Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the New York Mets. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
For as much as everyone around baseball laughs at the Mets (a Mets fan who is a friend of mine called them the Al Davis gang of MLB), they don’t look all that bad on paper. The thing is about this organization; they might make the wrong moves sometimes, but their ineptness is never because of lack of effort. They continually make moves to improve their ball club and because of this, we don’t ever expect the Mets to endure decades upon decades of losing. If they’re bad, they’re making the effort to move in the right direction.
This off season, they went out and added Jason Bay. He was one of the prized free agents on the market and the Mets let their be no doubts cast. They signed bay early on in the off season, bringing him to roam the pasture in flushing.
Two of their high-priced stars enter the 2010 season with health questions. Jose Reyes has what is being called a thyroid issue while Carlos Beltran might miss the first six weeks due to knee surgery. These guys are getting old fast. The Mets other superstar David Wright is coming off of a season that was riddled with health injuries and struggles of his own.
This has opened the door for an infusion of young talent, and Fernando Martinez (pictured above) should have a starting outfield spot locked down on the Major League roster after an impressive spring. Martinez is a prospect that is highly touted in the Mets system but failed to deliver much last season in a short amount of big league work. We’re excited to see him develop as a young player in this game and we believe he has a bright future ahead. The absence of Beltran the first few weeks of the season should allow for him to really get his feet wet as an every day player and put up some numbers in cavernous Citi Field.
Luis Castillo returns at second base and will lead off. Gary Matthews Jr. could get some time in the outfield and second spot as well as Martinez. The heart of the order will be comprised of David Wright, and later Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran when they get healthy. Then you think about the fact that they can run out Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur as corner outfielders and hit them 5th and 6th in the order? C’mon now, these guys aren’t going to be all that bad. Daniel Murphy works hard at the craft of hitting and worked hard in moving to first base this off season to make room in the outfield. Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco will split time at catcher and offer nothing special from the plate.
The bench has a few guys you’ve maybe heard of. Mike Jacobs, Alex Cora, Angel Pagan; guys like that. Nothing really to write home about.
The rotation will trickle down from Johan Santana and should be decent if they all stay healthy. Santana says he’s well and ready for as good of a year as he’s ever had. From there they’ll run out John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, and Jonathon Niese. One of these years you’d think Pelfrey or Oliver Perez will step up and win 17 games or so. They were both extremely highly touted. Maybe we’ve seen their best. Still, this rotation isn’t as bad on paper as a Mets fan would have you believe.
The bullpen is headlined by Francisco Rodriguez, better known to us all as “K-Rod”. Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano, and Kiko Calero will all contribute. There might be a few additions you’re less familiar with in Ryota Igarashi and Eddie Kunz.
All things considered, we can tell you that this team will not finish last in 2010. They’re a lot better than the Nationals will be, and they’re going to challenge for third in the division. The key is getting the nucleus of the team healthy and deciding if this is the group to build around or if youngsters like Martinez and tho
se acquired in trade for dealt veterans will become the new nucleus in Flushing.