Bernie Maddoff. Fred Wilpon. Letting Jose Reyes sign with the Marlins without making a contract offer. Paying Bobby Bonilla until 2035. Jason Bay. These are all reasons Mets fans cite as to why they're boycotting the Mets this season. It's a fair argument. Everything here is embarrassing in one way or another. Everything listed will make the casual Mets fan shake their head in disapproval and think twice before heading out to a ball game. I totally get it, too. I did the boycott thing last year. F*** 'em, right?
The thing is, they didn't lose my money in a ponzi scheme and I'm no longer going to punish the personnel on the field for sins of the owner. When I was a kid watching the '86 Mets crush dramatic home runs over the picnic section at Shea I never knew who the Wilpons were. All I knew is that they had this brilliant general manager in Frank Cashen who stole Gary Carter (miss ya, Kid) away from the Expos for a bag of balls. Let's get back to that, shall we? The 2012 New York Metropolitans have a Moneyball smart general manager in Sandy Alderson and he's assembled a not terrible group of players.
The reason why most Mets fans will stay home this summer has nothing to do with the players on the field, but with ownership and that's a real shame because you would actually like this team if you took a moment and got to know them! Let's take a look at the Mets position-by-position and I'll tell you why this is exactly the kind of team I've been waiting for in Queens.
CF Andres Torres. Angel Pagon was clubhouse poison, according to reports. So the Mets traded him for Torres who is known for being a great clubhouse guy. Sure, that sounds silly because games are won on the field and not in the clubhouse but I truly like this move. He's a defensive outfielder and they'll need a field general out there who can direct traffic.
2B Daniel Murphy. You've seen Moneyball by now, right? Oh, you have a kid so you don't see anything? Bummer. Well, Murph is our Scott Hatteberg. He's learning a new position and as every pitch leaves the pitchers hand he's probably thinking, "Please don't hit it to me." It's gonna be an adventure out there, but maybe, just maybe, his glove finds the ball 7 out of 10 times. If this experiment doesn't work out, look for Justin Turner to take over second base duties and Murph will become the go-to pinch hitter off the bench.
1B Ike Davis. Love this guy for fantasy and if he can overcome valley fever (of course he has valley fever. Only on the Mets!) he could be in line for a monster season. He reminds me of one of my favorite Met first basemen (no, not Keith): John Olerud. Olerud went out there and played smart baseball. He was an assett on defense just like Davis is and Olerud had a sneaky great couple of seasons in New York. Hopefully Davis will be in NY for a bit longer.
3B David Wright. Contract year and people who think the Mets should trade him before the trade deadline do not understand baseball. The Mets need Wright to have a big year and get his numbers up because he does two things: Gets butts in the seat and gets his trade value up for NEXT year. He has a club option for next year, but it's voided if he's traded during the season. If he puts up monster numbers for a full year we could get a king's ransom for him (especially with this GM. Look what we got for Beltran!) or actually lock him up for a few more years if he's really productive.
RF Lucas Duda. The DUDE! What's not to love about him? He's another home grown Met and he looks like a lumberjack. Sure, he's not Mike Cameron out in the field, but with the fences moved in there isn't as much space for him as there used to be and with those fences moved in look for his would be doubles to become home runs.
LF Jason Bay. Okay, even I, probably the most optimistic Met fan out there, can't think of anything good to say about Bay. This is a terrible contract with no end in sight. Every time he's up I assume he'll strike out or pop up to the second baseman. I never liked him. That's not true, I liked him one year when he was in Pittsburgh and I drafted him on my fantasy team and he was terrible! I still hold that against him. All in all, the outfield is not terrible and with some guys in the farm getting some much needed at bats they could step up if needed.
SS Ruben Tejada. Who? The first thing you should know about Tejada is he's crazy young (22). Is he the second coming of Jose Reyes? Probably not, but if he could be a little better than Rey Ordonez at the plate he won't be such a liability. He makes up for his lack of a bat with his defense.
C Josh Thole. Another guy who grew up in the Mets organization. He's not going to be your starting catcher in fantasy, but he's serviceable. What's not to like about these guys? This is what most callers have been clamoring for on the FAN from the Mets over the years. Ever since Doc Gooden and Straw splashed on the scene and Generation K was developing. This is a core group of players that if healthy, and that's something the Mets have been not able to do is stay healthy, could surprise some people.
The Starting Rotation
Johan Santana. Remember this f***ing guy? If you're still reading this that means you contemplated getting his t-shirt jersey a few years ago. He's coming back from a terrible injury and, oh yeah, he's awesome!
Mike Pelfrey. I dunno. I like Big Pelf, but he's burned me so many times before. Is this the year he figures it out and puts together a season we all were hoping for a year or two ago? I'll believe it when I see it. He's been
R.A. Dickey is probably my favorite Met on this entire team. Dude has been through some heavy shit and is killing it life right now. He climbed a mountain and wrote a book about his life. He's the kind of guy Mets fans love to root for because he's like a lot of us. He had a shot, failed, changed some stuff up and is making it work for him.
Jonathan Neise. This guy is gonna surprise a lot of folks. Neise is 6 foot 4 and could strikeout 150 batters if healthy (of course). Mets fans have been burned by the Jon Maine's of the world but with Santana helping him out maybe he puts it all together.
Dillon Gee. Gee doesn't walk a lot of batters and he's most likely of all the Mets starters to breakout and have a big season. He could even help your fantasy team if you stream his starts a bit. I like the upside on Gee being the number 5 starter as opposed to who we had in years past (Livan Hernandez).
Alderson made a splash and signed two middle of the road relievers to overhaul the pen in Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco. They need another lefty, but this bullpen is an upgrade over last year and should be more consistant. The addition of the two free agents will ease the pressure off Bobby Parnell to be the closer and hopefully he'll become the hard throwing strike out machine we all hoped he would be.
Probably the worst part of this year's squad. Another year of Scott Hariston and don't get me wrong, as a pinch hitter you can do a lot worse but if he's starting for a month in the season he's not going to win many games. Ronny Cedeno and Justin Turner could see a lot of time at second if the Murph experiment goes south fast and in late innings as defensive replacements. Mike Baxter is a light hitting outfielder who will be a late inning substitute for Duda and Mike Nickeas will be Thole's backup. This isn't the '86 Mets bench with Mookie and Tim Tuefel walking out on deck, but it could be worse.
That pretty much sums the 2012 Mets: It could be worse (Almost went with that title for this). Sure, there are a crazy amount of question marks with this team, but look at how many players are from the Mets farm system: 13 if not more! That's Mets baseball like it ought to be! Look, Baseball Prospectus and everyone else have already called the time of death on the 2012 Mets without a single inning being played. The odds of the Mets making a run deep into the playoffs are low(5.7 percent), but so what? So is your chances of winning the Mega Millions tonight. I'm still gonna get a ticket for both the Mega and the Mets. Ya gotta be in it to win it.