Robinson-Cano-MetsDuring the 2013 season, the New York Mets and their fan-base got something they have not had in a long time.


Hope’s name was Matt Harvey. In what would have been his first full season, the 24-year-old pitched to a 2.27 ERA, .209 BAA and 191 SO in 178.1 IP.

But then just as Flushing got exactly what it so desperately wanted and needed, disaster struck. He suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. After trying to circumvent Tommy John surgery through rehab, he eventually caved in and opted for the surgery. Despite a successful one, it is extremely unlikely that Matt Harvey will return in 2014.

After this happened, the wheels came off on the New York Mets. After trading solid backup catcher John Buck and Marlon Byrd, the Mets all but officially gave up on the season. They finished with a dismal record of 74-88, good enough for third in the NL East division and for the 10th pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.

If this is not bad enough, the Mets are projected to lose $10 million this season. This is due to declining TV ratings and game attendance, which has declined for five consecutive seasons (since 2009, a 33 percent drop). This is the first time in franchise history that this has happened.

To make matters even worse, WFAN, the former flagship radio station for Mets games, did not renew their contract with the team. They instead chose the New York Yankees who, by the way, just signed Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. With the Mets looking to refinance a monster bank debt of $250 million, something needs to change.

You don’t make money with gimmicks in professional sports. You make money by putting butts in the seats, selling jerseys and selling hot dogs. But none of that will happen unless there are some serious, serious changes.

The solution? Robinson Cano.

Robinson Cano is asking for a lot of money (nine-year deal for $260 million), but you could reduce that dollar amount by backloading the contract. Additionally, Cano will change everything for the Mets. Cano has played in at least 159 games per season since 2007.

Since 2009, he has hit over .300 and 25 HRs. (Admittedly, the number would decrease in Citi Field). Being that he is 30, offering a long-term deal like this is all but guaranteed to backfire at the end. But as far as long-term deal risk goes, Cano has proven he is not injury-prone and his stats have stayed consistent. Thus, he has not shown any signs of slowing down.

Now you are probably going to say, “But Cano will not make the Mets a playoff team immediately. Shouldn’t they wait for their prospects to develop more?”

I hear you on that one, but let me dive a little deeper.

The general consensus is that the Mets top prospects/younger players are (in no particular order): Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Travis D’arnaud, Rafael Montero, Cesar Puello and Noah “Thor” Syndergaard.

Obviously, Matt Harvey is out for the season, but Tommy John surgery is not as risky as it once was. Barring any complications (Mets fans, knock on wood), he should return in 2015 without issue.

Zach Wheeler came up midseason and pitched to a solid 3.42, ERA and 84Ks in 100 IP at the ripe age of 23. He is not projected to be a Matt Harvey, but he can be a solid No. 2 two or a well above-average No. 3 in the rotation.

I will throw in the other top two pitching prospects: Syndergaard and Montero. Both are expected to start in Triple-A this season, but should be expected to see the big leagues around mid-season, given Alderson’s promotion of Wheeler and Harvey.

Montero’s stuff won’t blow you away, but his control of multiple pitches has scouts believing he can be a solid 3/4 pitcher. The big ticket, however, is Noah Syndergaard, who is projected as a top of the rotation guy.

I’ll leave this scouting to the professionals, take it away. From Baseball Prospectus:
Overall, Syndergaard is a future top-of-the-rotation pitcher with a near elite arsenal,” Mortimer said. “He also has the ideal physical frame for a pitcher. The arsenal is complete with no major weaknesses, and secondary offerings still have room for projection moving forward.

Combine that with veterans like John Niese and Dillon Gee, and you have an embarrassment of riches. The position side is weaker, but D’arnaud is considered a top catching prospect. Last season he struggled, but he was presumably shaking off rust after being injured.

Combine him with a more experienced Flores and Puello (tore up AA in 2013), and you have a decent back end of your batting order.

Offensively, Cano will allow for protection of Mets captain David Wright. With Cano, the top four would be: 1.) Eric Young 2.) Daniel Murphy 3.) David Wright 4.) Robinson Cano.

Eric Young won the NL Stolen Base title with 42 last year, Daniel Murphy is a feisty hitter who is perfect for the two-hole and David Wright had another solid season (18 HRs and .307 BA).

I am not going to say with Cano, the Mets are a playoff team. They would definitely not be murderer’s row either, though. But in 2014, they would be competitive. In 2015 with Harvey back, they would certainly be a playoff contender.

That gets attendance up, jersey sales way up, TV Ratings (more lucrative advertising deals and partners) and more money in the pockets of the Coupons…err….Wilpons.

If Sandy Alderson signs Cano, I will personally guarantee my butt will be in Citi Field at least ten times this upcoming season.

I’m sure I am not the only Mets fan that will sign up for that.

By AJ Henneberger


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