The 2009 Mets: A Season to Forget

What strikes me about the caption is that I still have a VHS from the 86 Mets team when they won the World Series entitled “1986 Mets: A Year to Remember.” I imagine that’s the last good Mets team that we’ve seen. Aside from the 1988, 2000, and 2006 Mets that should have won the World Series; the 86 team was the last team to actually have won something. So where do we begin now that it is the end of a long, painful, injury ridden, heart-wrenching, headache-roaring season? We can start with what should have been…

 The season started off with a lot of promise and hope. Even SI deemed this team to win the World Series (or was that the kiss of death?). The team started off hot the first two months of the season with an incredible Month of May when they went 19-9 May and then the injury bug came. End result 70-92 and oh yeah….23 games behind the 1st place Phils (who by the way won the division crown for the 3rd straight year). Then the next injury came, and the next, and the next, and so on. If you forgot the Mets injuries this year, let me refresh your memory…

4-5 Billy Wagner (Elbow)
4-5 Tim Redding (Shoulder)
4-5 Angel Pagan (Elbow)
4-17 Brian Schneider (Back)
5-7 Oliver Perez (Knee)
5-16 Carlos Delgado (Hip)
5-18 Alex Cora (Thumb)
5-26 Jose Reyes (Calf)
5-26 Ryan Church (Leg)
6-3 Ramon Martinez (Finger)
6-5 JJ Putz (Elbow)
6-12 John Maine (Shoulder)
6-22 Carlos Beltran (Knee)
7-9 Fernando Martinez (Knee)
7-20 Fernando Nieve (Leg)
7-25 Gary Sheffield (Leg)
8-6 Jon Niese (Leg)
8-17 David Wright (Head)

8-24 Johan Santana (elbow)

8-25 Jeff Francoeur (thumb)

8-26 Oliver Perez (knee…again)


Did I miss anything? If I did, I just finally stopped keeping track. I have never seen a team ravaged with such misfortune in my entire life. This team needs an overhaul and here is what needs to be done in 2010. There are three things that need immediate addressing and a 4th for honorable mention.


1. Starting Pitching: The Mets have an ace in Johan Santana. I can’t imagine Santana not bouncing back from his elbow injury and giving us a great season in 2010. He is a true warrior that would have played through bone chips provided his team was in contention. But after that, it gets a little suspect. The Mets have Ollie Perez for another 2 more seasons and at his age, he has proven that he can be effective (at times) and certainly worth another shot in the starting rotation…and besides who else is going to eat the other two years of his 12 million a year contract? You hope his injury was the reason for his diminished velocity and worse than normal poor control of his pitches. Third the Mets will probably tender the contract of John Maine making Maine as the #4 starter. If he can remain healthy and at 28 years old, whose to think anything different? That leaves the need for a #2 and #5 starter. Let’s get on the phone and bring in Roy Halladay. Clearly the Jays are going to be shopping him this off-season so why not to the Mets. There’s no one off limits as far as I am concerned except for Reyes and Wright. I also believe John Lackey is a free agent this season and is probably the most coveted out of all the pitching free agents. At 31 years old and with a pretty respectable pitching resume, he’s also near the top of my list. Rich Harden and Ben Sheets I believe are attainable as well…although both injury prone, both have immense talent. If Sheets (torn flexor tendon) can bounce back like Carpenter did from Tommy John, then it’s worth a shot at probably a low contract one year incentive laden deal.


2. 1st base: We all know that Daniel Murphy can not be our starting 1st baseman come 2010. I still can’t get over on sports talk radio how much Met fans love this guy so much and think that he can be their everyday 1st baseman. His OBP is .310, need I say more? Yes, he’s likable and seems to be playing hard but he’s pretty awful. He gets a nice spot on the bench if you ask me and as a pinch hitter late in a game. The big question is do you bring back Carlos Delgado? He’s 38 years old with a bad hip. His 2007 season was impressive .271 38 115 but can it translate two years later and in a bigger park? I’ve been hearing rumors that the Brewers are shopping Prince Fielder and any Mets fan would certainly love him to be their 2010 first baseman. The other free agents (LaRoche, Johnson, Branyan, and Blalock) are out there too but none really strike me as any better of an option then re-signing Delgado.


3. Left Field: Carl Crawford, Carl Crawford, Carl Crawford! Imagine Reyes and Crawford at the top of your line-up? Stolen bases galore, runs scored a-plenty. RBI chances for Wright and Beltran and 1st basemen-no name. If the Rays don’t pickup the club option of $10M for Crawford, he’s tops on my list. Jason Bay wouldn’t be a bad option either but I think the Sox will re-sign him. Willy Mo Pena and Garrett Anderson aren’t gonna cut it for this Mets fan.

4. (Honorable Mention) Catcher: The days of Brian Schneider are over and I believe Omir Santos has had his hey-day (that Sox walk-off against Papelbon in Boston). The Mets clearly need something fresh here. Victor Martinez is out there but will probably command some big money. So is Bengie Molina but he is aging and beat-up. I think this is the one position that the Mets can get someone who can actually platoon with Santos like Greg Zaun who won’t cost much to attain.

The Mets will probably pull off one good signing and one good trade this off season with this relatively poor free agent class. I wouldn’t break the bank on any one player and just hope this team can finish with 85 wins next season since the playoffs aren’t probably a reasonable expectation.

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