The 2009 New York Mets: Bigger and Better? Or Changed With The Same Result?
It's now been three years in a row that the Mets have blown their chance to do something big, and been marked chokers, under-performers, or whatever other insult the media can dig up.
After the 2006 NLCS, Mets fans were happy with the big improvement from the last five years, but disappointed knowing that the Mets had the series won easily and blew pretty much every game they lost. However, both the Mets and their fans had high hopes going into 2007.
In 2007, more big players came in, and the Mets were once again, identically like the year before, predicted to win the World Series. Once again, the Mets blew a season in which they should have gone far. Mets fans were starting to lose hope—The old players who had done well in 2006 were fading away because of old age, and the young players were getting older.
The Mets had a seven game lead in the National League East division, and ended up blowing the lead on the final game, with their "ace" going less than an inning and knocking the Mets out of the playoffs before the second inning.
In 2008, Omar Minaya and the New York Mets made an explosive move, signing Johan Santana. Finally, this was the year to get excited about. Mets fans were positive this year was destiny. However, the Mets got off to a rocky and vigorous start, and halfway through the year, were under .500. Willie Randolph was fired.
Interim manager Jerry Manuel came in from the fiery bench coach to the pugnacious and aggressive manager that was going to put the Mets back in to place. It happened, and the Mets found themselves with a lead in the NL East going in to the final week. Once again, the Mets let their fans down.
Again, for the second year in a row, the final game was the game that would decide the season, and again, it was to be played against the Marlins—the team that loved to hurt the Mets.
The Mets came out and threw Oliver Perez, who was brilliant for his whole start. Then, it came to the bullpen. Joe Smith, Scott Schoenweis, and Luis Ayala all gave up runs that eventually blew it for the Mets. Just like that, the season was over.
Now, Mets fans are calling for change. The Mets need to get rid of their old players, and sign some big players. Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel just both recently got contract extensions, and Carlos Delgado is near signing. The two New York teams are in a bidding war for CC Sabathia, and many other big name players, such as Francisco Rodriguez are in the mix.
Here is an ultimate 2009 Mets Opening Day Team:
C - Brian Schneider - Although he didn't have the best year this year, I'm confident he'll have a good bounce back season. He is also a great defensive catcher and that's mostly what teams should look at for catchers.
1B - Carlos Delgado - It's impossible to not want Delgado back after this season. He was great in the clutch, got the whole crowd going, and got an MVP chant after every home run all of September. Unless there is something the Mets see in him that shows he won't have a good season next year, I don't see why not.
2B - Daniel Murphy - Murphy showed this year as a rookie that he can do anything at anytime. He ended the year hitting over .300, and was one of the few young players who had clutch hits every opportunity. He's been an infielder his whole life, so putting him at second base wouldn't be a hard adjustment for him.
3B - David Wright - Call him a choker, a loser, whatever you want. David Wright is a great baseball player and the face of the New York Mets no matter what. He puts up great numbers every year, and is still young—he will, I guarantee you, become a clutch player in September and October.
SS - Jose Reyes - Although he is sometimes annoying, very immature, and quiet in September, he's an incredible ballplayer. He will not be leaving New York anytime soon.
LF - Eric Byrnes - After a bad performance in 2008, Byrnes is on the Diamondbacks trading block because Arizona wants to lower their salary. It's already been rumored that they'd be interested in Castillo for Byrnes, which in my opinion would be a steal of a trade for the Mets. He'd be a perfect fit in New York, and a key asset for our team.
CF - Carlos Beltran - He may be quiet and have a lack of leadership, but he had many clutch hits for the Mets in 2008 and is one of the best fielding outfielders in baseball. It would be a horrible mistake not to bring him back.
RF - Fernando Martinez - The biggest prospect for the New York Mets should be ready to help open up Citi Field for the New York Mets in 2009. He has been well groomed in the minors, and has all the talents to be a star in the big leagues.
Infielder - Ramon Martinez - Ramon earned himself a spot on the roster in September of 2008, providing a clutch hit almost every time he came up to bat. Although he is old, he is a good bat to have.
