a couple of backup catchers, a minor-league knuckleballer and a couple of broken-down relievers. That ain't much and, more importantly, that ain't what large parts of the fanbase were looking for from the last four months.
It's not that the Mets don't have perfectly good reasons available to explain why they didn't do more. It was a weak free agent class that would have forced them to overpay for mediocre players just in order to come home with a signing. With a farm system in need of some time to blossom, big trades weren't necessarily wise unless they cut some dead weight from the major league roster. No one in their right mind wants Luis Castillo, so that couldn't happen. And, finally, the return of injured players from last season would bolster the roster more than many possible acquisitions.
All perfectly reasonable explanations, except that the Mets have eroded trust in the way they do business so much that they all seem like excuses or rationalizations for falling down on the job. Selling the return of injured players is particularly difficult against the backdrop of all the messes in the medical suite in the last 12 months, and pleading fiscal restraint is awfully tough when you see Oliver Perez's paycheck and the fifth year handed to Bay in a negotiation against a mirror.
They will be among the worst teams in baseball at catcher, first base and second base. The rotation is long on hope and short on certainty. The bullpen beyond Francisco Rodriguez is hardly the stuff that dreams are made of. There are real problems that were left unsolved this offseason and those problems will likely lead to another poor finish.
There aren't many good explanations for a team that finds itself in that situation, but an organization that has some trust from its constituency can give it a shot. That's not the Mets, and one wonders just how ugly things are going to get in Queens if another dismal season unfolds in April.