I have been a Mets fan since 1969. Every decade has provided it's unique level of frustration. As we have embarked on a new one, many things have not changed. Pessimism abounds, having lost Reyes. Adding three new arms to the bullpen this offseason helps but it is not enough, as every other team in the N.L. has improved to some degree.
The Phillies have added a top notch closer (Papelbon) and a quality setup man in Chad Qualls. Former Met Ty Wigginton will hold the fort at 1B until Ryan Howard is back from injury. The Braves may start a rookie at SS, but are loaded with a bevy of quality arms. The Marlins sign Reyes, Buehrle, Bell, and a new manager, who convinces management to trade for an $18 million fifth starter (the Marlins will pay only $3 million of Carlos Zambrano's salary). There is also much optimism in Washington, where newly acquired Gio Gonzalez joins a healthy Stephen Strasburg atop a young rotation, and Brad Lidge is brought in to add a veteran presence/depth to the bullpen. And Bryce Harper is coming.
So where does that leave the Mets? The fan base clamored for them to spend money, yet many of the recent signings (i.e., KRod, Ollie, Castillo) were flops. The farm system has few gems, none yet ready for The Show. The fans vow to stay home if there isn't a contender on the field. As it stands, Mets' ownership's hands appear tied, the top free agents are all signed, and the Mets seem headed for a fifth place finish in front of empty seats.
That's reality. If Ya Gotta Believe, maybe they will surprise us. Ike, Murphy, Santana, Niese, Wright all come back from injury stronger than ever. Jason Bay returns to power-hitting prominence. The bullpen acquisitions hold it down for a resurgent Pelfrey, Dickey and Gee. Duda & Tejada embrace their everyday roles and produce like capable veterans. They finish third, around .500, and play meaningful games in September. Stranger things have happened.