I have no answer to the question in this headline because I don't think anyone really knows why management of the New York Mets believes they can contend for a World Series next year.
On Monday night, ESPN's Buster Olney revealed the Mets are not looking to rebuild, despite that possibly being the best course of action. It's why the team will not be trading star pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Zack Wheeler, who has received the most attention on the market, has a high price that the Mets are not willing to budge on, either.
Instead, management believes that this is a legitimate threat in Major League Baseball come 2019 and opted to keep its core intact.
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I understand the idea. Trading away your two best pitchers, one who is a Cy Young candidate this year, would relegate this organization to another miserable stretch like the one had from 2009-2014.
Playing in New York, the biggest sports market in the world, that's unacceptable.
What also is unacceptable though is the way this team has been handled over the past few seasons.
You can focus on injuries as much as you want. The Mets have had exceptionally bad luck keeping their best players healthy, whether that's Yoenis Cespedes, Syndergaard, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and going back further, Wheeler an Steven Matz.
But the penny-pinching Wilpon family, the owners of the team, has given management the impossible task of building a relevant club with improper funds.
At least Fred and Jeff Wilpon don't believe in any sort of accountability as to not make anyone feel too badly. Probably because the blame for this franchise's ineptitude rests solely on their shoulders.
Over the past two seasons, the Mets are 114-151 in a stretch where they were expected to contend for the National League East crown. With the pitching talent seemingly in place, general manager Sandy Alderson, who is currently on a medical leave of absence, was instructed to build the rest of the team on a budget.
Instead of spending like a prototypical New York club to not only fill areas of need but also acquire depth to keep the ship afloat should injuries strike, Alderson was relegated to buying veterans on a budget, whether that was Frazier, Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Jason Vargas.
Absolutely none of it has worked. Though we are supposed to act surprised and shrug our shoulders when this snakebitten organization is dealt with a laundry list of injuries once again.
How could the Mets contend in 2019?
It's not bad luck that's keeping the Mets down, it's unpreparedness and ignorance.
The only way the Mets are going to contend in 2019 is if they spend money and acquire legitimately skilled upgrades at first base, second base, third base, catcher, the bullpen and in the lower parts of the rotation. Then go find bargain veterans that can come off the bench should they be needed like what the team did with Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe in 2015.
What suggests that the Wilpons would allow that to happen this winter though?
So take the organization's claim to contend with a grain of salt moving forward unless the Wilpons sell or receive a windfall of cash.