New York Mets: Are Post-Reyes Mets Good Enough to Compete in Tough NL East?

Billy DunnContributor IFebruary 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Jose Reyes #7 to acknowledges waiting fans after the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on September 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Reyes is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Reyes also ended the game with a narrow lead for the National League batting title.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The question is simple for the 2012 New York Mets. Are they good enough to compete in the tremendously tough NL East?

That answer is obviously no.

Losing All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes in the offseason to the division-rival Miami Marlins really closed the window on any hope of the Mets having a shot to compete this season.

Even with Reyes, the Mets only finished 77-85 last season, escaping last place by five games. 

Reyes was probably the most dynamic player on the Mets roster last season. The reigning NL Batting Champion batted .337 with a league-leading 16 triples and scored 101 runs. He was the catalyst every team dreams of having.

His leadoff spot will most likely be occupied by newcomer Andres Torres. 

When healthy, Reyes is one of the best shortstops in the game. Losing him will leave a huge hole in the Mets' everyday lineup. Although Ruben Tejada possesses skill, especially with the glove, he is nowhere near the same category as Reyes. 

As for the rest of the team, there are question marks up and down.

The biggest issue for the season will be to see if the Mets will trade 3B David Wright, and if not, how will he play?

With the fences being moved in at Citi Field, it will be interesting to see if Wright will regain his power stroke.

The most important key to Wright regaining his All-Star form, however, will be his strikeout total. Over the past three seasons, Wright has amassed 398 strikeouts in only 403 games. This stat is very concerning. He has also seen his average in the past three seasons dip from .307 down to a dismal .254.

The pitching staff also has its question marks, from the ace down through to the closer. Johan Santana will probably never regain his ace form, and the rest of the starting rotation is mediocre. 

The bullpen should be improved, with the additions of Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch, both of whom should provide solid innings in relief. The new closer brought in by the Mets, Frank Francisco, should be a solid addition, as he saved 17 games in about half of a season's work.

Another issue the team has is the health of 1B Ike Davis. Davis has 30-40 home run potential, and he was on pace for that range before an ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. Will he come back in top form, or will he struggle re-adjusting to playing everyday? 

In the end, the Mets have a nice young team; however, when you look at the rest of the teams in the division, it is hard to see them even having a chance to compete. The Phillies and Braves will both be back to playoff contention, as well as the improved Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals. Each team has made the necessary moves to keep the team in contention, but the Mets have not.

Expect to see many youngsters, such as Matt Harvey, get called up during the season, as it is clear the Mets are in rebuilding mode, and this is a great time for their prospects to gain valuable experience. 

Although the Mets do have a young team with a great manager, they will not be able to match the firepower displayed in the rest of the NL East.