Can this team finally erase the demons of the past two years and make the playoffs?
If they don’t win the division, they won’t make the playoffs. I think that the starting pitching is one injury away from being a disaster. While the bullpen is improved, the starters are nothing special after Johan. With such a small margin for error with the Phillies and the much improved Braves, I just think that the division is too tough to produce a Wild Card winner.
What kind of impact will we see out of the revamped bullpen?
This will be a huge thing. The variety of the pen is the key. O’Day and Green are side-armers, Parnell is a power arm, and Feliciano is junk-baller. I like the mix a lot, and fully expect Jerry Manuel to use these guys as much as any pen in the game.
What do you expect from Jerry Manuel in his first full year as manager?
I expect him to not be Willie Randolph. That’s it. As long as he’s not Willie, I’m okay with whatever he does.
Will the Mets regret not upgrading in the outfield corners?
Daniel Murphy will turn out to be one of the most productive outfielders in the NL. The problem now is the mix of Tatis, Church, and Gary Sheffield. How will that platoon possibly work out? Sheffield needs to play to be happy, and if he’s not happy he could be a problem. Tatis was a great pick up last year, but I doubt lightning will strike twice. Church? Could be above average, could be a waste. All I know is that I would not have minded adding Manny Rameriez to the fold.
Will the lack of depth for the fifth starter job become a problem?
That depends: what’s Scott Erickson up to? Is David Cone available? How about Masato Yoshi? I do not like the starting pitching at all, and I think this will be the downfall of this team.
What do you think about the Mets bench?
I’m going to assume that Marlon Anderson is gone now that Sheffield is here. Otherwise, the bench is pretty nice to look at and I think it’s a typical NL bench in every way. No greatness but no true holes either.
Will the following Mets repeat, exceed, or regress in 2009?
SBs will be up (I hope) and he’ll be among the league leaders in hits.
Comeback Player of the Year 2009
I have a feeling that he will take a step backward. Not sure why, but I think he’s going to struggle.
Remember how we were talking about releasing him last June? Yeah. Those talks will be back soon.
2009 NL MVP
I see him losing his starting job by the end of May to Gary Sheffield.
Big numbers are in his future. He’s going to be great.
He’ll make Ramon Castro look like Ty Cobb.
Contender for the Cy Young, leader in strikeouts and IP.
He’ll spend most of the year on the DL.
He’ll have 15 great starts, 15 crappy starts, and 3 average starts.
The weight of all the expectations will not help him; he’ll be good, but nothing special.
THE REST OF BASEBALL:
Home Run Leaders
AL: Carlos Quentin
NL: Ryan Howard
AL: Justin Morneau
NL: Lance Berkman
Stolen Base Leaders
AL: Carlos Gomez
NL: Jose Reyes
Teams That Will Surprise
NL: San Francisco
Teams That Will Disappoint
AL: Tampa Bay
NL: Los Angeles
AL: Carlos Quentin
NL: Carlos Beltran
Cy Young Award
AL: Roy Halladay
NL: Cole Hamels
Rookie of the Year
AL: Matt Weiters
NL: Cameron Maybin
Mets vs. Giants (WC)
Arizona vs. Chicago (NL)
Yankees vs. Angels
Chicago (AL) vs. Boston (WC)
Chicago (NL) vs. Giants
Yankees vs. Chicago (AL)
Cubs vs. Yankees
Cubs win in 6