Growing up, Gary Carter was always my favorite New York Met and one of the first athletes I ever looked at as a role model. Tragically, Carter lost his battle with cancer last week and passed away.
While that's the worst thing that's going to happen this year to me regarding the Mets, I feel like it's not the last thing that’s depressing involving this year’s team that will take place.
New York is in shambles and they are still reeling from the impact that the Bernie Madoff scandal has had on its ownership. The Mets ownership has no money, relying on a series of loans, restructuring plans and even minority stake sales to prevent a takeover.
The financial woes have had an impact on the team New York is putting on the field and they are clearly slipping behind the rest of their division.
Heading into this season, New York is not better at any position on the field, save, perhaps, their bullpen. They will again roll through the season spending more time trying to figure out if any of their young players can actually perform at this level and trying to find cheap, stopgap solutions to problems that arise.
Both the ownership and the front office are engaged in a shell game with this team. For the money managers, it is all about finding the loot to keep the lights on. For the front office, it is all about shuffling mediocre players around and trying to find a combination that can create a spark.
And changes to the roster (including the loss of Jose Reyes), their stadium and even their uniforms all have the Mets feeling more like a small market team even though they play in the largest market in the country.
It looks like it will be a long season in Flushing.
With that in mind, here is Doc’s Sports New York Mets 2012 MLB Season Preview:
2011 Record: 77-85
2012 Wins Over/Under: 74.5
Odds To Win 2012 NL East: 90/1
Odds To Win 2012 NL Pennant: 40/1
Odds To Win 2012 World Series: 75/1
The big news this year is the potential return of Johan Santana to the Mets starting rotation. He has been out since fall of 2010, but all reports are that his shoulder is healthy and ready to go. Until he proves he can hold up for a few months, his status is uncertain in my eyes.
Behind him is a litany of mediocre, inconsistent arms that will try to cobble together a rotation.
R.A. Dickey was New York’s surprise ace with a 3.28 ERA. But the knuckleballer is a weak No. 2 starter.
Dillon Gee went 13-6 but had a 4.43 ERA, and Mike “Pinata” Pelfrey had another poor season.
Jon Niese gives the Mets another lefty and has had moments. But he has been just a .500 pitcher with a 4.39 ERA and has a relatively low upside.
New York’s bullpen completely unraveled after a midseason fire sale that included overrated Francisco Rodriguez. But the limited resources the Mets have were put to use shoring up the pen this offseason. They signed Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco and traded for Ramon Ramirez.
Some holdovers could prove useful and this group could become a strength after last year’s bullpen finished No. 28 in the league in ERA.
The biggest boost for the Mets offense this year came via construction contractors. Mets brass decided to move in the fences at Citi Field by as much as 18 feet in the power alleys, and they are hoping the new dimensions will lead to a boost in offense. It can’t hurt.
And looking at the Mets lineup, they need all the help they can get.
David Wright is coming off an injury-riddled season—his worst as a pro—and will be looking to regain his All-Star form amidst rumors of a potential trade.
New York is hoping to salvage anything from massive free agent bust Jason Bay. And a crucial element will be if Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis can return from injuries. They combined to play just 145 games and contributed just 520 at-bats last year.
New York needs everyone to step their game up if they want to replace departed Jose Reyes, who was the lone offensive bright spot last year. Their bench will be one of the worst in baseball.
2012 New York Mets Predictions
The Mets have finished in fourth place for three straight years. And they aren’t any better this time around.
Things are just drab and bleak in this franchise right now and I definitely do not see them surpassing last year’s 77 victories. New York can always be feisty as an underdog and they should embrace low expectations. But they just don’t have the tools to compete in a loaded East.
I think this team will hold its own against teams from the Central and West. But they will get worn down by their rivals and should be headed for the cellar.
2012 O/U Wins Prediction: ‘Under’ 74.5
I am entering the season assuming that the Mets are going to be the worst team in the division. The fifth-place team in the National League East hasn’t topped 72 wins over the last six seasons and the worst team in this division has averaged just 68.3 wins over the last decade.
The Mets will be competitive at times and they won’t be as weak as some of the Nationals and Marlins teams have been over the last few years. But they aren’t good. And I don’t see them topping this total. Let’s give them a 72-90 season and a tight under.
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