Posted by Daniel Kahaner on February 21st, 2012
In 2006, the future of the New York Mets seemed to be bright. But after 2 consecutive seasons of relinquishing the division lead at the end of the season, followed by a year plagued by injury in 2009, the Mets hopes of winning have dimmed dramatically.
The Wilpons finally cut GM Omar Minaya loose after the 2010 season, and brought in Sandy Alderson, whose resume is quite impressive from his time in Oakland. But the Mets only made small moves in 2011, and the team finished below .500 yet again.
This past offseason, Mets fans’ worst nightmare came true. Jose Reyes signed with the Marlins as a free agent, bringing to an end the idea of he and David Wright leading the Mets to a World Series. Although this was a devastating loss, one can’t help but understand Alderson’s reasons for not resigning the star shortstop. The team is in massive debt, and even with Reyes on the roster, the Mets still could not find a way into the playoffs for four consecutive seasons.
Now that the dust has settled, it is time for the Mets to look to the future. 2012 could be a surprising season in Flushing, as the starting rotation appears to be pretty solid heading into spring training. Coupled with some big bats in the lineup and some new arms in the bullpen, the Mets could have the potential to make some noise this season.
The acquisition of Frank Francisco as the new closer was a huge move, and the rest of the bullpen is relatively set, with arms like Jon Rauch, Tim Byrdak, Ramon Ramirez, Bobby Parnell, and Jason Isringhausen. This group could provide the Mets with some much needed help late in games, a problem that has plagued the team over the past 4 years.
The starting rotation is shaping up to look like one that could contend. With Johan Santana returning from an injury that kept him out for all of 2011, the rotation immediately gets an injection of talent. Behind Santana, the Mets will start Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, R.A. Dickey, and Dillon Gee, all of whom now have significant tenures in the major leagues, and could certainly pitch the Mets to a solid number of victories this year.
But they won’t be able to do so without run support. This is the biggest question for the Mets entering 2012. Will they be able to score? Moving the fences in at Citi Field will help, but it will also help the opposition, so what should we expect to see? The answer is unclear, but the offense currently on the roster certainly has potential to score.
Andres Torres most likely will lead off, replacing Jose Reyes in the order and Angel Pagan in center field. Torres is a fast runner who can get on base consistently. David Wright should be back to his old self once again, and we can expect him to hit at least 30 home runs with 100 RBIs. The question marks lie behind him in the batting order, however. Young first baseman Ike Davis is coming off an injury, but his power certainly should not be overlooked. The man has put several balls onto Shea Bridge in right center field, and will only get better with experience. If he can hit well in the cleanup spot, it should give Wright some pitches to hit.
Behind Davis, the struggling Jason Bay will need to find his offense again in order for the team to be successful. If he can regain even close to the production that we saw during his time in Boston, the Mets could have the opportunity to sport quite a dangerous hitting attack.
At the end of the day though, they are still the Mets. They still have many pieces to add in order to fill out the lineup, but the farm system looks promising and the future may not be as dim as many fans once thought.