Remember this spring when some were up in arms about how we were going to have the worst bench in the league? Well, I admit I was (and am) disappointed that Sandy didn't pursue a better backup catcher than Nickeas, but so far Mets notable benchwarmers (Hairston, Quintanilla, Baxter, Cedeno, Turner, Rottino, Johnson, Valdespin, Nickeas) have combined for a pleasantly effective 39% of a season:
37 2B & 15 HR
Kind of hard to see this group maintaining this level of production going forward, but they've already provided more total value than the last two seasons of Mets backups combined. Here's our recent bench history (it's an inexact science; I'm including players who emerged from depth roles midseason to seize starting jobs, like Pagan in 2009 and Valentin in 2006):
2011: 1.4 fWAR
2010: –0.7 fWAR
2009: 4.9 fWAR
2008: 4.2 fWAR
2007: 5.2 fWAR
2006: 4.8 fWAR
It's interesting to look back at how Omar did a very good job at stockpiling bench depth for most of his tenure, then utterly blew it at the end. Sandy took over a team that had almost no MLB-ready bench talent remaining in the org — Justin Turner and Nick Evans, basically. If we can get back to the kind of team that has players like Endy, Pagan, Tatis, Castro, Easley, and Valentin oozing out of its pores, it'll go a surprisingly long way towards keeping us in contention year after year.
Of course, having a bullpen would help, too.
What should we expect from our bench going forward?