New York Mets Season Preview
The last two years, the bullpen has cost the Mets a shot at the postseason. Omar Minaya has made sure that won't happen again.
Offseason free-agent signing Francisco Rodriguez lead the Major League in saves last year with a record breaking 62. He will inherit the closer's role that was left vacant with Billy Wagner set to miss most if not all of the year.
The Mets also acquired J.J. Putz from Seattle to be the main bridge to Rodriguez. Putz had 40 saves with a 1.38 ERA two years ago before appearing in just 47 games last year due to injuries.
Also coming over from Seattle in the Putz trade was right-hander Sean Green. In 160 career games over three Major League seasons, all with Seattle, Green has a 4.32 ERA to go with nine wins and one save.
The rest of the bullpen will most likely consist of Brian Stokes, Darren O'Day, Bobby Parnell, and the lone left hander Pedro Feliciano.
The lineup looks to be mostly unchanged from last year. Manager Jerry Manuel has said he will consider changing the batting order around to avoid stacking left handed batters by batting Daniel Murphy second.
As for the rotation, the only sure thing seems to be Santana. Pelfrey showed signs that he may have finally developed into the pitcher he was projected to be, but still has a lot to prove.
Oliver Perez has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career and can dominate one game and walk the ballpark the next.
John Maine had an injury plagued 2008 season and when he was healthy he didn't display command of his pitches. If the Mets hope to play into October in 2009, Maine needs to throw more innings.
The fifth spot in the rotation looks to be Livan Hernandez's. Last year between Minnesota and Colorado, Hernandez had an ERA of 6.05. His 180 innings last year was the first time since 1999 he failed to reach the 200 inning mark.
If nothing else, Hernandez will eat innings for this team.
PROSPECT WATCH: Top pitching prospect Jon Niese will start the year in AAA Buffalo after failing to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
Outfielder Fernando Martinez will start at AA Binghamton where the 20 year old hit .287 with eight home runs and 43 RBI last year.
One prospect who is gaining a lot of attention is infielder Reese Havens, a 2008 first round pick out of the University of South Carolina. He hit just .247 last year for Brooklyn but has turned some heads with his defensive play this spring.
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