The fine folks here at Heading For The Exits were gracious enough to host my team-by-team baseball previews. Look for a new one every day from March 1st through March 30th. Last but not least, it’s the NL East. Next up, we check in with the team that’s sitting outside Trump Tower banging on an empty paint can and begging for change.
I do not envy Mets fans. Whereas the Marlins were busy embarrassing themselves on the field, the Mets have been doing a great job of it there as well as everywhere else. A good rule of thumb: unless your owner is Mark Cuban, you do not want their name appearing in the news, and even then, not next to a name like Bernie Madoff. Fred Wilpon might have been the next owner to have his MLB team seized right out from under him, and oh how glorious that would have been. At least the Dodgers had a good reason for theirs; shared ownership of the team involved with a messy divorce needed mediation from the league. But this? This would have been Wilpon losing the team because of being duped by a con artist. Unfortunately, it seems like that dramatic bullet was dodged, so for now, we just get to watch the team continue to pick up the pieces. Let’s watch, shall we?
How’d The Offseason Go?
Like most people who are terrible with money and trying to fund a bad habit, they traded away part of their organization for cash, that part being pitcher Elvin Ramirez. Notable signings include gimpy free agent Shaun Marcum and shitty free agent Corey Patterson. Remember the yearly pieces by some brainiac sabermetrician who says this is the year Patterson has put it all together? Fun times, fuckos. LaTroy Hawkins makes the Mets his 12th stop in his quest to piss off at least half of the world’s MLB fans. At least he confuses and infuriates me, and I assume that to be the case for anyone else who lays eyes on him.
Anything else? They signed Marlon Byrd, because it’s just not a party unless you go digging around in the Cubs’ and Red Sox’s trash. Brandon Lyon also comes in as a free agent. The Mets are hoping that three awful closers can form up like Voltron and produce something resembling Francisco Rodriguez.
Notable losses to free agency include Mike Pelfrey, Andres Torres, Jon Rauch, Ronny Cedeno, Scott Hairston, Kelly Shoppach, and Chris Young. These are notable not because the players themselves are notable but because they were awful, and the Mets replaced them with players who are even more awful.
Last and certainly least? Jason Bay is gone. Released. His greatest accomplishment was disappointing fans whose expectations were already set comically low.
The Mets Will Make The Playoffs If
Fred Wilpon uses his mafia connections to break every kneecap in the NL East.
The Mets Will Miss the Playoffs If
Their ballpark gets repossessed.
How The Season Will Go
How’s The Farm?
Gotta start with Travis D’Arnaud, the #1 catching prospect in the league. The Mets top prospect was actually secretly developed in the Blue Jays’ laboratory, so the Mets can’t take too much credit for him. He’s going to be the backstop they sorely need, this year if possible, a thumping hitter with solid defensive skills. He’s the only rookie you should expect to see this year; the nearest players, such as outfielders Cesar Puello and Brandon Nimmo, are far too raw to get even a shot at the main stage for at least another year.
The Mets are surprisingly rich in hurlers. A notable pitcher coming up is Zack Wheeler, a fireballer with three other decent pitches who is close to developing into a complete package. With injury risks Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum on the team, he’s one bad tendon flex away from getting to prove his worth. Noah Syndergaard is a towering, lanky pitcher who already has a mid-90s fastball and is working on his secondary offerings to decent success already. Expect to start hearing his name next year as he gets some work in spring training.
Already getting some spring time is Rafael Montero. He’s got 4 pitches in his mix, the weakest probably his curve ball. Look for the Mets to really find out what he’s got by 2014, leading to a possible audition for the rotation sometime next year. Luis Mateo is a more straightforward fastball-slider kind of guy, but he’s already fanning batters with a vengeance at the A level. Lastly, Michael Fulmer should see some time in the Majors by the end of 2015. Scouts see good things down the road from his fastball and slider, and his control was already impressing last year for (then) 19 year old.
Your Brief Fantasy Preview
On offense, there are all of 4 fantasy-relevant players, which is honestly better than I would have expected. Ike Davis, he of the molasses-slow start last year, is the token power option in this joint. His skill set is either crushing the ball and looking good doing it or swinging and missing so bad that even Adam Dunn feels sorry for him. In all honesty, the guy is due for a hell of a bounce-back year. I own him in every league and am expecting about a .260 average, 30-35 home runs, and at least 90 RBIs. Not bad for a fella who is going in the 11th round. David Wright is a no-brainer here. If you’re going to take a 3B high, and you don’t get Miguel Cabrera, Wright is your guy. Lucas Duda, if he could finally figure his shit out, is a borderline draftable outfielder. He’s got the potential for 25 home runs and 80 RBIs, but he’s prone to just some miserable stretches of play. Finally, if you need an all-around great utility guy, Daniel Murphy is a solid waiver option. When he gets stretches of playing time, he contributes a high average and decent counting stats.
For pitching, I’m going to go out on a limb (i.e. echo every fantasy analyst ever this year) and say the only two fantasy relevant pitchers this year will be Jonathan Niese and Matt Harvey. Shaun Marcum’s health is suspect, as is Dillon Gee’s consistency, and Johan Santana has not been able to keep it all together for awhile. For the bullpen, Frank Francisco is ostensibly the closer, but the man is just absolute dogshit in the role. Bobby Parnell will likely get the majority of the saves this year, and he’ll barely hang onto the job. Neither one is really a roster requirement, especially with the lack of save opportunities this team will likely pass along.
Projected Finish in the NL East?
4th, and that’s only because one team in the division spent the offseason jabbing rusty needles into its own chest.
Oddly Apropos Futurama Quote
“I’ve found a loophole. It says here that we can renew the mortgage for the building by actually paying it. All we need is… eleven million dollars.”
Body By Bacardi has been making bad sports jokes on Twitter since 2010 and on Deadspin since 2011. If you’re not tired of reading things he’s written, you can follow him on Twitter at @wineaccguy.