As if the winter could get any colder.
The Mets will enter the offseason and free agency period with their two biggest rivals, the Yankees and the Phillies, sitting atop the baseball universe. The Phillies clinched their second straight National League pennant on Wednesday, defeating the Dodgers in the NLCS in five games. The Yankees were able to clinch their first American League pennant since 2003 last night, defeating the Angels 5-2 to take the series in six games.
Meanwhile, all the Mets can do is watch.
They'll watch as one of there most bitter rivals wins the ultimate prize in Major League Baseball. Watch as either the Phillies win their second straight championship (meaning you can start that dynasty talk, especially since their core is so young), or the Yankees win their second of the decade, and first since beating the Mets in the 2000 World Series, giving ultimate bragging rights to the Bronx.
They'll watch a team in the Phillies that the Mets made a powerhouse due to the 2007 collapse thrive. They'll watch a team in the Yankees, who bought several free agents the Mets could have gone after, heading to the Series with a full roster of players the Mets wish they had.
The pain of watching rivals succeed is multiplied by the fact the Metropolitans haven't won a division in three years, a league pennant in nine years, and a World Series in 23 years.
The most exciting thing that awaits the Mets, rather than the first game of the World Series on Wednesday night, is the free agency period. The Mets are looking for a big bat for left field, and Jason Bay, or Matt Holliday would both be good fits. It's been reported by various sources that Holliday would like to play in New York, and luckily for the Mets, the Yankees don't seem to have anywhere to put him. The Mets may be the early front-runner in the Holliday sweepstakes. And even if the Mets can't land him, Jason Bay isn't a bad consolation prize.
Along with the offense, the starting pitching must be upgraded. There are several options such as John Lackey and Randy Wolf the Mets would be wise to look at. Any No. 2 starter such as Lackey, or Wolf pushes everyone besides Johan back a spot in the rotation, making it look more solid.
Just as well, the 2010 season awaits the Mets. Hopefully, as Jerry Manuel said, this terrible 2009 campaign built up some equity towards the Mets fortunes in the future. Going into 2010, the Mets will be severely under-looked, and that may be a good thing. Going into 2009, the thought was the Mets would overtake the Phillies in the NL East, and go on to win the World Series (at least according to Sports Illustrated). It's been discussed that maybe that pressure was too much for the Mets to handle.
Next season, the Mets won't have to worry about that. Barring any unforeseen events, injuries, or trades, the Phillies and Yankees will be No. 1 and No. 2 in the league next year, hands down. And the Mets can't say a word. They can't say a word until there is another division, league, or World Series championship banner hanging up on that left field wall.
Which might be good, because talking hasn't helped them at all the past few seasons.
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