After the debacle that was the 2007 and 2008 Mets seasons, 2009 offers hope for Mets fans. In this article we examine the Top Five Questions that face the New York Mets for this upcoming 2009 Season. We will look at everything from the lineup to the bullpen and everything in between, so here we go and remember: Let's Go Mets!
We all know that the Mets have Santana, Maine, Pelfrey, and now Perez to fill out the first four spots in the rotation. However, we can not be sure how John Maine will pitch coming off an injury; and while Mike Pelfrey pitched extremely well last season, it is still unclear if he is a bonafied number two or three starter. That being said, General Manager Omar Minya actually did a good job with the rotation by bringing in options Freddy Garcia, rookie Jonathan Niese, and Tim Redding. Between the three of these pitchers, the Mets have options and depth.
We all saw what can happen when injuries plague a team. Will Luis Castillo stay healthy long enough to play as well as he wants to? Can Duaner Sanchez and J.J. Putz put their past injuries behind them? Will Jose Reyes again steal a few less bases in order to stay fresh in August and September? As Mets fans we can only hope that if an injury sidelines a major player this season (knock on wood it doesn’t), the Mets can find an in-house replacement.
The acquisitions of Francisco Rodriquez and J.J. Putz have changed the face of the Mets bullpen to one of the top in the league, but it is still contingent upon a number of things. First, the health of Duaner Sanchez and J.J. Putz. Sanchez has never really seemed right since his return from injury, and Putz is coming off an injury plagued season, so one can only hope that both regain their full form. Next, the “addition by subtraction” of Scott Schowenwies in the trade with Arizona. While I was never a fan of Schowenwies when he first came to the Mets, his absence has left a void in the left handed pitching category as all that’s left is Pedro Feliciano. This will force Manuel to be much more conservative with Pedro unless the Mets get another lefty reliever (not taking into account some of the starter turned reliever options).
By examining the moves made by the other teams in the division, we see some good moves, but not necessarily over the top moves so lets get started. The World Champion Phillies; wow, is that a horrid thought or what? That being said, the bulk of their moves involved signing Raul Ibanez in favor of Pat Burrell, which if anything is good news for the Mets to see Pat go. Signing Hamels to a three-year deal was very important for them and they are working with Howard. Remember the Phillies bullpen will be without J.C. Romero for 50 games and that will hurt them. The Marlins traded away Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs, essentially destroying all hope of an offense besides Hanley Ramirez. They also lost Kevin Gregg to the Cubs. That being said, their starting rotation (assuming everyone stays healthy) will be fairly decent. The Nationals traded for Willingham but will not be a threat in the division. Finally, the Braves, who essentially stole Derek Lowe from the Mets by swooping in (although it can really be blamed on the Mets front office for waiting too long). Atlanta is looking good...if they had a true ace, a power bat who wasn’t as old as Chipper Jones, and a closer, but they’ll be fine. Look, the Mets will have competition from the Phillies and Braves, but assuming the Mets can stay healthy, and perhaps sign Manny, there is no doubt the Mets can win the division!
The Mets offense as a whole is certainly a viable one in Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Delgado, Schneider, and Church. However, both left field and second base are questionable at best, despite Mets brass consistently stating they are good to go. Luis Castillo is for lack of a better term, garbage, and although he is truly excited about playing and wants to play well, it just doesn’t seem as if he will be able to play everyday effectively. Most Mets fans can agree they would like Orlando Hudson, and if the Dodgers decide not to pursue him and his asking price drops to around $4 million a year, maybe the Mets would consider offering Hudson a contract (if they are willing to simply eat Castillo’s contract). Note, Mets fans, how there are a lot of "Ifs". This is because there are many, many obstacles facing the Mets in order to accomplish all of this. Now lets look at left field; anyone hear Manny Ramirez??? Look, we all want Manny to come to the Mets, we know what he is capable of doing, and with his most recent rejection to the Dodgers, perhaps the Mets are making an under the radar offer to him. The entire face of the lineup changes with the addition of Manny because not only is he incredible, but he makes everyone else around him better. Now, I personally like the idea of a platoon in Tatis and Murphy, but neither of them is going to put up anywhere near the kind of production that Manny can. With pitchers and catchers reporting in only a week and a half, we’ll see what Manny decides to do.