Today, we are completing our quick tour of the NL East with my favorite team and yours the New York Metropolitans! 2009 was a tough year for the Mets as they were beset by a plague of injuries and ended up finishing 4th in the NL East ahead of only the lowly Nationals. 2010 promises to be a brighter year at least than 2009 but many Mets fans are wary of the current make-up of their favorite team. GM Omar Minaya and the Wilpon family have taken a lot of criticism for the moves (or lack thereof) made this offseason. Here's how the Mets look to start the season -
New York Mets
SS: Jose Reyes 2B: Luis Castillo CF: Carlos Beltran LF: Jason Bay 3B: David Wright 1B: Daniel Murphy/Fernando Tatis RF: Jeff Francouer C: Omir Santos Bench: IF/OF Tatis, OF Angel Pagan, OF Gary Matthews Jr., IF Alex Cora, C Henry Blanco
SP: Johan Santana SP: Mike Pelfrey SP: Oliver Perez SP: John Maine SP: Fernando Nieve CP: Francisco Rodriguez RP: Kelvim Escobar, Ryoda Igarashi, Pedro Feliciano, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green, Nelson Figueroa
Many observers felt that the most glaring weakness the Mets had going into the offseason was in the starting rotation - well, nothing was done to fix that. The Mets hope that a healthy stable of starter with plenty of upside will bounce back from an abysmal 2009 that was riddled with injury and inconsistency. Today the #5 spot in the rotation looks like it belongs to Fernando Nieve who was a revelation in 2009 before falling victim to the injury plague. Others that will be competing for that #5 spot; fan favorite Nelson Figueroa and young gun Jon Niese. But the most important man in the rotation is the Ace - Johan Santana - will he be 100% from the get-go? Will he be able to shoulder the load of all of Met fandoms expectations? The Mets solidified one of their strengths in the bullpen by adding Kelvim Escobar and Ryoda Igarashi to the fold. Escobar can be extremely valuable (if healthy) and could be a dominant bullpen presence. Igarashi was exceptional in the Japanese league and the Mets hope his power stuff translates well as a late innings reliever in 2010. The rest of the bullpen has solid reliable arms, and I expect the Mets bullpen to be one of the league's best in 2010. The offense "should" be good to very good. The offense features speed, average, and power and if not for the collapse of 2009 would no doubt have high expectations. It is fairly balanced left to right and features some of the games best hitters. There is some worry that the power outage that hit in 2009 might continue into 2010 but I think that those worries are highly overrated. I expect the Mets offense to be among the top 3 in the National League in 2010. While there are reasons to worry (most glaringly the rotation), on balance, I think the positives outweigh the negatives for the Mets. With a full and healthy season from this offense, and a bounce-back year from the rotation I expect the Mets to finish 2nd in the NL East and to challenge the Phillies for most of the season. I also expect the Mets to be the Wild Card team for the National League in the playoffs in 2010. So save up for those playoff tickets Mets fans!