The 2009 Mets

As my first post I thought it would be better to have a recap of how a team was performing up to this point as opposed to talking about one specific game of either the Mets or Yankees.

The 2009 Mets are finding it increasingly hard to win as they fall further and further out of the playoff race. Currently they are over ten games out of their division and seven and a half games out of the wild card. So how did a team with World Series aspirations fall so far?

The most popular reason for this is the rash of injuries the Mets have faced this season. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes three of the Mets four most dynamic offensive threats are currently on the disabled list. Oliver Perez spent a significant amount of time on the disabled list, though it can be argued that he would not have helped much if he was healthy anyway. Keeping with the rotation, John Maine and Fernando Nieve, the latter being the replacement for the former, are currently out of action as well. Adding to this is the injury to their set-up man J.J. Putz a big trade acquisition made to strengthen a bullpen that performed poorly the past two years, contributing to the collapses the Mets suffered both years.

Now these injuries are not the sole reason the Mets find themselves incapable of winning a series. Let’s first look at the bullpen, even without Putz the bullpen has been one of the best in baseball and has found its future set-up man in Bobby Parnell. Shifting our attention to the rotation, there is only one current player on the disabled list who was supposed to start the year in the starting rotation. Yes Perez was on the disabled list for quite some time but that seems to have more to do with his inneffectiveness than a nagging injury. John Maine is the current injured pitcher and he had an era of 4.52 before his injury. Not really the number you expect to see for a game changing starter and if this is the only big injury the rotation had to deal with, it should not be a huge detriment. Lastly we will talk about the offense, with this being the part of the team that the injuries have affected the most. Like I mentioned earlier, this unit lost three of their four best players and that takes its toll, but the injuries are not the only problems. To start the year the starters were going to be Carlos Delgado, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Brian Schneider, Ryan Church/Fernando Tatis, Carlos Beltran, and Daniel Murphy. The players that remain are Luis Castillo, David Wright, Brian Schneider, Fernando Tatis, and Daniel Murphy, with Church being replaced by Francoeur in a trade that I will comment on later. Of those players only Luis Castillo and David Wright are hitting above .250 and only David Wright is hitting over .300. With or without these all-stars that is a problem and while it can be argued with more protection they would be playing better, when you are hitting below .250 you are not a good major league hitter. In fact you could make the argument that all it would do is give Tatis more opportunities to break the record for most double plays grounded out to in a season.

My point in the previous paragraph is while the injuries are a big reason for the Mets poor play, you can not overlook the fact that the organization did a poor job of stocking this team with talent to make a true championship run even with these players. Without the injuries the rotation would still be lousy making it hard for even a good offense to win games, and the offense would still be top heavy like it was last season. Don’t forget that last season the Mets never won a game when trailing after six innings, and that was with a hot Delgado and healthy Reyes and Beltran. The Mets came into this season with too many question marks and they didn’t get the answers they hoped. They needed Murphy to play well in his first full season, Tatis to keep the miracle going, Delgado to stay good and healthy for a full season despite entering the twilight years of his career something he hasn’t done since 2006. They needed Castillo to bounce back and Church to show the form he showed at the start of 2008. For the rotation they needed Pelfrey to continue pitching well in his second full season, Perez to get over his inconsistencies, and for Maine to work deeper in games and stay healthy. Finally they needed to hope they made enough moves to their bullpen that it would no longer hold them back. They did get some positive results on these, but this is a lot to ask for and the organization gambled badly and it has reflected on the field in a losing season.

The coaching shouldn’t get a free pass either as I do not remember the last time I saw a team as careless as these Mets are. They drop routine pop ups, make throwing errors, miss read fly balls, don’t run the base paths properly, and can’t drop bunts down. There are just so many problems that this team has that has nothing to do with talent and that goes back to the coaching.

At this point in the season I believe it is fair to say that the Mets will not be playing in the postseason, something that should be hard to swallow for a team with the second highest payroll in baseball. With no real major league ready prospects in the farm system and an owner that does not want to increase payroll, it will be interesting to see how the Mets address these problems and if they believe they just need their injured players back. It will also be interesting to see what happens in the organization, whether everyone gets a pass because of the injuries or if ownership decides to shake things up. Now staying with this season while the Mets are probably out of the playoff hunt there is still reason to watch this season, mainly to see how the young Mets perform, such as Daniel Murphy, Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell, and the recently called up Jon Niese. If those players can put it all together that will be a big boost as well as if the change of scenery can help Francoeur and whether Perez can ever prove he was worth the money. Hopefully the Mets can end on a high note and give everyone hope for next season.

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