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Season Preview: 2012 Mets Not Measured in Wins & Losses



By Mike Silva ~ April 5th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

When you look at the 2012 Mets’ roster you can’t logically predict anything more than 75-77 wins. That best case scenario is still probably good for last place in the National League East. It also probably won’t allow for any mid-summer tease in the form of competing for the second Wild Card, and the right to participate in a play-in game.

What 2012 represents is the bill due for the recklessness of the Omar Minaya era. The pain of three-straight second division finishes that followed two painful collapses and a disappointing Game 7 loss in the NLCS, has led to what appears to be a legitimate attempt by Sandy Alderson to rebuild the franchise. Any rebuilding program involves “punting” certain seasons, and 2012 appears to be just that.

I look at three key areas that will determine Mets success this year and how close this team is to contending in the next 2-3 years.

1. The Young Positional Core - Ike DavisLucas DudaRuben Tejada and Daniel Murphy all have a major opportunity to establish themselves this season. In particular, Davis and Duda promise to be a potent lefty-power tandem in the middle of the lineup. The big question with Murphy is not his offense – we know he can hit- but whether his defense at second will be adequate enough to warrant an everyday spot. If not, then Murphy might be more trade bait unless the Mets see him as valuable in an all around the field Mark DeRosa-type of utility role. Tejada won’t be Jose Reyes, but if he can be steady defensively at short and continue his penchant for working counts and getting on base, then you have the kind of shortstop that you can count on for a pennant winning team.

2. Who is David Wright? - The Reds just rewarded their franchise player with a 10-year/$225 million dollar deal. Although this appears to be an extreme overpay for a first baseman, Joey Votto does have an MVP and a Gold Glove on his resume. Four years ago it wouldn’t be crazy to see the Mets give Wright $25 million dollars a year to play third base. That was when he was a combo of George Brett and Mike Schmidt. Today, it probably isn’t wise or realistic due to the team’s financial situation.

What David Wright will show up in 2012? The high-average/low power version of 2009? The high-strikeout slugger that reminded you of Howard Johnson in 2010? Or the injured hybrid that we saw in 2011, who gave you a little bit of both. When you add in his declining defense, none of those versions are worth a long-term deal, much less for franchise money.

If David Wright show’s he is closer to the 2006-2008 version that everyone grew to love, then a 5-year deal in the $80 million dollar range could be in play. If he plays like an in-prime Scott Rolen or Adrian Beltre, then it might be worth it, as well

In order for the Mets to contend sooner, rather than later, they need some veteran stars in their lineup. Wright is the only one that fits the bill on the current roster. He might also be the only chance of a “big money” signing over the next few years.

Wright returning to form could accelerate the rebuilding process in a big way.

The Young Pitchers - This last measurement won’t take place at Citi Field, but rather in various minor league outposts throughout the organization. On a nightly basis fans will be firing up MILB.com to see what is going on in Binghamton and Buffalo. The results by Wheeler, Harvey, Familia, Mejia and Gorski are probably more important on some nights than Dillon GeeR.A. DickeyJohan Santana or Mike Pelfrey. On the big league side, Jon Niese will be a major focus as the Mets recently rewarded him with a 5-year deal, thus making him one of the veteran cogs on a staff that will get increasingly young over the next few seasons.

We may even see one of these kids in the big leagues by September. By spring of 2013, it’s possible there might be some real rotation battles in play if two or three appear to look major league ready.

***

As you can see, none of my keys to the 2012 Mets include winning a certain amount of games. There is no doubt that it’s important for Terry Collins to lead a club that works hard, plays fundamental  and gives a great effort each night. When the Mets had their winning streak in late-June to early-July of 2011, many fans were accepting of the team’s limitations, and understood that .500 was probably a reasonable goal. They saw a team that was meeting and exceeding their potential.

Finishing at .500 might be asking a lot of this group, even in best case scenario, but how they go about winning 69, 72, 75 or 77 games will go a long way to how the fans feel about the future. It also will be imperative for Collins, as he understands that a popular ex-Met is knocking at the managerial door down in Buffalo.

Will it be a team that is competitive each night? Will you feel they have a chance to win, despite glaring deficiencies that cause them to fall short against superior competition? If so, will that be enough? It should be for any reasonable fan that manages their expectations.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Season Preview: 2012 Mets Not Measured in Wins & Losses

  1. Daler

    Not measured in wins is code for losers

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