The Mets are projected to finish near the cellar of the National League, but will they really be that bad?
In recent years people expected a lot more from the Mets, and the team continued to disappoint through a string of injury-plagued, disappointing seasons that included the opening of Citi Field and the demolition of Shea Stadium. After finishing with the NL’s best record in 2006, they narrowly missed the playoffs on the final game of the season in 2007 and 2008. Seeing that they were that close to the postseason, people wondered if they could just win a few more games in the next two seasons and get themselves over the hump.
That never happened.
With the cloud of disappointment now phased into reality in Queens, experts are now expecting much less from the Mets. To add insult to injury, some are even predicting that the club’s financial woes will come back to haunt their performance on the field or the front office’s ability to land high-profile free agents in the offseason. The team is embroiled in a lawsuit stemming from money they had invested in the Madoff scheme, with reports saying that the Mets are being sued for $300 million.
Several players have reported to St. Lucie ahead of time, and David Wright, the unofficial captain of the team, said he believes the team can prove the critics wrong. He says this especially because the bar is set so low that they wouldn’t need to do much to overcome it.
On paper, this team could go either way. Wright and Reyes are durable veterans when healthy, and Reyes knows he needs to perform well this year or else he will be on his way out the door by the trade deadline. Wright bounced back last season with solid numbers and re-established himself as a power hitter with a significant increase in home runs after he struggled to hit homers in 2009.
The outfield will consist of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, and Angel Pagan, all players who have proved themselves at some point. Beltran is in his final season of a seven-year deal, and Jason Bay hopes to live up to the expectations New York had for him when he arrived in New York. Angel Pagan played great in Center while Beltran was injured, and it appears the Mets will have a competition for the centerfield job this Spring.
On the mound, the Mets did a little dumpster diving this off-season and came up with Chris Capuano, who bounced back last year from an injury with decent numbers. Mets fans will only hope that Capuano can show flashes of his dominant 2005 campaign when he won 18 games with Milwaukee. R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball will return to the CitiField mound in 2011 along with Mike Pelfrey. The Mets lost Pedro Feliciano to the Yankees this 0ff-season, which could make a huge difference considering the rubber-armed Feliciano led the league in innings pitched year after year.
On paper, the Mets will be putting a risky squad onto the field, but the risk could be high-reward. If all fails, nobody will notice with expectations being so low. However, if the team wins some games and finds themselves in the playoff hunt come September,