The New York Mets let Jose Reyes walk prior to heading into their 2012 season and went on to win just 74 games. This offseason they decided to trade away the reigning National League Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey, and recently discovered that Johan Santana is likely to miss all of 2013. The team managed to extend the contract of David Wright, but the warm fuzzy feeling of making him team captain and a Met for life, does little in the way to fill the holes that now surround him.
With Dickey and Santana gone and the team intent on starting top prospect Zack Wheeler out at Triple-A, the starting rotation looks to be worse off than it was a year ago. Even the team’s biggest free agent acquisition from this offseason, Shaun Marcum, continues to battle neck issues. Jon Niese and Matt Harvey have looked great this Spring, but they can only be counted on for so much. The bullpen will likely be better in 2013, if only because it would be hard to be much worse, but the outfield situation is another story. Scott Hairston and Andres Torres have departed, leaving some combo of Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Jordany Valdespin to join Lucas Duda in an outfield that most consider to be among the weakest in baseball.
I’m not one for predicting wins and losses, but when you consider all of the above, it’s hard for me to rationalize that the Mets are better this year than they were heading into last season. I could certainly see someone like Collin Cowgill having a surprisingly good season and both David Wright and Ike Davis producing great numbers, but even so, with the way injuries have already begun to play out, it seems like the team will be hard pressed to challenge an improved Atlanta Braves club that has added the Upton brothers to the outfield or a Nationals team that is just, well, really frigging good.
Most of the analysts from ESPN seem to share a similar sentiment as none predicted the team will finish with a record above .500. Here are some of the more notable predictions:
“There’s some pitching in the pipeline. Wait ’til next year.”
“The lack of an outfield, the loss of R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana’s shoulder will make it a very long year at Citi Field.”
“lt looks like it’ll be another brutal season in Flushing, a season that will be more about player development than anything else.
“In about two years, with their young pitching, you should watch out. I like their infield, but their outfield looks like a minor league team and their starting pitching is bad.”
Finish: Fourth or fifth.
Playoffs? No way.
“If we could warp forward to 2014 right now, I don’t think any Mets fan would object. The most important thing for the Mets this season will not be performance-based, but health-based.”
Finish: A very distant fourth.
I’m sure Rubin will get roasted on Twitter for his prediction, since he covers the team, but clearly he’s not alone in thinking the Mets are set up to fail in 2013. I prefer to not think that way and will try, for as long as possible, to view this year as an opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with Mark Simon, who said most Mets fans wouldn’t mind fast forwarding to 2014. Truth be told, I think it’s the team’s front office that would really appreciate the time machine and fans will likely be happy enough to see guys like Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler in a couple months.
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