2009 Record: 70-92
Key additions: OF Jason Bay, C Henry Blanco, RP Kelvim Escobar
Key departures: 1B Carlos Delgado, RP J.J. Putz, C Brian Schneider
Offense: The Mets had a chronic problem last season with driving in runs. The lack of pop in the middle of the lineup cost the Mets tons of runs, when the top of the lineup hit the ball very well. Their .270 team batting average was well over the NL average.
Carlos Beltran and Joey Reyes (pictured) both suffered significant injuries last season, which was a big part of their struggles in 2009. Beltran (10 HR, 48 RBI) underwent knee surgery without consulting the Mets’ medical staff, and could miss the beginning of the season.
Reyes and Luis Castillo form a solid tandem at the top of the lineup.
Adding Jason Bay in free agency could provide a huge boost to that absent power. He should begin the season bating clean-up until Beltran returns. Bay (36 HR, 119 RBI) is better suited to bat fifth, but anything will be better than the problems New York had last season.
Defense: The infield is spectacular, save for first base. Wright, Reyes, and Castillo are all among the best at their positions in the league. At first base, Daniel Murphy is slow and not a natural fit at the position.
In the outfield, Beltran’s injury is cause for concern in center, and Bay is not exactly known for his range in left field. Jeff Franceour is an adequate right fielder, but is nothing special.
Johan Santana (pictured) spent the final month of the season on the DL with an elbow injury, and his 2009 season wasn’t much to remember by his standards. Santana (13-9, 3.13 ERA) will still anchor a shaky rotation that includes Mike Pelfrey (10-12, 5.03 ERA), John Maine (7-6, 4.43 ERA), and Oliver Perez (3-4, 6.82 ERA).
In the bullpen, Kelvim Escobar has not pitched on a regular basis in two years, but the Mets signed him in the off-season to help.
Francisco Rodriguez’s ERA jumped up an entire point in his first season with the Mets in 2009, but he still managed 35 saves. Despite the slumping season last year, he is still one of the elite closers in the game, for now.
Season Outlook: The Mets are the traveling M*A*S*H unit of the NL entering 2010. Injuries in the field and at pitcher could make this a long season in Queens.
The Mets’ two biggest pitching prospects, Jenrry Mejia and Jon Niese, both have injury concerns of their own. It’s becoming apparent the freewheeling spending habits of GM Omar Minaya will not pay dividends, and 2010 could be his last with the organization.
If the Mets are able to remain healthy somehow, they have enough talent to challenge the Phillies in the division. They would have to play out of their minds to do that, though.
Projected 2010 finish: 3rd place NL East