The Mets have been one of baseball's worst teams thus far: they currently outpace only the Astros and Marlins with a 17-27 record. While the team's weak start hardly qualifies as a major surprise, the club certainly hoped to remain in contention and see more development from several promising youngsters. Already staring at a ten-game deficit in the NL East, attention has turned to the future …
- The future could come early for one piece of the Mets' long-term plans, as we learned yesterday that top minor league arm Zack Wheeler is firmly expected to be called up sooner rather than later. With the club hoping to avoid handing Wheeler an extra year of arbitration, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com took a look yesterday evening at different teams' projections of the "safe" date for avoiding Super Two status. He reports that the Mets appear to have an earlier target than other teams; while some executives quoted a mid-to-late June timeline, New York seems to feel comfortable with a range between early June and June 10. This leads Rubin to project that Wheeler could come up to face the Cardinals at home on June 12, or could be held back until a road start against the Cubs on the 17th.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently explained the Super Two cutoff projection for players who could qualify following this season. Mets outfielder Lucas Duda is among those who figure to obtain a fourth year of eligibility.
- One major component of the Mets' current and future success, of course, is star third baseman David Wright, who signed a major extension (eight years, $138MM) over the off-season. With the team not only off to a poor start but featuring several struggling younger players, Mark Hale of the New York Post posed the question whether Wright regrets committing to New York. The 30-year-old insists that he has "zero" regrets, and believes in the vision laid out to him by GM Sandy Alderson. "As far as specifically what Sandy and I talked about and I guess the plan moving forward, a big part of that plan is pieces we have in the higher minor leagues," said Wright. "I'm disappointed in our performance as a team. I'm not disappointed in [what] I believe what the plan is going forward and what I believe this organization is capable of doing in the near future." The six-time All-Star also expressed confidence in some of the younger major league players, such as Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, who are off to slow starts: "I've seen Ike at a ridiculously high level. I've seen Ruben be a very, very solid shortstop. … They have a track record of being able to produce at this level."
- Whatever happens the rest of the way this season, Rubin notes on Twitter that the Mets figure to flash big money after the year. In fact, the club only has $25MM committed in salary next year to two roster spots (Wright and pitcher Jon Niese), although it is also on the hook for a $5.5MM buyout of the last year of Johan Santana's deal. Its payroll has hovered in the low-$90MM range the last two years after sitting well over $100MM (and as high as $149MM) over the preceding five seasons. The Mets also have several players with arbitration eligibility, in addition to the aforementioned Duda. Tejada joins Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, and Mike Baxter as first-time eligible players, while Davis will reach his second year of arbitration along with Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, and Scott Atchison. In addition to assessing whether or not to tender contracts to its slate of arbitration-eligible players, the club should have substantial flexibility to pursue some of the top available free agents and/or take on payroll via trade.