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Buster Olney tells Mets fans not to worry about the Phillies

Dec 21, 2010, 10:32 AM EDT

World Series Phillies Yankees Baseball

From this morning’s Buster Olney column:

I’ve been trying to convince some friends who are Mets fans that the Cliff Lee signing is good for New York, in the big picture. Here’s the logic: The Mets are probably not going to be very good in 2011, and maybe even 2012. So, by 2013, when the Mets theoretically have rebuilt themselves into a contender, Lee will be 35 years old and the Phillies could have a roster top-heavy with older and more expensive players.

Actually, most Mets fans I talk to think along those lines. They’re a pretty clear-eyed bunch for the most part. Not that “don’t worry, you’re going to suck for two years” makes anyone feel great about their team, but I don’t think anyone really refutes it.

From a competitive standpoint, the Cliff Lee signing is the worst for the Braves, who are contenders now, and for the NL playoff teams from the Central and West who will have to get past the Phillies in the playoffs.  It’s a drag for Mets fans, sure, but I don’t think it really changes the competitive equation for them all that much.

  1. BC - Dec 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    I don’t know if I’m particularly clear-eyed. But I agree with Olney on this one. We are going to be a 75 win team for the next couple years, maybe longer. Santana’s contract will be up or close to up I think by 2013. Wright and Reyes will be on the other side of 30. Beltran will be either retired or limping around the field in God-knows-where. K-Rod will either be pitching somewhere else or playing in the California Penal League.
    There’s a real good chance this team could crater and not come back to being competitive until 2015 or so. There’s not a heck of a lot of can’t miss talent in the farm system. Maybe Alderson goes on a spend-a-palooza once a couple of the big contracts fall off. I don’t know.
    Hey, if you expect nothing, anything you get is gravy.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 21, 2010 at 10:56 AM

      “Hey, if you expect nothing, anything you get is gravy.”

      This has been the mentality of Philadelphia sports fans for generations. I think it’s a mental survival technique that works wonders. I must admit though I’m happy to finally shed it though and stand behind and root for an amazing team. For a freaking change…. it all began with Jimmy Rollins “We’re the team to beat” and the collapse of the Mets “that time” 7 up with 17 to go.. I’m not trying to rub anyone the wrong way, Just rehashing the start of something great in Philly for a change of pace. Now Mike Vic is an MVP candidate,and the Flyers are a serious Stanley cup contender. It’s surreal. I think God is a Philly sports fan. It’s the only logical explanation people!!! 😉

      • BC - Dec 21, 2010 at 11:02 AM

        Hey, I can empathize. I’m a Celtics fan. We basically stunk the place up once Bird retired up until we assembled the Boston Three Party. I don’t know what nirvana is like (the place, not the band) but that was pretty darn close and the current run is just incredible.
        Maybe the Mets can sign Shaq to be their third starter?

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 21, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Wasn’t all this stuff about “the Phillies rotation will be impossible to beat” the same song we heard in the 2010 playoffs? That, and “The Giants should let Burrell pitch game one since nobody can score off Cliff Lee anyway” which didn’t quite work out that way.

    More importantly, I wonder if this year’s Phillies will score enough runs to really back up their starters. Granted, this bunch won’t need too much run support, they were shut out a bunch in 2010, and it’s basically the same lineup, but a year older. Werth is gone, Rollins has been in serious decline for a few years, Ibanez looked done since the middle of 2009, Utley had a bad year coming off hip surgery and is entering his mid-thirties, Howard Ks and grounds into the shift more and more, Polanco is old, has little power and elbow surgery…that leaves a lot of heavy lifting for Chooch, Victorino (who is Hawaiian BTW) and a rookie RF.

    They will probably win the East handily, but that says as much about the weak NLEast teams as it does about the Phils.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM

      Polanco was pretty awesome with a broken elbow last season, we’ll see. He also played 3rd like a GG, with a broken elbow. Howard was having a career season in OBP and AVG before he rolled his ankle, again “we’ll see”. And all I can do is hope Jimmy got back into good shape this winter and regardless of streakiness at the plate, he still dazzles at SS. I have no fear that Utley will be awesome, and Chooch has been getting better every season. Shane, is Shane who if he’s healthy rubs greatness from time to time and is a very good OF I think the Phills will be just fine. And I think they have the right balance to win it all. If everything breaks right.