Infielder/Outfielder - Fernando Tatis - Fernando Tatis surprised pretty much everyone and was one of the most clutch players in baseball until he got hurt. He hadn't played in almost 10 years, but decided to make a comeback, and make the best of it.
If he decides to come back, he'll be a great player on the Mets bench, and someone who will hit eighth and nineth inning pinch hit home runs. Also, he will be a good player to have just in case Fernando Martinez doesn't work out.
Backup Catcher - Ramon Castro - Castro will have another Ramon Castro year—he'll hit .250 - .270, get five to 10 monster home runs, and have a few injuries throughout the year. However, he's a great backup catcher, and could be starting on many Major League teams.
Outfielder - Endy Chavez - Chavez has had two of the best catches in Mets history, and despite a lack of a great bat, is a Met who will always be remembered as a great.
Infielder/Outfielder - Nick Evans - Evans had a pretty solid 2008 season, and unless he does not produce, should be on the team the whole 2009 season.
1. Johan Santana - Santana was absolutely incredible for the Mets. He did everything he could to get the Mets into the playoffs, and even played through an injury that nobody knew about. He would have had at least 20 wins if the Mets bullpen hadn't blown so many games of his, and will definitely be the number one pitcher next year, even if CC Sabathia is signed.
2. CC Sabathia - This guy is in every single Mets fan's dreams. The idea of having him as the second guy in a rotation gives every Mets fan the chills. If he could be the second guy in the rotation, and have a season like he had this year, the Mets could be World Series contenders.
3. John Maine - Ever since he came to the Mets in the Kris Benson trade, he's been a dominant and clutch pitcher. He'll be back in 2009, hopefully injury-free.
4. Derek Lowe - A clutch and winning pitcher, if the Mets could sign him, they would definitely be solidifying the pitching rotation.
5. Mike Pelfrey- After an awful 2007 season, Pelfrey finally proved Mets fans that he can be a great pitcher in the major leagues. Having him as the No.5 starter would make the Mets pitching rotation incredible. Although a lot of Mets fans would miss Oliver Perez, Pelfrey is more consistent, and more valuable at this point than Perez, who will be asking for way too much money this off season.
Closer- Brian Fuentes - Another Free Agent this season, having him as a setup man would make the bullpen incredible. He's a great reliever, and could close if anything happened to Rodriguez.
Middle Relief - Brian Stokes - Stokes was great in relief this season for the Mets, and should be a good middle reliever for the Mets.
Middle Relief - Bobby Parnell - Parnell came up as one of the Mets top pitching prospects, and definitely showed the Mets why. He was solid coming out of the bullpen, and has great potential with an amazing fastball.
Middle Relief - Joe Smith - Since 2006, Smith has mesmerized his opponents with his side-arm delivery and great slider. He will have another solid season coming in in tough situations with runners on base, and getting many holds.
Middle Relief - Aaron Heilman - Give him a shot in 2009, he may turn it around and put up what he used to have.
Lefty Specialist - Pedro Feliciano - Feliciano gets out lefties, and that's what he does. He should only be used to face lefties, because when he matches up against righties, things usually go badly.
Long Reliever - Jon Niese - Although the Mets would love to give him a better roll, this is pretty much the best they can give him if they do sign Derek Lowe. If they don't sign Derek Lowe, he will probably be the fifth starter. However, at the Long Reliever position, Niese will probably be very successful.
If these moves are made, the Mets have a very good chance at being one of the top teams in baseball. The most important move is signing CC Sabathia - because with a 1-2 rotation like that, the Mets could be indestructible.
A lot of Mets fans want Manny Ramirez to be signed, but with his attitude and age, he is not really the type of guy that the Mets really need. I don't think he'd have a very good influence on Jose Reyes, who needs to learn how to grow up, not be a self-centered lunatic. I'd be happy with the Mets signing him, but getting Sabathia should definitely be first.
I'm looking forward to seeing what moves the Mets make, and what players they pass on. I'm confident going into the Citi Field era and I think the 2009 Mets will be bigger and better than the old teams.
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