Fifth Place is Not Out of the Realm

As we all sit back and wait for Omar Minaya to make that blockbuster trade or signing, only to see him sign more mediocre players, reality is starting to set in.  If this hot stove pattern continues — and I’m sorry, Minaya has given us no reason to believe otherwise – the Mets in 2010 could easily be a fourth place team, and maybe even fifth.

First of all, the Phillies are not exactly going to be worse…they have won the division three straight seasons and have been to the World Series twice.  They will more than likely have Cliff Lee for a full season and most of the other starters returning.

The Marlins are no slouches.  They are an exciting young team led by a trio of very good pitchers in Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez.  The Marlins won almost 90 games in 2009.

The Braves, who were right there behind the Marlins with 86 wins this past season, also appear to have bolstered their team with the addition of ex-Met Billy Wagner and also of former Dodgers’ closer Takashi Saito.

Then there are the Nationals.  Yeah, I know, these guys lost 103 games in 2009.  They had a decent lineup with good pop, but a putrid pitching staff that could never hold a lead when the Nationals got one.  Still, there is hope here, starting with top draft pick Stephen Strasburg.  You know, the guy who throws 100 mph.

The Mets finished 70-92 this past season, 16 games back of the third-place Braves and only (gasp) 11 games ahead of the Nationals.  If Minaya intends to fix this team with band-aids as it appears he will, a .500 season would be about the best we could hope for.  Another 70-win season is more likely, and don’t think the Nationals won’t be in that same range in 2010.

Can Omar do something to give us more optimism?  Time will tell, but I’m not holding out much hope.