Just a few years back, New York Mets faced uncertainties similar to the Dodgers during Frank McCourt’s final season. Owner Fred Wilpon had lost money through investments in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. With the Mets in flux, additional investors were brought in to cover money still owed by the organization. It was hard to believe a New York team would look to slash payroll but that was exactly what the Mets were doing. Since their last winning season in 2008, the Mets have not won more than 79 games and find themselves in a similar position for the upcoming year.
The fact that many pitchers are falling victim to blown-out arms is a troubling. The amount of torque used to throw a baseball is heavily taxing on the arm. Ace Matt Harvey was projected to be the Opening Day starter. The Mets followed protocol, monitoring his pitch count and innings throughout the year. Sadly, the young Harvey could not avoid the injury bug that has plagued baseball as of late. Harvey is lost for the year after undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery. He experienced shoulder discomfort during a Spring Training game and unfortunately had to be shutdown. Replacing his 178 innings is hard enough but he was the team’s best pitcher and his presence will most certainly be missed. Harvey contributed a 5.2 WAR with a 0.93 WHIP and 191 strikeouts. Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese will be asked to carry the load for the duration of the year. Each needs to step up for the Mets to be competitive in the NL East. Bartolo Colon was signed in the offseason. The burly veteran has a knack for throwing strikes and his return to he NL could be a welcome addition. He won 18 games with three shutouts for the A’s but at 41 it will be hard to duplicate those numbers.
The offense revolves around perennial third baseman David Wright. The longtime fan favorite has been the face of the franchise since bursting on the scene in 2004. When healthy, Wright is one of the game’s best hitters. He consistently puts up numbers and as long as he can avoid the DL, he should have another outstanding offensive year. Expect Wright to finish with a 30-30 season. The Mets made the big acquisition of Curtis Granderson during the offseason. Prior to 2013, Granderson led the league with 84 home runs. The right field porch at Citi Field is not as friendly as Yankee Stadium but if Granderson stay healthy, he is always a threat for the long ball. He should put up big numbers and provide solid protection for Wright. Besides these two All-Stars, the Mets will need serious help to score runs. A lot was anticipated from Ike Davis but he struggled to a .205 batting average. Among the Mets regular infielders, only Wright and Daniel Murphy had decent numbers. John Buck, Ruben Tejada, and Davis each hit under.215.
The starting rotation has question marks from top to bottom. On offense, players will need to step up for Wright and Granderson to have RBI opportunities. As a team, they hit .237 last year and can’t rely on players swinging for the fences. They need to be more discipline at the plate. Mets fans should expect another disappointing season.
All stats are courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com/.