"This Mets team is not going to be historically bad." Tim Kurkjian on Baseball Tonight, 4/1/12
I consider myself an optimistic person, even when it comes to the Mets. The majority of my Mets fans friends tend to paint a darker picture than me. In fact, you can break Mets fans down into three perspectives,
1) Glass half full.
2) Glass half empty.
3) There's a glass?
So using that as our barometer, let's take a look at the 2012 New York Mets.
JOHAN SANTANA - GLASS HALF FULL
Everything we've seen from Johan this spring has been encouraging. Despite my glass half empty proclamation in February that "If Johan is ready to go on opening day, I'll eat a bug," he's the player I am most looking forward to watching this season. I still think Johan is capable of being the guy who dialed up that 3-hit shutout against the Marlins in his last start of 2008. The biggest issue is going to be pitch count/inning limitations. The Mets brass is going to be more protective of Santana than Mike Lowrey was of his daughter in Bad Boys 2. 12-7, 3.20 ERA sounds about right.
R.A. DICKEY - GLASS HALF FULL
Given the revelations Dickey made in his new book about the abuse he suffered as a child, given the fact he climbed mount Kilimanjaro, and given the fact he's had a 3.08 era as a Met, I'm not betting against this guy. I won't look past the fact he's 19-22 as a Met, but if there comes a day this season when the Mets need a big start, say like April 25th, I hope R.A. is on the mound.
MIKE PELFREY - THERE'S A GLASS?
Big Pelf is a Big Mess. I almost trust Rob Lowe more as a NFL insider than I do Pelf as a major league starter. Many a Mets fan were ready for Pelf to take the next step after his 15-9, 3.66 era season of 2010. Instead, one step forward two (or three) steps back. It's a little disturbing when a 6'7", 250 dude isn't a strikeout pitcher, right? Pelfrey has a k/9 ratio of 5.1 for his career. He may have found something when he altered his windup this spring and started throwing his fastball in the mid-90's, but I'm not biting.
JON NIESE - GLASS HALF FULL
From the first time I saw him pitch, Niese had Matlack-like potential in my eyes. He may end up suffering a Matlack-like fate, as well. Matlack pitched well on mostly bad Mets teams, going 82-81 with a 3.03 era. So far Niese is 22-23 with a 4.39 era. The encouraging signs for Niese include a nice k/9 rate of 7.6 and a solid bb/9 rate of 3.0. By the way, Niese is only 21 nose jobs behind Cher on the all-time list.
DILLON GEE - GLASS HALF EMPTY
I enjoyed his effort in 2011, but I'm not ready to buy any Gee stock. His 1st half/2nd half splits and his home/road splits were a little disarming.
1st half- 8-3, 3.76 era, 1.19 whip, .222 baa
2nd half- 5-3, 5.25 era, 1.59 whip, .277 baa
home (pitcher friendly park) - 7-3, 3.17, 1.22 whip, .227 baa
road - 6-3, 5.74 era, 1.53 whip, .268 baa
When you don't have overpowering stuff, you have to throw strikes. Gee is averaging 4 bb/9 so far in his career. He needs to clean that up almost as bad as he needs to clean that hairy welcome mat off his chin.
JOSH THOLE/MIKE NICKEAS - THERE'S A GLASS?
Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox were a better platoon than these two. This smacks of a John Stearns/Alex Trevino 1979-1980ish production. Thole went into the spring needing to work on his defense. The Mets hoped Nickeas would "hit a little." Not terribly inspiring. At some point this year Mets broadcasters will talk about how Nickeas "calls a good game." That's the equivalent of the car that handles well, the guy or girl who have a good personality or the restaurant that has nice ambiance. Give me a catcher who throws out 40% of the runners or rakes.
IKE DAVIS - GLASS HALF FULL
I've been on Ike bandwagon from day one. Legit raw power, a nice glove and seems unfazed by just about everything. I bet he ends up their most productive offensive player and he and Duda could threaten to combine for 60 homers.
DANIEL MURPHY - GLASS HALF FULL
Murph hits and hits and hits some more. Defense is the obvious concern. I actually think he has decent hands, but nothing on defensive side of the ball seems to come easy. No position is easy to play in the majors, but becoming a good defensive second baseman from scratch is virtually impossible. Murph is a DH waiting to happen. In the mean time, the Mets will enjoy his .300+ batting average and pray he doesn't get killed.
RUBEN TEJADA - GLASS HALF EMPTY
It's tough enough to replace Jose Reyes, but with Reyes in the division it'll be even harder to escape his shadow. Ruben strikes me as a guy who will make the plays, get some timely hits, but ends up being a journey man whose glove is valued by teams. I don't see him as the long term answer at shortstop for the Mets.
DAVID WRIGHT - GLASS HALF EMPTY
I'm a huge fan of David's. I support him almost blindly. Did you know his career 162 game averages are .300/27/106 with 102 runs, 22 SB and an .882 OPS? So why does it feel like he is regressing? Maybe in part because the team hasn't come out and inked him to a new deal. Maybe because last year he hit just .254 with 14 homers. I want Wright to succeed. I want him to continue to be the face of the franchise. I just don't believe it's going to happen.
JASON BAY - THERE'S A GLASS?
.336/20/100 113 runs, 30 sb
.266/11/53 73 runs, 11 sb
Those are Robbie Alomar's numbers the year before he came to the Mets and his first year with the Mets. For me, easily the biggest disappointment in Mets acquisition history. Jayson Bay is at least at Mo Vaughn territory and inching closer to Alomar by the day. It's like the aliens from Space Jam took all of Jason's talent and gave him Shwan Bradley's.
In Bay's 200 games with Boston his numbers were .274/45/156 with a .534 slugging percentage.
In Bay's 218 games with the Mets his numbers are .251/18/104 with a .386 slugging percentage.
And not for nothing, but Bay had 0 RBI this spring.
ANDRES TORRES - THERE'S A GLASS?
Career .318 OBP. He's 34. That number isn't going to get better. His leg has been barking all spring. I feel better about getting a colonoscopy than I do about Torres having a good season.
LUCAS DUDA - GLASS HALF FULL
There was an old New York sportscaster named Jerry Girard who came on the air one night and reported (tongue firmly in cheek) that "Dave Kingman was attacked by three fly balls tonight. Thankfully, no one was hurt." Sadly, I suspect that's where we are with Lucas. Right field will be a major adventure. The good news is I think Lucas can flat out hit and 25-30 homers isn't out of the question.
THE BULLPEN - GLASS HALF EMPTY
As I've noted before, bullpens are the old Forrest Gump box of chocolates analogy, you never know what you are going to get. So the Mets shuffled in some new arms and hope that it's a blend that works.
Hopefully with the fences at Citi Field closer to the plate, the relievers can get to the mound faster and the boos won't last as long. (See, always looking for something optimistic to say!)
THE SEASON - GLASS HALF EMPTY
Lots of people point to the fact that the Mets lead the NL in runs scored last year. Subtract Reyes and a very productive half-season from Beltran and the glass gets a little emptier. Johan is back and hopefully Davis, Murphy and Wright can stay healthy and the glass gets a little fuller.
The biggest thing against the Mets is their division. I think they go 74-88, which, by the way, is not historically bad.