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New York Mets 2012 Outlook
We Still Have Mr Met!!
My Humble Opinions About 2012
Well we know Jose Reyes will be playing elsewhere and quite frankly, I think the Marlins grossly overpaid. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jose Reyes, but given his injury issues and the fact that Florida simply isn’t into watching baseball, which they’ve proved year after year, I think the Marlins just paid way too much. After the first year excitement, I think their new stadium will be about as full as the old stadium which is a shame but let’s face it, when they were winning years ago, they didn’t fill the stands then either…
On to the Mets…
I’d like to give my take on this team since we could look at it in a few ways. The 2011 squad wasn’t that bad. Really they weren’t. The bullpen was. The Mets bullpen blew 24 save chances – that means the Mets were in position to win those games. If they had saved even half of those games, you have a record that looks like the Braves record. Despite all the injuries, this team wasn’t all that bad. However, that was with Jose Reyes getting on base and his production simply won’t be made up in the batting order where he hit. I think the Mets should go into full building mode - not REBUILDING mode. What’s the difference you ask? Rebuilding happens when you have very little going for you. I think the Mets proved to have far more young quality players than we, as fans, ever thought they did. Building mode acknowledges that you have pieces to BUILD around. Let’s go through the roster and I’ll give my humble opinion on each situation.
First base – Ike Davis
Ike was hitting really well before colliding with David Wright and getting hurt for the rest of the season. I think Ike is a keeper and is a great option at first base.
Second Base – Justin Turner/Daniel Murphy
Justin Turner turned out to be the grinder we thought he would be. He wasn’t a bad option at all and contributed well to this team. I think he’s your starter. Daniel Murphy was hitting very well when he was hurt again making a play at second base. As much as I like Murphy, who has had a really tough road so far, I think he’s trade bait – likely for pitching help.
Shortstop – Rueben Tejada
He’s a slick fielder and progressing as a hitter but he isn’t Jose Reyes and nobody should pressure him into thinking he needs to be. He needs to be Rueben Tejada and that’s it.
Third Base – David Wright
I love David Wright, I’ve even met him once. He’s the face of the franchise and a loyal team player. And he should be traded immediately for as much as the Mets can get for him. I HATE saying that but they completely dropped the ball on the Reyes situation. They held onto him when they should have traded him. Instead they will get draft picks for him – CRAPPY draft picks at that. Not a #1 draft pick, or even a #2 – a third rounder and I think a sandwich pick as well. That’s getting garbage out of that plan. They should have known this was coming and gotten something for him. David was hurt badly last year and despite being the face of the franchise, the Mets built a stadium to completely destroy his value. Citi Field is huge, the power alley where Wright USED TO hit is too deep, the left field wall he could pull the ball over is 15 feet tall – who designed this??? And it only took them three years to decide this was a bad idea. As fans, we saw immediately how this would work, why did it take management so long? Much as I love David, we should send him somewhere nice and get some pitching chips that are close to the majors. If we do this, maybe we can teach Daniel Murphy to play third base. He’s an infielder, he hits and it will get him away from 2nd base where he keeps getting hurt.
Left Field – Jason Bay
He isn’t this bad a hitter but, again, we all knew he wasn’t going to hit 35 HRs with Citi Field as his home park. His hitting troubles aside, he is a far better defensive player than I ever thought he was. The Mets are stuck with him due to his ridiculous contract (thanks OMAR!!) but his hitting can’t get worse. I think he was far better off staying in Boston where all those long fly balls, that are routine flyouts in NY, were shots off the Green Monster in Boston. Maybe we can trade a couple of bad contracts with them and return Bay to the Red Sox where he was a great compliment to David Ortiz.
Center Field – Angel Pagan
Angel is frustrating. He’s a good player and brings some offense when his head’s in the game but I just don’t see the Mets sticking with him. I’d rather non-tender him and try any number of outfield prospects the Mets have in the upper levels of the system – Fernando Martinez or Kirk Niewenhaus come first. You have to let the young guys play sometime.
Right Field – Lucas Duda
I love Lucas – what a breakout year he had last season. I want to see him do it again but he looks like a solid player and the second power bat we need in the lineup.
Catcher – Josh Thole
I’m not sure his hitting skills will ever be spectacular but the pitching staff seemed happier with him as the season progressed last year. I like that he’s young, healthy and has a great work ethic. Any veteran backup would be fine as I think Ronny Paulino is out the door.
The group of Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and Dillon Gee did a respectable job last year. They kept the Mets in most games and all-in-all were not the weak spot we all thought they would be at the season’s beginning. Niese can be great, Pelfrey is an innings eater, Dickey is a change of pace and Gee is the control guy. Capuano is gone as his solid season will bring him more money somewhere else and Chris Young who gave us a few great games was hurt most of the season so he won’t be back. They could use another solid starter in this group, Jason Marquis would be great. He’s isn’t stellar but he is solid and he’s from NY so he can handle the pressure. The Mets have some great young pitching that is probably a season away from hitting the majors though Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler probably will be given a chance to make the starting rotation in spring. Oh yeah, we have Johan Santana coming back from injury as well. If he’s half of what he was before, he’ll be better than anyone currently on the staff.
I’m not a Francisco Rodriguez fan – his high-wire act is maddening, but he wasn’t bad. He was expensive. That being said, nobody really pulled it together at closer after he was traded. I love Jason Isringhausen but he’s not a closer. Bobby Parnell can throw 100 mph but doesn’t seem to have enough confidence or tough skin to be a closer. He should be the closer but simply didn’t prove himself last season. There are a number of closer options out there that the Mets are looking at but they are moving so slow, they guys they have targeted are quickly being snatched up – I don’t know what they are waiting for. The rest of the bullpen should be comprised of young guns, not expensive veterans. There is no need to pay millions for a guy who gets outs one at a time….
Can’t say too much here since the bench is in flux. Not sure who is coming back or will be kept around. Nick Evans is gone, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston are question marks. This will get more settled near spring training.
Manager and Coaches
I think this group did a good job last year and the changes made for this season will probably work out just the same. In the end, there is only so much a coach can do. The players still need to perform. Terry Collins did a great job managing around the many injuries from last year and I expect he’ll do the same this year as well.
So my overall view is to build around the young core, help the young pitchers develop, unfortunately it's time to trade David Wright for young chips and keep the payroll low since there is no reason to blow lots of money on this team, AT THIS TIME...
Another year or two and this team, if the young guys develop properly, could be really special. Keep building Sandy, I think it's what you're good at anyway. You inherited a mess, now it's time to clean up what you can...