|2008 New York Mets||| Print ||
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on February 21, 2008
Rank: 2nd in the NL East
New To The Metropolis:
SP Johan Santana (you may have heard) via trade with Minnesota
C Johnny Estrada via trade with Milwaukee (wasn't offered contract)
C Brian Schneider & OF Ryan Church both via trade with Washington
OF Angel Pagan via trade with Chicago (NL)
RP Brian Stokes via trade with Tampa Bay
OF Moises Alou via option being exercised
P Rudy Lugo via waiver claim from Oakland
2B Luis Castillo re-signed to 4 year deal
C Ramon Castro re-signed to 2 year deal
OF Endy Chavez re-signed to 1 year deal
RP Duaner Sanchez re-signed to 1 year deal
RP Pedro Feliciano re-signed to 1 year deal
RP Matt Wise signed to 1 year deal (Milwaukee)
SP Johan Santana given 6 year/$137.5 million extension with $12.5 million team option for 2014
Had Their Fill of The Big Apple
OF Carlos Gomez and SPs Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra via trade with Minnesota
C Johnny Estrada signed by Washington
RP Guillermo Mota via trade with Milwaukee
OF Lastings Milledge via trade with Washington
SP Tom Glavine via Free Agency (Atlanta)
C Paul Lo Duca via Free Agency (Washington)
(C Sandy Alomar Jr, OF Shawn Green and SP Aaron Sele are still Free Agents as of this writing)
The 2007 Mets were a good team. They managed to survive and nearly win 90 games, even while they lost serious chunks of offense (Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca fell off a cliff and died) and used tons of replacement level pitchers (8 Mets pitchers had more than 20 innings and and none of them could crack more than a 10 VORP). So what kept them going?
David Wright has arrived. Sure, his last two years were good, but 2007 was his breakout, and boy was it something. Wright hit .325/.416/.546 with a pretty 81.1 VORP, along with some slick field work at third. If it weren't for the guy playing third in the Bronx, Wright would've been undoubtedly the best third baseman in 2007.
Wright should keep it going, as should Jose Reyes (46.2 VORP) and Carlos Beltran (51.1 VORP). Without question, the Mets' future for the next few years hinges on those three and a certain left-hander they just acquired.
Ever heard of Johan Santana? No? Really? Oh wow. Lemme introduce him. Santana is the very best pitcher in the world today (with serious consideration from Brandon Webb), and the Mets acquired him on the relative cheap (at least in trade value). Santana will be 30 by the end of the season, and although he has some mileage on his arm, you can't really say he's more (at least, substantially more) of a risk than any other pitcher at his age.
Santana showed some iffy peripherals in 2007, and it's certainly a reason for moderate concern. Although playing in a relative pitcher's park (H.M.H. Metrodome), Santana gave up 1.36 HR/9, a raise from his usual low home run totals. Is it worth nixing a trade over? No. Is it worth fighting for a 5 year deal, limiting the amount of time he's under contract? I think so.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The Mets offense should be a strength, as it has been lately. The 3-4-5 is strong (Delgado isn't much anymore, admittedly), and Reyes is a good lead off guy. However, Castillo, Schneider, Alou, and Chavez either are old or could never hit anyway. That's potentially 5 black holes in that lineup, not mentioning the pitcher.
Some people have discussed the Mets starting pitching as a potential strength, and it's certainly plausible. Santana will be great, as usual, and John Maine should continue to improve, even if it's by short baby steps. Oliver Perez is still an enigma, but he's certainly a talented enigma. Mike Pelfrey, the Mets lone pitching prospect close to the bigs, could take the 5th spot, but he probably isn't good enough to even LAIM at this point, and the future might not be any brighter. El Duque Hernandez is a giant question mark, just as he's been since he left the Yankees for the first time. Jorge Sosa is also available for a little swinger action.
Then there's Pedro Martinez. Can he still succeed? Yeah, probably. Can he stay healthy long enough to be a factor come October? Your guess is as good as mine. If the Mets are careful and spot Martinez the time his shoulder will need, then I'd bet Pedro will be alright. Santana-Martinez-Maine could be very formidable in the post season.
The Mets bullpen should be alright, too. Just like any other bull pen, if their closer, Billy Wagner, gets hurt and misses an extended period of time, it will spell trouble for the bull pen. Aaron Heilman's arm could fall off any day now, and who knows what Duaner Sanchez has. Lots of specialists fill in the holes, and most of them can do the trick.
SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
RF Moises Alou
LF Endy Chavez
C Brian Schneider
LHP Johan Santana
RHP Pedro Martinez
RHP John Maine
LHP Oliver Perez
RHP Orlando Hernandez
RHP Mike Pelfrey
LHP Billy Wagner
RHP Aaron Heilman
RHP Duaner Sanchez
LHP Joe Smith
LHP Pedro Feliciano
LHP Scott Schoeneweis
RHP Jorge Sosa
Keys To Success
Staying healthy is a big key for the Mets. Johan Santana needs to stave off decline, and Pedro Martinez needs to stave off long Disabled List stays. Oliver Perez needs to continue to regain for once dominant form. Carlos Delgado needs to not completely fall into Sean Casey territory. It'd also help if Castillo, Schneider and Chavez could be above replacement level.
I'm hesitant to say the Mets are the best team in the National League, because the Phillies are still good and the Dodgers could explode. But damn...they are seriously good. I'm gonna say 94-68 and First Place in the NL East.