Anthony DiComo of MLB.com takes a look at 10 questions facing the Mets in 2012. Here are five of them:
Will the Mets remain intact as currently constructed?
Top prospects aside, everyone else on the roster is fair game for trades. Should the Mets stumble out to a poor start in what’s shaping up to be an ultra-competitive division, it will only be a matter of time before rumors begin swirling around those players with expiring contracts. Though the Mets may not be as aggressive in the trade market as they were last summer, dealing away star players Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, there’s a good chance they could look to parlay their older talent into additional prospects. Speaking of which …
Could the Mets really trade away Wright?
This is the big one. Though Alderson has made it clear that Wright is off limits this winter, he offers no such guarantees going forward. If Wright lays waste to Citi Field’s shortened fences as the Mets believe he can, it’s certainly possible the team could look to trade high on him sometime in July. Doing so might represent marketing suicide for the Mets, but Alderson has already proven his willingness to take risks in that area, letting the hugely popular Reyes walk to a division rival.
Will Johan Santana be an effective pitcher again?
The brief history of pitchers with torn anterior shoulder capsules is not promising. Mark Prior never returned to the big leagues following surgery. Chien-Ming Wang’s progress last season was encouraging, but the sample was small and Wang was two full years removed from surgery. Now a year and a half removed from his own operation, Santana will look to make the Mets’ Opening Day roster. But no one knows for sure if he will be able to do it or if he will be the same pitcher upon his return. All the Mets know is that he is absolutely critical to their success.
How will the Bernard Madoff situation affect the Mets?
How the next four months unfold should go a long way toward determining the financial future of the franchise, including whether or not the Wilpon family and Saul Katz will be able to retain majority ownership. A trial by jury is set for March 19 against Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover funds from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, the Mets expect to close on the first of many deals to sell $20 million minority stakes in the team by January. One way or the other, the net result should be a clearer financial picture by year’s end.
Are the Mets truly in rebuilding mode?
Despite everything that has transpired over the past few years, the Mets insist that they are not giving up on the immediate future — “not punting 2012,” as Alderson put it. But they are also realists, playing in a division alongside the perennially contending Phillies and Braves, the free-spending Marlins and improving Nationals. Certainly, the Mets surprised people with their strong first half in 2011. They will surprise a few more along the way if they are able to repeat that trick in ’12.
To read DiComo’s commentary on the following five questions click here.
- Are Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia on the fast track?
- How will Ike Davis bounce back from injury?
- Can Ruben Tejada effectively replace Reyes?
- Will the new fences make a difference?
- Can Daniel Murphy play adequately at second base?