Look, I know. Most Mets fans are pessimistic when it comes to all matters Mets related. This upcoming season seems to be tailor-made for such a Met fan. The reasons are many. The Wilpons and a general lack of money to spend, Johan Santana will be out for a while, Jason Bay Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are all coming off suspect at best seasons, the pitching doesnt excite. To top it all off, the Mets havent really given us much to be excited about and have caused much to be upset about the last few years.
That being said, the season hasnt started yet and as the cliched saying goes, hope springs eternal. I'm not gonna sit here and proclaim that the Mets are gonna make the playoffs (I think the competition is too steep) but I do think the Mets have the ability to perform reasonably well this year and also have a team that is somewhat fun to root for. Read on.
1) The Front Ofiice: Gone are the days of Omar Minaya. With regards to this season, I think the most profound effect this will have is in the Mets depth. While the Mets didn't acquire any frontline talent this offseason, they did acquire a lot of good depth players. I'm not talking Rod Barajas Alex Cora type scrubs, rather players who can actually play. Brad Emaus, Scott Hairston, Chris Young and Chris Capuano are steps up from the dreg we've run out there the last few years. I think the Mets will be much better off this year when injuries inevitably occur. At least we wont have Smiling Jeff Francouer in right field
2) Terry Collins: I can't place my finger on it, but there's something about Terry Collins that I like. I'll admit, I was quite skeptical when the Mets hired him. After all, he didnt have much of a pedigree and he was run out of his last job in Ananheim. I'm starting to come around on him though. Maybe its just that he's a good result of Willie / Manuel withdrawal and any manager who seems to have any personality or spark seems like a ray of sunshine? I honestly dont know. Either way, the way he's run camp has been a breath of fresh air. He has boundless energy and seems to be having the players pay attention to detail (somthing that had been sorrely lacking). I have no idea what his in game managing style will be (something that can easily lead to consternation) but as of now I see nothing not to like and much to be hopeful about.
3) The Lineup: I honestly feel that this lineup has the potential to be very very good this year. I'm not saying they will be good rther that they have potential to be very good. Consider. Last year the Mets trotted out absolute garbage to the plate nearly every day. Luis Castillo (or Alex Cora or whoever was playing second), Rod Barajas and Jeff Francouer were for the most part human hitting wastelands. Jason Bay wasnt much better honestly.
This year we are much improved in those areas. There's no possible way Bay can be that bad again and I think as he's nw familiar here he will greatly improve. He likely wont approach his Boston era stats but still if he puts up a decent year thats god news. Instead of wasted Frenchy at bats in RF this year we should (hopefully, fingers crossed) have Beltran back. As much as I dont think Beltran will be healthy, I still look at the fact that he's in a contract year. The guy will play his heart out. Even if he does go down I dont think we're that badly situated with Hairston and Duda, (who actually hit very well following his 1-33 start to his career) or maybe even Niewenhuis in the wings. I dont think we'll get great producton out of second base this year, but lets face it anything beats the spew we had last year. I dont think it would surprise anyone if Brad Emaus hit for a .270 avg with a .360 OBP and say 12 homers. That production would vastly improve our lineup.
Now we have the holdovers from last year. First off, here's to hoping Reyes stays healthy and that the Mets dont trade him. If this happens he can definitely put up good stats. Collins has indicated he's gonna let Reyes run loose this year and I really hope thats the case. Plus, Reyes is in a contract year and is bound to have a good offensive season. Th those who say BUT REYES WILL FOR SURE GET HURT! Hogwash. It's not like he has any degenerative injury that'll recur like Beltrans bad knees. Plus, we all thought Reyes was a walking talking injury waiting to happen years ago and then he went out and played in virtually every game 3 years in a row. David Wright should be good again. Yes, he'll probably strike out a ton aain but overall, his offensive production last year was very good.
Franlkly, I dont expect Angel Pagan to have as good a year as he had last year but even if he doesnt he should still be pretty good. Plus he's a very likeable guy. I love Josh Thole. I know he wont hit for power but he seems to have really improved behind the plate and he at the very least will hit for a good average and have a good OBP. Ike Davis should continue improving. When he hits one out it really goes out. Overall, a lineup with Thole, Davis, Emaus, Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Pagan and Bay all healthy is very very good. And dont let anyone tell you otherwise.
4) Pitching Staff: I happen to really like the moves Sandy made this offseason. Chris Young and Chris Capuano are both very good gambles. Theyre each pitchers who've had a lot of success in the past and should thrive in Citi Field. Thsi isnt like the Yankees giving Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon a shot. Theyre way over the hill and have their best years far behind them. Young and Capuano can really provide something. Unlike past years where we had pure slop at the back end of the rotation we now actually have very capable pitchers. True overall the satff isnt fearsome. But his is a very solid workmanlike staff. A lot of Rick Reed type guys here. And we also have (hopefully) Santana coming back in June. If he does, here's to hoping that the big question is who to pull out of the rotation. If all else fails we potentially have Jenrry Mejia finally being a starter down in the MInors.
As for the bullpen, I dont see it being as bad as I thi=ought it would be. K-Rod will surely scare the daylights out of us but hopefully his experiences with the law will give him some more focus and perspective. And I really hope he doesnt finish 55 games. The rest of the bullpen honestly doesnt look awful right now. I'm pretty impressed by them
Anyhow, so take what you want out of this but I honestly think things arent as dreary as everyone makes it seem. Our lineup has a chance to be very good and our pitching is at the very least OK. I dont see why we cant at least make a run like the Marlins do every year and scare the Phils and Braves some. True, that means the Mets probably wont be great but they'll also be also be a lot more likeable this year than in years past.
For more good (highly recommended) reading on this topic