Mets 2010 Opening Day Preview of Offense

The New York Mets Jason Bay at Citi Field in New York

When the Mets put up 9 hits and 7 runs on Josh Johnson and the Marlins on opening day, I wasn’t really surprised. This is a team that can hit. Even the injury depleted 2009 team led the league with a .270 average. And the addition of Jason Bay makes this a much better offensive team.

Many of us were surprised that the Mets didn’t do anything to improve the pitching staff during the offseason. That includes me. I didn’t think the Mets would go crazy and sign John Lackey, but I did think they would bring in someone consistent like Jon Garland. When Randy Wolf got his ridiculous 3-year/$29.75 million deal, I knew the Mets wouldn’t be in the market for a pitcher with any kind of track record of success.

I had an email exchange with my friend, and frequent commenter, TD about this during the game on Monday. From TD:

I have no worries about them beating the ball to a pulp.  That’s a nice offense, even with Reyes and Beltran out.

Shoot, I don’t think they’ll even miss Beltran. If you set up the lineup properly, Even Matthews JR can be an above average good hitter.  He’ll see a lot of fastballs!

Continue reading “Mets 2010 Opening Day Preview of Offense”

Mets 2010 Stars Already Aligned

Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets at Citi Field in New York

I’ve been disappointed that the Mets didn’t do more to shore up the pitching rotation this offseason. I’m also surprised that they didn’t attempt an upgrade, even incremental, at first base. The more that I thought about it, after John Lackey, Matt Holliday, and Jason Bay signed their free agent deals there wasn’t anybody left on the market that I’d consider a “difference maker”. Sure, there were, and still are, some players that would be solid peripheral players for the Mets. But the 2010 season doesn’t hinge on any free agent that’s been available since Holliday signed with the Cardinals.

The 2010 season does depend on Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Bay. They’re the ones that are going to carry this team. I know it’s a long season and everyone needs to make a contribution at some point. But there’s a big difference between making an impact and making a contribution.

Continue reading “Mets 2010 Stars Already Aligned”

Video: Johan Santana throws in Port St. Lucie

Here’s some video from ESPN of Johan Santana throwing off the mound for the first time since his elbow surgery in September. With Ben Sheets and Jon Garland going off the market today, the Mets need a healthy Santana more than ever.

Mets 2008 Off-Season Needs: Starting Pitching

You probably thought my next off-season needs post would be the bullpen. Yes, that post is coming soon. It’s almost too much to think about though. So for now, let’s talk about the starting pitching situation.

Returning starters Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine will be in the rotation. Santana is a shut-down ace and really requires no further discussion. He’ll be starting on opening day in Cincinnati, period. Pelfrey had a break out season in 2008 and should be the #2 behind Santana. He seemed to run out of gas a bit in September but really found himself in May.

John Maine is coming off shoulder surgery to address a bone spur. He’s cleared to start throwing again in December and should be fine for spring training. I really thought he was going to have a break out season after being nearly unhittable in spring training. But the injuries really damaged his season.

Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez will both be free agents after the World Series ends. I don’t expect to see Pedro back again. And Ollie will probably get a better offer than he’s worth from someone other than the Mets. If Omar Minaya can make a decent deal with Ollie and Scott Boras (doubtful) in the neighborhood of 3-years/$27 million, he should take it. But I think some team out there will go to four or five years for Ollie because he’s only going to be 27 years old during the 2009 season.

That leaves two openings to be filled in the rotation. Expect Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell to get a shot to compete for one of those spots in spring training. One of those two promising minor leaguers should get a chance to occupy the #5 spot in the rotation.

The Mets will probably look to fill a #4 spot from free agency and take a chance on a “project” starter as insurance in case Niese and Parnell aren’t ready for the majors yet. You can see the complete list of starters that will be free agents next month at MLB Trade Rumors. Beyond CC Sabathia (17-10 2.70) and Ben Sheets (13-9 3.09), the list isn’t really that impressive. Don’t expect the Mets to splurge on another ace like those two. They got Johan Santana last off-season. So I don’t see the Mets making another huge financial commitment to a starter.

A.J. Burnett (18-10 4.07) will probably opt out of his Blue Jays contract. But he’ll be looking for a long-term deal and I don’t expect the Mets to get into a 4+ year deal with any pitchers at this point.

There are several guys that could fit nicely into the middle of the rotation like Derek Lowe (14-11 3.24). Despite the rumors that he doesn’t want to be on the east coast again, he’ll go where the money is. He’ll be 36 years old next season but he could certainly fill the spot in the middle of the rotation. Jon Garland (14-8 4.90) and Ryan Dempster (17-6 4.51) are certainly worth talking to about a three year contract as well.

The “project” pitcher that the Mets pick up on a one-year deal could be anyone from Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Carl Pavano, Matt Clement, or Sidney Ponson. The tricky part will be finding a pitcher that will agree to a minor league contract so the Mets can give Parnell and Niese a legitimate shot at the fifth spot in the rotation. Colon and Clement seem the most likely candidates to agree to start the season in the minors.

Even with Pedro and Ollie probably leaving there are plenty of free agent options available this off-season. I certainly wouldn’t like to see the Mets get into a contract longer than three years for a middle of the rotation starter. That should be the key criteria, even if the contract has to get into the $33 million plus range. Gil Meche and Ted Lilly both got five year deals, so that throws off the market. But the Mets really need to keep their contracts to as short a term as possible.

Add a comment below with your thoughts.

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