    • xmatt0926x - Dec 21, 2010 at 3:39 PM

      I love how the Giants fans think they have an offensive juggernaut on their hands because they won the series and beat Cliff Lee twice. Congrats on the title but get real. If your very confident in Cody Ross having a postseason for the ages again and guys like Pat Burrell and the rest of that patchwork lineup making it happen again, good luck to you. Cody ross needs to retire now before reality sets in. That being said, the giants like the Phillies will have to rely on great pitching and pitching always gives you the chance to win it all and the Giants could win it all again with that staff, but please give us all a break with the “why does everyone think Lee and Halladay are so great, we beat them all last year” nonsense.

      • larryhockett - Dec 21, 2010 at 5:18 PM

        Agreed. The Giants have that great young rotation so you can’t completely discount them but anyone who doesn’t see 2010 as a magical season which simply cannot be reproduced is deluding themselves.

  3. sdelmonte - Dec 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    I don’t mind rebuilding. It’s not as much fun as winning, but I loved watching some of the young players last season. And the Mets probably need a couple of years more to decide how to build teams for Citi Field, which was already a good home park last season.

    My only worry about the Mets is the money question. I’m starting to believe that the current closed wallet is not just “let’s be done with the bad contracts.” I think the Wilpons expect the suit to recover the money earned wrongly (if unknowingly) through Madoff will hit them badly, even if they settle.

  4. apbaguy - Dec 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    There are two things about the Phillies pitching for 2011 that are undeniable: veteran guys are desirable because of predictability, and high-level veteran pitchers on the Phillies are looking at ERA’s around 3.00. That level of pitching suppresses the other team’s offense to the extent that the Phillies offense has a much lower burden placed on it to score, so that there will be a lot of close wins for the Phils, 4-3, 5-3, 3-2, etc..All the factors about aging concerning the Phils offense are true, but are mitigated by having 4 veteran starters of high quality who all have minimal injury histories.

    Look at the 2010 Giants. Even with some struggles by Lincecum mid-year, they had just enough (barely) to make the playoffs, and like the 2002 Angels, the boost they got from their mid-season rookies carried them through. The formula for the Phils is the same: 4 strong pitchers, a credible # 5, and enough offense. The Giants did have a great bullpen, the Phils need to work on that. But there are always surprises during the year. But in the offfseason, the Phils look very, very strong.

    • BC - Dec 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM

      If the Phillies sign Soriano they’ll win 140 games.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    “the Phillies could have a roster top-heavy with older and more expensive players.”

    Buster…Buster…Buster…you didn’t finish the sentence…you forgot to add “who will still be better than the dreck the Mutts have signed/drafted/traded for.” You forget that the Wilpons are still the Mutts owners. No matter how good Alderson may be, he still has to answer to the Wilpons, no matter what Jeff-y says in the media. As long as the meddling Wilpons are involved, the Mutts will not win.

  6. xnumberoneson - Dec 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    I think most Mets fans are of the same mindset as well. We understand that the team organization was broken from top to bottom and it’s going to take a couple of years to fix. I think what you’re seeing from a lot of Mets fans is the culmination of years and years of frustration. Since 1986 the Mets have had short spurts of unfulfilled promise. The Mets were a good team through much of the Yankees championship run in the 90s, but they could never get past the Braves. They finally made it to the Fall Classic in 2000 only to lose to those Yankees. Then they built another contender around Wright and Reyes, only to find themselves playing second fiddle to another NL East foe. Now they face the prospect of yet another rebuilding effort while guys they hate (particularly Rollins and Victorino) roll over everyone. It’s a very bitter pill to swallow. Think of it this way – a lot of Mets fans would have preferred to see Cliff Lee become a Yankee than return to Philly. And just the simple fact that we as Mets fans have tose kinds of feelings makes us sick.

  7. xmatt0926x - Dec 21, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Let me tell you something. The phillies stunk to high heaven for years and years and were right there with the current Pirates, Royals, etc. I’ll take a few years of a top heavy payroll with old players if it means that my team will do what every fan of every team wishes their team would do once in a while and thats GO FOR IT!!! Yeah, Rollins, Utley, Polanco, etc are all getting older and this will likely lead to a year or so of scrambling around trying to rebuild but at least Phillies mgmt tried to win it all. Think the Pirates fans would take a top heavy payroll with old players if they could sniff the postseason once in a while?? Ohh..thats right. Lets go to the little market strategy of years and years of nice prospects and maybe a 90 win year every 7 years but never getting close to the brass ring. I’ll pass. I guess its human nature for people to try and rip down the teams at the top any way they can but you know you’d take it in a second. The Mets fans would jump at the chance to have a 2 or 3 year window at the top in exchange for a few meaningless seasons which most teams have year after year. But hey , at least they wont have a top heavy payroll with aging players right?? Good for them.

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