The Mets Might Not Be Good This Season, But They Won’t Be As Bad As Everyone Thinks

It is no secret right now in New York sports that the Mets are a second-class citizen when compared to the Yankees. They are in financial ruin, their tickets sell for pennies on the dollar on secondary markets, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, they haven’t won a World Series since 1986, and aren’t even expected to have a winning record for this upcoming 2012 MLB season. On the other hand, the Yankees have by far the highest payroll in the MLB, their tickets are nearly worth their weight in gold (not really, but you get what I mean), they won their division last season, won a World Series in 2009, and are serious contenders for another championship this season.

As one might think when shown all of these evidences for the ineptitude of the Mets, New York’s second-best MLB team is viewed as a laughingstock and with a rag-tag roster with no more than five established talents on it, that pessimism is justified amongst the media and even the fans. However, the Mets’ situation isn’t as bad as it is expressed in the public eye simply because the Mets won’t be that terrible/awful this season.

Let’s take a look at all the reasons why the Mets should be better from last year and actually be somewhat respectable this season:

1. No More Reyes and Beltran Distractions

The proverbial “dark cloud” hanging over the entire Mets team last season was what the front office was doing to do with team cornerstones in Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, whose contracts were to expire at the end of the year. New York sports radio and TV analysts dissected over and over again whether or not the two players would be Mets by the end of the season and this no doubt affected the play of the team throughout their losing campaign. Of course, neither of those players are in New York as Beltran was traded to the San Francisco Giants in late July for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler while Reyes signed a lucrative 6-year contract with the Miami Marlins this past December.

Sure, the Mets will miss their talent and what they brought to the field but the pall their looming departures had cast on the team hurt the team more than their play helped it. It’s never easy to lose fan-favorite, star players but when it became a distraction that consumed and engulfed the team–the LeBron James syndrome so to speak–it became better for the Mets to cut their ties and start anew without them.

2. Johan Santana Is Healthy…Finally

That isn’t saying much, especially because the actual regular season hasn’t started yet, but it’s notable because it means that Mets ace starting pitcher Johan Santana is finally healthy and is projected to be on the mound at Citi Field on Thursday for Opening Day. The former All-Star and Cy Young winner hasn’t pitched in a regular season game for the Mets since September 2nd of 2010, missing all of last season with a sever shoulder injury. His return to the field is invaluable for this team that lacked a true rotational ace of last season; Santana provides that and more. Every five days, the Mets will be able to trot out one of the best starters in baseball. That is an advantage that any team needs in order to win games.

3. Bullpen Improvement Through Offseason Moves

It is no secret that the Mets had one of the MLB’s worst bullpens last season and that was the major area GM Sandy Alderson addressed this offseason. He signed former Blue Jays’ relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch to serve as the Mets’ closer and projected set-up man. He also traded outfielder Angel Pagan to the Giants for Ramon Ramirez, a middle-relief pitcher. Granted, none of these players are superstars at their respective positions but they are serviceable and will undoubtedly add stability to a pen that couldn’t hold any type of lead at all last season. Also, Alderson was able to do this on a limited budget, making his efforts  even more commendable.

4. The Fences Are In

You might think that the offseason “bringing-in” of Citi Field’s fences helps both the Mets and their opponents hit more home-runs but in reality, it improves the Mets more than it hurts them. More specifically, the shortening of Citi Field’s dimensions helps David Wright and Jason Bay more than any other Met. Last season was incredibly disappointing for both the third baseman and left-fielder who, when not hampered by injuries, were basically inept and helpless to the team at the plate. Moving in the fences works to improve the fragile confidence of both these players that can produce 25+ home-runs and 100+ rbi’s per season if they find their grooves. As shown by the inconsistencies of the Mets to score runs last season in key situations, they aren’t a very good team when Wright and Bay don’t hit. Conversely, they could be a really good offensive team if those two hit well. Hopefully the cure to their hitting woes can be fixed by the changes to Citi. If not, we could be in for a long, arduous season of more losing.

5. The Wilpons Aren’t Bankrupt (And Can Afford to Run This Team)

The recent court settlement between the Wilpons and the trustee for Bernie Madoff’s victims is a major sigh-of-relief for the Mets’ brass. The Wilpons still owe a lot of money to victims of the biggest Ponzi scheme perpetrator this country has ever seen. However, the money they are going to need to pay pales in comparison to the $1 billion they were rumored to be on the hook for earlier in the case. This good news for the Mets’ organization, and bad news for the victims, means that the team’s long-time owners will probably be at the helm for a much longer time. It also means that they have more accessible cash revenue to spend on the team and hopefully improve it to become a World Series contender.

