The Mets so far have had one of the best seasons of any team in Major League Baseball…seriously. I know you must think Spector’s finally lost it. Follow me on this one.
The Mets this season have fielded about 15 players who have actually contributed – a far cry from the normal 25 man roster. Let’s reminisce and go back to early Spring – Port St. Lucie – when hope was abundant – when we all thought Oliver Perez was rip roaring and ready to hit the ground at CitiField running, repaired “injured” knee and all.
The Mets were unable – or unwilling – to land a starting pitcher this past off season. The Mets were forced to enter the 2010 season with Johan Santana leading a staff of Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez and Jon Niese or as I always liked to call it – One man and a little hazy.
How pathetic in retrospect is that rotation? Santana aside, Pelfrey and Niese were the only two usable arms in that cadre and as the year progressed we had the opportunity to see Hisanori Takahashi start as well as the emergence of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Even with the surprisingly productive year of Dickey, the Mets at times this year, were just getting by with 3 reliable arms – sometimes even less.
At times this season, Jerry Manuel’s lineup card might as well been partially left blank since more times than not there were at least four slots in the Mets lineup virtually unproductive. No team can compete for a championship with a handicap like that.
Take Rod Barajas who started the season on a torrid pace blasting 11 homeruns in his first month in Queens alone. After that glorious month, a picture of Rod Barajas’ Louisville slugger found it’s way on the side of milk cartons in local area bodegas. He hit an appalling .225 with 12 home runs, 34 RBI and a .677 OPS until being claimed off waivers by Los Angeles.
Luis Castillo. What can we say about Louie that hasn’t been already? He’s regressed worse than Chevy Chase’s career with a decaying range at second base that at this rate I bet Betty White can out-field our second baseman – but he found the stones to demand a trade for lack of playing time. Good idea Louie Louie and we gotta go, hey hey hey hey.
The outfield for the Mets this year has been a mishmash of players getting and returning from injury. Francoeur, a former “Natural” standout player with a great personality that has unfortunately seen his best days pass him – was sent packing from Atlanta last year and recently was traded to Texas. Francoeur’s numbers as a Met – .225 BA, 10 HR, 41 RBI, and a .836 OPS. A good guy who gave 110% – too bad it was 110% of Jeff Francouer baseball. There was a reason Bobby Cox let him go. Still doubt his baseball acumen?
Jason Bay was brought in with the intention of powering the offense. A poor man’s Matt Holliday – if you want to call a $66 million dollar contract poor – Bay has never seemed quite comfortable in the confines of CitiField. An assessment of Bay’s production last year showed that the majority of his round trippers were dead pull shots at Fenway. Considering left field at Citi fares no worse than Fenway- in fact slightly better considering the lack of the Green Monster – it was safe to assume Bay would do quite well at CitiField.
Of course Jason decided to become more of a gap hitter at Citifield thus ending that assumption. Bay’s numbers this year, .259 BA, 6 HR, 47 RBI and a .749 OPS. To add injury to insult, Bay ingloriously ended (perhaps?) his 2010 season when he slammed his head into the outfield fence in L.A., catching a fly ball, earning a concussion. Somewhere Ryan Church is popping an Excederin in solidarity.
Here is a list of players whom the Mets could have simply gotten by without –
1. Luis Castillo
2. Rod Barajas
3. Fernando Tatis
4. Alex Cora
5. Mike Jacobs
6. Gary Matthews Jr.
7. Jeff Francoeur
8. Jason Bay
9. John Maine
And last but certainly not least in all our hearts….
10. Oliver Perez
So Mets fans, stand up and give your team some credit here. With the group of players ownership has given them to work with this year it’s absolutely a shock that the Mets have the respectable (albeit losing) record they have – so far. Here’s to finding the silver lining and to hoping that the Mets keep bucking the trend through the remainder of the season. Hopefully they can salvage what little baseball is left for them.