I’m not all that excited about writing the Mets preview this year. I’ve had the same feeling for a few years now when I write the Mets preview. They’re still part of the fraternal order of Major League Baseball. Due to that, I’ll settle in and do my best to give them their share of the spotlight.
It’s just that the Mets might be without David Wright to open the season due to a ribcage injury he suffered in the World Baseball Classic. If the Mets don’t have their newly crowned captain, they’re not that interesting of a team.
Major Off-Season Moves:
Getting out from under Jason Bay’s albatross of a salary was probably their biggest move of the winter. The Mets are in one of baseball’s primo divisions this year, and it’s going to be tough for them to provide bright spots for their fan base. Gone are R.A. Dickey, Scott Hairston, Mike Pelfrey, and Andres Torres. All decent players who make the everyday Mets more interesting, albeit still mediocre. The Mets didn’t do enough to make themselves better. It’s going to be a long year.
Projected Starting Lineup:
The big omission here is David Wright, who says he’ll be ready for Opening Day. We’ll believe it when we see it. Fresh off of signing that eight-year, $138 million dollar extension, the Mets are going to be as careful as possible in safe-guarding their most precious asset. When Wright is in the lineup he’s a difference maker like few men in baseball. A 20/20 threat with the ability to hit .300, Wright long ago became the Mets version of Derek Jeter. It’s good to know that Wright is going to remain with the Mets, it wouldn’t be right for him to be anywhere else.
But there’s still another eight spots that need fielded. And the Mets are a mess everywhere else as far as I’m concerned.
Well–not everywhere else–as we are certain that Ike Davis is in for a monster year this season. He’s cured from his spell with Valley Fever and he’s ready to do some damage folks. He hit .227 last year but still managed 32 home runs. If you can hit 32 home runs playing in that state library of a park, you’ve got light-tower power. Expect Davis to threaten the 40-home run plateau and hit around .255 or .260 this season. He will be fun to watch.
Other than that, what are you going to get excited about in this lineup? I mean really. They don’t have anyone that runs particularly well. They don’t have anyone else who hits for power. They don’t have anyone else that does anything above a marginal amount. Mets fans have always ranted and raved to me about Danny Murphy, and he’s so great and all that. The guy is the most marginal, unspectacular man in the big leagues. I had Danny Murphy in my fantasy lineup last year for about 60 steady days while waiting out my regular’s DL stint. I was enticed by a .284ish average, position versatility, and the ability to just get base hits that I thought he would bring. Danny Murphy 1 for 4’d me to death, until I was sick to my stomach. Now I can’t talk about Danny Murphy without feeling a little ouchie. You’re not going anywhere with Danny Murphy Mets fans. He’s a lovable, mediocre regular who has gotten you into the tough spot you’re in today.
Mets fans also like to get up in arms about Lucas Duda, too. But I’m on a roll here and I’m going to keep going. Duda is a .250 hitter who will be 27 years old this season. His power is not near where it should be for that big body. He’s Rico Brogna if Rico could have learned to play the outfield poorly.
This post is not a ‘Hater’s Guide to the 2013 Mets’ contrary to what you want to think. This is simply the stone cold truth about your baseball team this season. If as a Mets fan you would like to read something that will evoke happier memories, let me direct you to a Late-night Ode to Darryl Strawberry I put up about a year ago. Now that is pure solid gold in the form of a post on a baseball blog. That’s when the Mets were existing in a holy land, not the corporate office setting of Citi Field, which does nothing to make me want to visit. For another good read you can check out the time I visited Bobby Valentines. Or the time he hit on our dates on New Years Eve and handed me his empty. He behaved just how you would expect him to.
But I’m not going to use this section to pick daisies about the 2013 Mets.
Projected Pitching Staff:
The rotation has three spots with some nice upside, two spots we’re going to pick on a little bit, and a closer who we’re praying takes over and dominates (because he’s on our big money fantasy squad).
Let’s start with the good.
Jon Niese showed the world he was ready to be a staff anchor last season. The Lima, Ohio product went 13-9 last season with a 3.40 ERA and a better than 3 to 1 K/BB ratio. Expect a similar year from Niese this year because the guy knows how to pitch. He’s not your ideal number one starter or anything like that, but we like Niese enough.
Matt Harvey is probably the one young player on the Mets to be most excited about. He struck out 70 hitters in 59 innings last season and showed outstanding control in only walking 26. I saw him pitch one night against Cincinnati and the guy was un-hittable. I’ve been told by guys much wiser about prospects than I am that Harvey’s ceiling is a high-end number two starter. I am gonna go ahead and just kind of disagree with that right now. I think the guy has the chance to show himself as an ace as soon as this season and is the building block of this organization other than Wright. When the Mets are good again, Harvey will be at the center of the Queens, NY universe.
Lastly, I’m somehow alright with Dillon Gee. Again, not phenomenal stuff. But in what we’ve seen of Gee, the guy knows how to pitch and should be able to shave his ERA under four this year.
Now we’re going to kick some people a little bit. The Mets went out and signed 31-year old Shaun Marcum this off-season. Have you laid eyes on Marcum lately? The guy looks like a hobo. He pitches like a hobo. He’s not fooling anyone anymore. This is the year the wheels start to fall off Marcum and he becomes public enemy number one in the Big Apple.
Nothing thrills me more than when my team gets to face a garden-variety righty like Jeremy Hefner. At the expense of sounding like a scout here, Hefner does nothing well. With all the electric arms that teams have in an effort to survive in baseball in the present day, a team might find themselves finding an ace with shutdown stuff five or six nights in a row. And then they get a break that lets them off the hook in a guy like Hefner. And if they don’t beat Hefner you know your team is really going bad. Seriously, this guy is the type of pitcher that lineups just pad their stats on. He’s kind of like a Chris Volstad. You know your lefties in the middle of the order are really going to get healthy and eat fine meats and cheeses on the night he is throwing.
In closing, and that’s no play on words, I really hope Bobby Parnell crushes it this season in the closers role. Parnell has the stuff you look for in a guy that resides at the back end of the bullpen. And let’s face it, if the Mets entered the year with Frank Francisco as their closer again we would all be able to say they weren’t even trying anymore. Parnell allows them to save face, even if it’s just a little bit.
Mevs’ Projected Record:
76-86, Fourth Place in the NL East
Mets Manager Terry Collins can tell the Daily News that he’s excited about the 2013 season all he wants. He’s been around the game long enough to know he’s up shit creek without paddle.
The Mets don’t have a fighting chance in this division, with three playoff worthy teams in the division they’ll need to dog paddle their way through the season to do their best to stay out of the cellar and in front of the Marlins. Someday the Mets will be good again, really good. And it will be good for baseball for New York to have another relevant baseball team. But it’s going to take time.
For now, Mets fans should enjoy watching the talents of Wright, Harvey and Ike while waiting for a brighter day.