Josh Burton is a student at Lynbrook High School on Long Island in New York. He enjoys writing about his favorite sports teams like the Mets, New Jersey Nets, and others. Josh has been a Mets fan since birth and has stuck with the team through the highs of the Bobby Valentine and Willie Randolph managerialships and the lows of the Art Howe and Jerry Manuel managerialships; of course the jury is still out on Terry Collins. His one dream with the New York Mets is to personally witness a World Series Championship in his lifetime. Ya Gotta Believe!
  1. mic April 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm
    6. Mike Pelfrey is on the trade block ! (The mets did not cut him as they think they can trade him. …Ok
    personally I would have rather picked up Joel Pinero or Dana Eveland.

    7. Wilpons are further bouyed by the 1.5B valuation being flaunted. Imagine…they can get back there phantom shares (20M) and repay Picard and still get 1.0B dollars.

    8. danny is being touted as a sleeper fantasy player.

    Re #1: Johan cant be considered healthy. But with him, niese, RA and Gee thats a decent rotation.

    9. I’d like Aaron Rowand as an OF option.

  2. The Glider April 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    …. and don’t forget to buy those tickets!
  3. Steven April 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm
    The biggest reason for optimism is that our offense may be really good.
  4. Steve mr met April 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm
    They won’t be as bad… They will be worse!!
  5. Val Veeta April 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    I was about to scream when I read the first comment “no more Beltran or Reyes distraction”. Then I realized the date. You almost got me. Good one!
  6. Neil Peart April 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm
    Um, you do realize the Reyes and Beltran “distractions” will be fully replaced and then some by Wright’s contract status, right? And what makes you think Santana will be “one of the best starters in baseball” this year? He is nowhere near guys like Halladay, Kershaw, and Lincecum at this point.
  7. Murdertron3000 April 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm
    Considering they weigh only a fraction of an ounce, there’s a good chance Yankee tickets are actually worth their weight in gold.
  8. Rayu110 April 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm
    has anyone noticed the team has about 11 hits all
    spring? I think we may miss those distractions
    alot more Josh Pom-Poms thinks!
  9. Izzy April 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm
    1. This year there will be a ton of David Wright distractions. Good move to not sign him NOT.
    2. We shall see just how healthy he is. This not a given. Only a given to the PR department.
    3. Bullpen improvement? Only if you consider fact that the GM and manager destroyed a bullpen that was pretty good in the first half. Nobody on this team can come close to KROD and Isringhausen and Beato were very good until they were worn out by mis use from Collins (I’m sorry, I know only the guys before Collins could do that).
    4.Right the line that opponents won’t benefit froma shorter stadium is truly amazing. I guess no visitor lost a HR to the long fences. HAHA.
    5. The Wilpons have a ton of debt left on the stadium and their network. They are far fom the 100+ billion dollars the new Dodger moneybags is worth. But hey, lets pretend the Wilpns are now great even tho they have no source of income anymore now that their best friend is gone from the scene.
    They won’t be as bad as some think but not for any reason stated in this write up. Bring back Janish. He has a sense of reality.
  10. Kanehl April 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm
    Mets’ 2012 pre-season slogan: “We Won’t Completely Suck!”. Good news all around:

    1. No more distractions because our 2 best run producers of last year are gone.
    2. Johann’s arm hasn’t fallen off (yet).
    3. The journeymen in this year’s bullpen may be better than last year’s.
    4. The fences have been moved in (but only when we’re at bat).
    5.  The Wilpons have survived and Jeffie will soon be back in the Captain’s Chair

  11. Mike April 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm
    1. No More Reyes and Beltran Distractions

    – Reyes and Beltran were out top 2 offsenive players last year. They will both be sorely missed this year as our offense will struggle as they are this spring.

    2. Johan Santana Is Healthy…Finally

    – He’s not expected to eat up too many innings this year, and don’t know what to expect after missing all of last year. He may have similiar stats in 2012 as Young/Capuano had last year.

