Another year, another chance for the Mets to break our hearts. How will it be this year? Will it be a slow tortuous painful bleeding like last year or a swift collapse like in 2007 and 2008 or a bitter ending like in 2006?
How far the Mets go will begin and end with pitching.
If Santana is not a dominant ace and if Pelfry, Maine, and Perez struggle, there is nothing else to question. Santana won 13 last year in an injury-shortened season. Is he still the dominant pitcher the Mets hoped when they got him from the Twins? Maybe. He better be if the Mets want to contend with the Phillies.
The rest are less certain. The three looked terrible in spring training. Perez looked thinner but his fastball was flat and he was hammered. Maine and Pelfry were up and down and mostly down. Same for Jonathan Niese.
The bullpen could either be a strong suit or a shambles. It is an unknown beyond Rodriguez and Feliciano. Three pitches have never pitched in the majors before, Mejia, Takahashi and Igarashi. Green is a known but was brutal most of the spring.
Nieve was hurt most of last year.
The Mets hitting should be better but will not be in full strength until Reyes and Beltran come back. They should not be hurt by Murphy’s injury and Jacobs will provide more power until Ike Davis takes over the position. Wright hits more homers in spring training but let’s see how that translates to CitiField and its generous dimensions. Bay and a full season from Francoeur should provide more runs though Bay will find that CitiField is not Fenway Park or the Green Monster.
Right now, with the players the Mets have, including Reyes and Beltran, the Mets should win between 75 and 77 games, which is an improvement over last year’s 70-win team.
Will the injured payers come back full strength, will the Mets make any trades, will there be another rash of injuries, will their starters thrive or crash and burn, who knows?
Right now, it looks like third place behind the Phillies and Braves and about 75 wins.
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