Honestly, I think the Mets have improved greatly over what they were last year. I'm going to explain pitching, hitting, and fielding reasons why they are better or just as good as they were last year.
To be honest, the offense isn't that bad. I mean sure Manny would be nice, but I don't really think it's that bad. I mean sure Carlos Delgado is not going to have the second half he had last year, and Fernando Tatis is not going to be the Tatis of last year, but come on—we still have a good Delgado, an excellent David Wright, and a good Carlos Beltran.
Honestly, I think right now the Phillies haven't improved that much at all. Raul Ibanez can only do probably less than what Pat Burrell did for them last year hitting 33 homers. And IF Utley comes back on opening day, it will be the same; otherwise less. The Mets offense I see as really better, I'm sorry to say, health-wise and everything.
The Mets I feel overcame their biggest obstacle in the offseason, which was fixing the pen. If you guys remember, the Mets bullpen blew about 30 games last year. Thirty games. If they had not blown six of those games, they probably would've won the Division.
Seriously, our pen was probably the third worst in the National League, just above the Cardinals and the Giants. K-Rod will be like Billy Wagner in '06, and J.J. Putz will be an excellent setup man.
As far as their rotation, I think it has slightly improved. First, the Mets have John Maine healthy and ready to go. Then the Mets have Tim Redding, who isn't amazing but can shut down Philadelphia. I'd take him as a fifth starter. Then the Mets have Ollie, who they just signed back, and who I personally feel can be consistent this year. So I can see the Mets having a solid rotation this year.
Sure we lost Endy Chavez, but that's why the Mets signed Cory Sullivan, a former Rocky. Ryan Church is outstanding in right field, and he can absolutely play a great role in the outfield. Brian Schneider is great behind the plate blocking passed balls and getting runners out. Jose Reyes will mature with the help of Alex Cora, and the Mets pretty much a have a stellar defense. Don't forget Wright and Beltran.