Mets End Horrifying Season 70-92; Worst Showing in 6 years
by, 10-06-2009 at 08:00 AM (1683 Views)
Finally, the year of the injury has come to a bitter end for Mets fans....
With the team finishing up the year having swept the Houston Astros, the team limps into the off-season having posted their worst overall record since they finished 66-95 back in 2003, when Art Howe and Steve Phillips were in town and the club was full of aging vets who's better days were past them.
This year, however, was the year of the injury bug, of course, after the team lost their starting 1B, SS, 3B, CF, LF and a straggle of pitchers before heading down the home stretch to the tune of 21-41 to finish out the first year of Citi Field play in a haze of apathy without any idea what this team will look like come next spring.
As if anyone didn't know, the team came into the season as heavy favorites to win the NL East, just as they had the last 3 years, which of course didn't work out then, either. And they actually were in first for a while, though they honestly never did look completely right at any point in the season. But once SS Jose Reyes went down, this team was utterly doomed, as their lack of anyone even remotely worth while both defensively and offensively to fill in the spot (and Omar's lack of trying to get someone who actually COULD give them some value in Reyes' wake) really was the nail in this season's coffin. Subsequent injuries to Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, John Maine and just about everyone else along the way just dug the hole deeper and deeper and the team's front office did nothing to stem the tide, deciding to, instead, just ride out the storm, concede the division and look towards next year, which was easy for them seeing that they were getting paid either way with their brand new ballpark opening and the fans coming out to see it regardless of the outcome on the field.
A look around the diamond pretty much tells you the entire story, as the team struggled to hit in the new park, probably because the walls are just too damn high and the power alleys play more to doubles power than the homerun. They built a ballpark tailored to the assets Reyes brings to the club and he only played 36 games, so you'd think they might have had a few other players who would benefit from the speed aspects they set things up for. Sure, some might say they did, thinking Luis Castillo was still the speedy guy he was back in 1999 or maybe the idea was to turn David Wright into a 50 doubles, .350 hitter instead of getting 30 homers a year out of him, but in the end, it didn't work out and, most likely, won't next season, either, unless the club actually does go after some speedy on base guys to plant around the lineup while re-teaching Wright how to pull the ball and searching for a LF and 1B who can add some punch to the 2nd weakest offense in all the land.
And really, there aren't any positions the team couldn't upgrade at for next season, with catcher, first base, second base, leftfield and the bench all in dire need of finding some real talent to play there as the team moves away from Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider (at least, this writer hopes so). The only real problem with all that is the ownership and just how much they're willing to let things keep going so aimlessly, holding onto a GM and manager who did nothing to bolster the team's efforts last year as they spun out of control after the All Star break. Once a manager starts getting that kind of play out of his players, injuries or not, that man needs to go. Unfortunately for all Mets fans, neither man was let go after the final game. In fact, they'll be back after words of confidence from the ownership, proving just how clueless they really are at all this.
The pitching, meanwhile, is in dire need as well, with the team's 2-5 starters all proving they weren't ready for prime time this season, despite moving to a park that shouldn't have effected them too much considering Shea was already a pitcher's park. John Maine (7-6, 4.35) proved he can't stay healthy or consistent enough to be relied on for more than 15-25 starts; Mike Pelfrey (10-12, 5.03) turned back into the rabbit; and Ollie Perez might just be the biggest FA bust in franchise history, finishing the year 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA before going away to get knee surgery, delighting the fans with his absence. The 5th spot, meanwhile, was manned by Livan Hernandez, who did so well the team released him a couple months back rather than pay him a bonus that was about to kick in. He finished the year in Washington, doing the same thing Livan always does: eats innings and stays fat.
With the injuries came the scrubs, most notably Nelson Figueroa (3-8, 4.06) and Tim Redding (3-6, 5.10), who actually pitched well once the season was completely out of hand, but that shouldn't be confused with anything that should see them back next year. If they end up back on the roster, it means they're either the long men out of the pen or Omar failed to upgrade the rotation enough to compete with rest of the East, the latter of which is what I'm thinking happens as Omar can't be trusted. Whether that's because the ownership refuses to pay out money or because the man sucks at his job is your choice, but I'd say it's both.
In the end, it wasn't any team that beat out the Mets this year. It wasn't a collapse into themselves at the deadline or just the usual underachieving that saw them fall to these depths. Instead, it was just bad luck coupled with short sightedness on Omar's part to make sure the team had some kind of adequate backup plan in case a star or two fell to injury along the way. Of course, it was more than just a guy or two who ultimately fell apart, but Omar's lack of vision and inabilities to make sure the farm has anyone worth while in it was, and will continue to be, the true problem for this team for the foreseeable future.
But then, when you refuse to pay over slot, you reap what you sow.
Now, it's time to relax, kick off the shoes of this pathetic run and try our best to forget it happened, at least until March, anyway. Personally, I've had the team turned off since August, but that's easy for me since I don't live in their market. But for now, take solace in knowing that there's always next year........even if looks as horrid as this one did.
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