As the Mets made the final out and the game was over. I was in disbelief that the season was over. The Mets did have a admirable year considering the cards dealt to them.
They fired the Manager Willie Randolph who took great criticism and replaced him with a gangsta, named Jerry Manuel (his bench coach). Jerry was very funny and candid, he did a great job. The Mets went 55-38 under the interim manager..
They did not have Moises Alou all year nor did they have Ryan Church, but they found success in players like Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans who filled in nicely which kept them moving in the right place. The offense did not function all the time but they found there grooves. Carlos Delgado can consider himself the NL Comeback player of the Year with the second half he had. David Wright, Mr. Consistancy had a career year in HR's and RBI's but sputtered late in the season to find the big hits. Carlos Beltran had another 20+ HR year with 100+ RBI's in a year with nagging injuries all year long. Jose Reyes led the NL in hits, even though his stolen base numbers were down, he had a great year! Luis Castillo could not find himself at all this year due to injuries...The Brian Schneider/Ramon Castro project worked well when healthy, but when they were not healthy they had to resort to Robinson Cancel.
The Starting Pitching:
The starting pitching who was lead by Johan Santana, who should of had more wins than 16 because the bullpen let him down. John Maine was hurt in the latter part of the season, but pitched decent enough in the earlier part of the year. Mike Pelfrey became a reliable option and matured under Dan Warthen. Oliver Perez had a typical Jeckle and Hyde season, some good starts and some bad starts..Pedro Martinez tried to come back from all his previous injuries but he did not have the killer instinct or quality pitches to succeed in 2008.
The bullpen was shot down by the absence of Billy Wagner and had to resort to Luis Ayala who was a late pickup. He did what he can do, but he was not serious closer material. Aaron Heilman looked like a overused wash rag this year. He did not pitch up to his capability. Duaner Sanchez tried to come back from a unusual surgery, but he did not provide us with what he once had. Scott Schoeneweiss had a decent year, but he also had moments of displeasure. Joe Smith was a reliable righthanded sidearmer that will get better with age.. Pedro Feliciano had his ups and downs as well...
Believe it or not this team was a 89 Win team, with all there problems they lacked one game to get in the playoffs. Even though I did not think much of this team because of the problems, I still wanted them to get in. The failures that lagged them last year and this year, will also be with them next year as well.
How do we fix it:
I believe the Mets are on the right path, they have to build on some of the players that they have and bring in new ones to replace the older and injured crop from this year! There will be no Pedro next year, No Moises next year, no Castillo next year! In my mind they have to keep Oliver Perez, he is only 26 and will get better. They have to find somewhere to ship Aaron Heilman, because his welcome has become outdated. The bullpen has to be revamped and the Mets have to find a reliable closer. K-Rod will be the easy choice, but Brian Fuentes is not to shabby....
If you look on paper this team had success when the offense did, but you can't go score 10 runs everynight. Pitching is key and it will win championships everytime...
Even though the game did not meet our needs and wants as Mets fans, there still was a closing ceremony at Shea. The names from 1969, 1973, and 1986 teams were there and many others. Yes, Dwight Gooden was even there.. It was a very good and emotional day for me to see some of the players I loved to watch as a kid. Who could forget Tom Seaver throwing the final Pitch at Shea Stadium to Mike Piazza, that was classic (even though it was a 55 footer). They walked to center field together, two Hall of Famers (One current and one future) and they closed the centerfield gates of Shea forever... Bring on Citi-Field!