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In the strong NL East, the Mets never stood a chance…even with Jose Reyes flirting with .400. Here we are at playoff time with the orange and blue watching from the sidelines again. When the Mets came within one win of the World Series in 2006, it seemed they were destined for dominance with the young core of Reyes and David Wright. Now, it seems they are fixed in the lowest ranks of Major League Baseball. While no one expected the Mets to reach the playoffs this year, let’s take a look at some reasons they didn’t.
Since their last postseason appearance, the Mets have been involved in several high-profile trades and signings. More often than not, these stars end up getting injured and fumbling around in the minors for most of the season. Johan Santana, one of the biggest offseason deals for the Mets in recent history, didn’t see the field at all in 2011. In fact, Santana has been recovering from shoulder surgery for over a year, never making it higher than high-A ball.
Of the Opening Day offensive starters, only a handful stayed off the DL all season. Wright and Reyes, once the brightest lights in Queens, have been hampered by injuries for a while.
Even with the addition of Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets pitching staff was less than stellar. Partly because they have been burned in the big-time deals that secured Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana, the starting rotation lacks luster. Chris Capuano and RA Dickey could be good if given run support, but that probably won’t happen soon for the Mets (especially when they lose setup man Jose Reyes this offseason).
The Mets have good prospects, and they’ve needed them this year. Young players like Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda stepped up in big ways, batting .284 and .292 respectively, but they aren’t ready to carry the team yet. As these players mature and grow comfortable with the spotlight, the Mets will rise with them. For now though, the team will only be as good as their weakest prospect.
The “Big Four” in Philly. The ageless Chipper in Atlanta. The young guns in Washington. The new stadium in Miami. For once being in the Big Apple doesn’t mean being the big dog. The NL East is stacked with veteran talent and hot young prospects. The Mets simply can’t compete with a Roy Oswalt or a Bryce Harper on any level. If the Mets want to stay out of the cellar (much less reach the playoffs), they will have to fight to remain relevant in this division.
The Mets may still be adjusting to the cavernous Citi Field. When the park opened in 2009, the Mets were a team stacked with sluggers and power pitchers. They need to add some speed (beyond Jose Reyes) to compete in the large ballpark. The ball caroms wildly in the outfield, and a touch of speed could start serious rallies for the home team. Right now the Mets are 122-121 at home. They’ll have to play better than .500 ball in New York to compete in the coming years.
Tags: New York Mets