OK I get it fellow Mets fans. Our season is done and it is highly disappointing. We want Jerry Manuel fired, we want Omar Minaya fired, we want Fred Wilpon to sell the team, K-Rod get more punchouts in the family room than on the mound etc. Never has there been darker days for Mets fans, at least if you read the papers and listened to the sports talk radio stations you would think so.
But seriously it's time to get a grip. The Mets are on pace to win 81 games this year which would put them right at .500 baseball. Yes I know a 130 million dollar team should play better than .500 but just remember last year we won only 70 games.
Honestly I feel a million times better as a Mets fan than I did last year at this same time. I thought I had the next five years of looking at Daniel Murphy at first base ahead of me. Murphy is a decent ballplayer but come on he's a better fit for AAA Buffalo Bisons than the Mets.
I am actually excited to be a Mets fan for the first time since 2007. We actually have a team filled with young homegrown players who are only going to get better. So lets peer into the crystal ball of 2011 and I will tell you why you as a Mets fan should stop throwing rocks at the bandwagon and jump back on it.
Reason #1: The hitting won't be as bad.
Yes our bats have killed us, especially in the second half of the season, but really there is no way they can do anything but improve in 2011. Carlos Beltran is going to have the benefit from having a full spring training to get sharp and he will return to hitting the ball like he did earlier in his career rather than looking lost at the plate like he has since coming off the DL.
Speaking of looking lost at the plate, Jason Bay has to figure to hit closer to his career averages than what he has done this year. I think we are starting to learn a pattern of power hitters struggling to adjust to the cavernous Citi Field in their first year at the park. David Wright's much improved 2010 at the plate should give us hope for a return to form for Jason Bay.
Guys like Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, and Chris Carter will also have benefitted from the major league experience they have gotten this year and all should make varying amounts of progress next year but progress nonetheless. The bench should be solidified with a full year of Carter, F-Mart, and hopefully Rod Barajas. Not to mention a defined role for Angel Pagan should help him continue his 2010 success.
Just the overall improvement from batter to batter will lead to an increase in scoring and lot less stressful innings for the pitching staff. Less easy outs means more knocked out starting pitchers for the opposition and the opportunity to feast on subpar bullpens. No matter how you dice it the Mets are going to be a better offensive team in 2010.
Reason #2: The pitching is actually good.
Admit it, the pitching has been way better than anyone anticipated this year, including me, and there is no reason to expect a significant fall off in 2011. Any regression that Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey may make should be more than made up for by the continuing improvement of Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese. Thats four solid options in the rotation just to begin with.
Now I do think the Mets have to, and will, target a starting pitcher this offseason. No we won't get Cliff Lee but a Ted Lilly, Jeff Suppan or a Jake Westbrook is attainable. That would round out a great starting five with insurance options like Takahashi out of the bullpen or Pat Misch who might push for a starting rotation spot next spring training anyway.
The bullpen is where we need the most work, but with Takahashi sliding back to the bullpen and with a couple offseaon moves i.e. resigning Pedro Feliciano, signing a Scott Downs, Scot Shields or a Jason Frasor can make this unit at least a competent one.
K-Rod is still an above average closer, but with his history of off the field incidents and knowing he can explode at anytime I think the best offseason move the Mets can make is to start grooming Jennry Mejia to be the closer. His stuff is electric, he has the right aggressive attitude. Start him out as the 8th inning guy and eventually turn the keys over to him.
Reason #3: Ya Gotta Believe!
Come on Mets fans. Enough of the negativity. We have a great core of young players, most of our bad contracts are almost up. We have the money to spend to get a player or two and we have several up and coming minor leaguers who can be used as trade bait or developed into Major League players within the next two years.
In the pecking order of the MLB we don't look so bad, try being a Royals fan or a Pirates fan. At the end of the day being a true fan is sticking with and supporting the team through thick and thin. That what makes the winning so special and what makes you feel more a part of it when it happens. There is light at the end of the tunnel Mets fans and we more than halfway through the tunnel.