    3. Bullpen Improvement Through Offseason Moves

    Maybe not. We did lost KRod. We also lost experience at the catcher postion. We had Paulino last year, who had a good first half. I’m not comfortable with Thole and Nickeas.

    4. The Fences Are In

    May help Bay some, but will probably help the visiting team more than it will for Bay.

    5. The Wilpons Aren’t Bankrupt (And Can Afford to Run This Team)

    We’ll see. If we are in last around the trading deadline, I still expect them to be sellers and not buyers.

  12. tonymus April 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm
    Funny article to read on a day when the Tigers AA and AAA team walloped the Mets 9-2…
    • Joe April 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm
      Right the Mets AAA reliever couldn’t get a sixth out. That will happen a lot this year, I’m sure.
    • Joe April 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm
      The biggest reason to be happy, glass half full, is that we won’t expect what will not happen. Things didn’t happen the last few years, but we were able to pretend.

      Now, we can enjoy the moment when the team plays well enough (which always happens lately, even last year) w/o being so very upset when they fall off. Which since ’06 ended, always happened too.

      The offense is overall about the same. Beltran was going to be a year older and slower and the idea Duda is much of a drop-off there is way debatable. The deficit here is Reyes. The Cards lost Pujols, the Brewers Fielder. If we have one less major player out for a significant amount of time (and Reyes was out for over a month), even that will not be as bad as it might be.

      Santana is back. Pelfrey might be on the way out. Bay is one year closer to be gone (nice guy, waste of money bat-wise). The pen is a bit better (closer iffy; none of the likely choices were great though). I still think they will add a spare part at some point. The future is a bit closer, part of the future obtained from renting out Beltran for two months. Heck, even one of the toss ins for K-Rod for a similar rental has some value.

      There will be bad days. Errors and bullpen problems; Niese and Gee and Pelfrey having bad days. Santana might miss some time. Dickey might have to take time off to go on a book tour. We don’t seem to have an everyday CF. Murphy is playing 2nd etc.

      But, I forsee around the same number of wins. Not exactly good news, I realize, but so it goes.

  13. Josh Burton April 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm
    Yep, since Beltran and Reyes brought so much success to the Mets, their departures will doom this team for centuries. You know Mets fans, it’s ok to be rationally optimistic once-in-awhile instead of constant pessimism.
    • Joe April 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm
      “Constant pessimism” is the subtitle of this blog. Sorry, that’s “realism.”
      • Josh Burton April 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm
        I understand that realism is the right way to go sometimes but if any fan doesn’t have any form of hope on Opening Day then their isn’t even a reason for them to enjoy sports, there is always a light at the end of tunnel, no matter how long that tunnel is.
        • Joe April 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm
          “realism” was a bit sarcastic — I think the trend is a bit over the top around here, in the guise of realism.
        • Mike B April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am
          Josh I take offense to your comment. I have been Mets fan for 17 years, a season ticket holder for 3 of them in 06,07 and 08. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are my father taking me to games at shea in the late 80’s. I am a huge fan of all sports, but have a special bond with baseball.

          I am dying to enjoy the New York Mets. They have simply made it impossible for me to do so. I have been trying to look at the brightside for the last 6 season and I cant do so anymore. There might be light at the end of the tunnel but the mets are moving away from it moving in the wrong direction.

  14. Steve S. April 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm
    Dickey really the only decent starter now. Bullpen could be better, or worse. Like Ike and Duda as power hitters this year. Catching and bench very questionable. Depth? Not much quality there. Wilponzis? Meh.
  15. argonbunnies April 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm
    I can’t tell how much this “article” is mocking ridiculous beliefs and how much it’s espousing them. I guess if we assume that we all know Reyes and Beltran’s performance will be missed, and that Santana won’t be his 2006 self, and that we overpaid for Rauch and Francisco, and that the wall has nothing to do with Bay sucking, and that the Wilpons are incapable of fielding a World Series contender, then it’s kinda funny… But that’s a lot of assumptions.

    Personally, I’m more a fan of fake news as April Fools entertainment.

    Did y’all hear that Wheeler will be concentrating on learning a screwball in AA?

  16. DaveSchneck April 2, 2012 at 8:12 am
    As a big Met fan, I appreciate the optimism, but reality may be a different story. The probability that each of your statements actually holds up is quite low, but in the lore of baseball tradition I suppose that is what spring is about. Right now we’re tied for first, so enjoy it while it lasts.