Many will say “Yes” but as usual, I don’t agree with the majority of what I’ve been hearing. The team has done little to improve, operating under the belief or the “company line” that guys such as Big Pelf will improve or that John Maine, and the ever-enigmatic Ollie Perez are going to return to their 2007 form. This may be asking a lot for a team that has yielded multiple disappointing seasons for the past 3 years or so.
If the discussion on the table is are we happy with the way business is being run? The answer is an emphatic “No”, beginning with the Tony Bernazard award winning performance in the hit high school drama “Give me your lunch money or I’ll meet you after school!” to the ongoing Carlos Beltran injury/media nightmare to the bevy of free agents that are behaving as as if the Mets have E-Coli.
Things from a foundational/organizational standpoint don’t look so good and there’s no real argument there.
Additionally, the team’s makeup has barely changed apart from the addition of Mr. Jason Raymond Bay and some other ”minor” moves. Yes, more should have reasonably been done especially since the team has played so poorly or underachieved in the past few years. Big Market Teams = Big Market Expectations.
If we’re being asked to swallow a “small ball” mentality this year, then let’s explore it.
What makes this team that different from the 2009 Seattle Mariners? After King Felix (and before Cliff Lee), who were their #2 through #5? I don’t know either but we do know that they went from a 61-101, 4th place finish in the AL west in ’08 to 85-77 last year. The additions of Ken Griffey, Jason Vargas (a Mets castoff), and former Pirate Ian Snell didn’t make a difference stat-wise but the one thing that even their new coach and their fans will say is that they played better defense, improved situational hitting, and their pitching was vastly improved (with help from the aforementioned defense) to the tune of a 24 game improvement.
The Mets have added or currently have players that have the potential to play up to that standard too. Barring any arising coaching issues or lack of focus from the players, there’s no reason not to expect them to do just that. I’m not ready to say the Murphy experience at first base will be greatly improved or the catching situation will be sufficient as far as the game calling or offense at the bottom of the order, but lets not ignore all the other significant strengths of this team. (And I hear that, Murph’s been working hard at the position) We know what to expect from the rest of the infield. Our outfield is one of the best (when Beltran is in) and one of the most entertaining (when Pagan is in).
Can Big Pelf win 10 games this season? Can Ollie tap into the potential we’ve been hearing about now that he’s graduated from “The Institute”? (That never gets old to me!) Can J. Maine come back healthy and match his 15 game win record from 3 years ago? Can a healthy Nieve and a determined Figgy add to a much questioned rotation? Hard to predict, but definitely not beyond the realm of possibility. The point is that there’s no way that our season is already over before it starts as so many hint or suggest.
As long as there’s a Wild Card, a trade deadline, and 162 games to be played, anything can happen!
Which one of our great fans, Mets blogger or sports journalist predicted that practically every player on our squad would be injured in a historically unprecedented 2009 season?
Let them play the games… Let them endure the rigors of a full season… And lets see where some fundamentally sound baseball can take our Amazins. Besides the offseason’s not done just yet, it just feels like that sometimes. LGM