With the announcement this morning that the Mets have agreed to sign Shaun Marcum, the offseason drought is officially over.
The Mets were the only team in the game to have not signed a Major League free agent before the Marcum deal.
Of course, the Mets are going through a rebuilding phase, but the team didn’t even sign a bench player or relief pitcher to a pro deal.
What this means is that the team will be relying on youngsters to get them through this season.
“Get them through” can be interpreted in one of two ways.
First, these young guys can burst onto the scene and form a competitive team. Maybe we’re not talking about going all the way to the World Series, but the team could have the potential to play exciting baseball.
Look at the Oakland A’s last year. A team of young no-names went on a run and won the AL West division over the likes of the powerhouse Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Mets will be trying to unseat the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies atop the NL East, but it might take more than just an extended late season run to do this.
But the more likely scenario is that the young players will be under constant scrutiny to see if they belong in the Majors. “Get them through” in this case would apply to just getting through this season – no matter what their record winds up being – in anticipation to be a competitive team in 2014, when superstar prospects like Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud are ready to contribute to the big club.
This year will be telling for guys like Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, Josh Edgin and others. They’ll be given every chance to succeed to see if they fit into the mix in 2014.
Players like Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell are not off the hook. They too have to prove that they can have sustained Major League success.
Marcum is a nice stopgap who can eat innings if he’s healthy, but the future of this team lies far from the hands of Shaun Marcum.