Saturday, February 25, 2012

No Reason For Negativity

My favorite quote so far is from Ike Davis, "Why does everyone think we're going to suck?  It's February."

I am with Ike on this.  Spring Training has barely started yet fans have already begun to jump ship.  The Mets certainly have a lot of question marks but that doesn't mean they are going to be terrible.

Let's take a look at the offense.  Full seasons from David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Ike Davis are nothing to complain about.  Lucas Duda has adds a lot of power to the lineup and he'll be in the lineup all season.  Hitting isn't the issue for Josh Thole.  And there is nothing stopping Jason Bay from producing again.  Those players will fill six of the eight offensive positions this year and they can all be expected to benefit from the shorter fences at Citi Field.

What about pitching and defense?  Well, their defense might not be spectacular but it shouldn't be anything to laugh at.  David Wright and Ike Davis have provided strong defense at the corners in the past.  Ruben Tejada has shown he's no slouch at shortstop and if there's one thing Jason Bay has provided during his Mets tenure it has been a steady glove in left field.  New center fielder Andres Torres has a strong defensive reputation as well.  The Mets are putting in a lot of work with Josh Thole on defense and I feel pretty safe saying Daniel Murphy is working at second base.  Lucas Duda may end up being the only defensive concern when the season starts.

The pitching staff is the biggest question mark for this team.  R.A. Dickey was the best pitcher last year and it'd be awesome to believe he'll produce similar numbers this year, but with a knuckleball pitcher there really is no way to know.  After Dickey, the Mets have Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee as definite starters.  Pelfrey is what he is, if he finds his 2008 self then he'll be awesome.  If he doesn't, he could be the weak link.  Jon Niese and Dillon Gee should benefit from having guaranteed rotation spots and they have both been more than capable major leaguers recently.  The big "if" is Johan Santana.  He has been throwing for a while now and recently got back on the mound.  He hasn't pitched in a game since he was in some minor league games last summer.  But if he can make it through 120 innings that would give the entire organization a boost.

The bullpen is full of new faces.  Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, and Ramon Ramirez were all brought in.  One of them will probably end up being the closer.  Coming back the Mets have Tim Byrdak, Manny Acosta, and D.J. Carrasco.  Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato could end up in the bullpen too but they have minor league options so they aren't locks.  It's only February and the bullpen roles haven't been assigned and nobody's seen any game action.  The pitching staff is a huge question mark and the bullpen is a big part of that.  It'll be much easier to judge even once Spring Training games start.

This is not going to be a team with big names.  It is a bunch of young players looking to find their way.  R.A. Dickey talked about a lot of people looking to take the next step and if they do all take that step then this team can be pretty good.  It's very true.  There are not going to be a lot of rookies on this team.  There are a lot of players that should finally have a feel for the big leagues and be able to find their way.

I'm not saying anybody should have high expectations for this team.  I just don't think they should be written off in February.  It's baseball.  There are 162 games and anything could happen.

Let's Go Mets!

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